Can I gain muscle mass and lose body fat at the same time?
One of the most common aspirations we hear is the desire to both lose body fat and gain muscle mass, at the same time!
So, Coach, can it be done?
Like many similar questions, the answer is ‘it depends”!
Much like Hillary and Norgay attempting Everest, it can potentially be done, but not necessarily by just anyone.
So what’s involved?
To be building muscle, we need to be taking resistance training a minimum of three times weekly. Resistance, or strength training helps stimulate muscles growth, triggering our bodies repair response, flooding the area with nutrients and causing the muscles to grow. Resistance training also increases your overall metabolic rate, or the way you burn fuel, which can help us achieve the second part of our goal, to lose fat.
Where resistance training is concerned with our muscles, nutrition is concerned with the fuel we use to power these muscles. For us to achieve the goal of both building muscle and losing body fat, our nutritional intake is going to be key, and this is where things get a little tricky, but we’ll get to that shortly.
Firstly, let’s talk about our new best friend, protein, the king of the three macronutrients, and the foundation for building muscle.
If there’s one area we see people chronically underfueled, it’s in their protein intake. Be light in this macronutrient and be prepared to struggle in the muscle-building process. A rough guide to maximising lean muscle mass would be a protein intake of between .8g and 1g pound of body weight.
Now we’ve covered what we need to do to build the muscle part of our equation, what about the fat loss part? To achieve this, we need to be in what’s called a caloric deficit. This means we need to put in a little less energy than we put out. We say a little, because if we go too far into a deficit, we won’t achieve our goal of both building muscle AND losing body fat.
Now, this is where it gets tricky, because on one hand, we’re saying eat food to build muscle, and on the other hand, we’re saying gently reduce caloric intake to lose fat.
If you’re carrying a little extra body fat, let’s first focus on getting a little leaner. Resistance training and your nutritional intake are still going to be your two biggest assets in this endeavour, but we’re not going to focus on the muscle-building side until we’ve dropped some body fat. You may be surprised by just how good you feel and look just by doing this.
Once you’ve shed a few kg’s of body fat, and we’ve allowed the body to get used to the all-new you, then we can think about getting swole!
If all that sounds just a little too complicated, schedule a free No Sweat consultation with one of our coaches and we can walk you through the basics, and get you on the right path to achieving your goals.