Every day loads and loads of ads showing perfect bodies surround you. That perfect, shredded, muscle-built only look. And of course, sometimes due to peer pressure or just because of your desire, you want to obtain that. You want to be like those Adonis-like men.
But the question is: can you lose fat and build muscle at the same time?
Yes, you can. But, before starting to talk about this, a critical thing must be mentioned. This concept might be something that could demotivate you quickly, but do not give up. Bear with us for the rest of the article.
These issues are:
- In order to lose fat, your diet requires a caloric deficit. In other words, you need to consume fewer calories.
- In order to build muscle your diet must contain a caloric surplus. Yes, as you have guessed, you need to consume more and more calories.
Oh, yeah. Now, after you read these two facts, you might realize these are completely opposed, which can be very confusing. So, before starting to scratch the top of your head and give up the idea of losing fat and building muscle, let us mention that YES, THIS IS POSSIBLE.
We have some bad news, unfortunately. Some can do it at the same time, but it’s not for everyone.
Who can do it?
- Overweight beginners (people who have a significant amount of fat)
- Individuals who regain their lost muscles
Now, let’s look at each option in order and explain for each point how it is possible to lose fat and gain muscle.
If when you look in the mirror, you see an unpleasant amount of fat, you are one of the lucky ones, my friend. Being untrained when starting to work out you will see real improvements in short time, especially in strength and muscle. Let’s see how.
Alright, now, what happens? Will you diet? Will you protein diet? Well, here’s where the magic happens: your body burns fat as a fuel source for muscle growth and in your case it will use your body fat as your “surplus” calories.
But if you have just a small amount of fat (like half of your entire body weight), this might not work. In other words, the fatter you are, the better and easier it might be for you to grow muscle.
Your diet needs to be a moderate caloric deficit (you will need sufficient protein intake) and to use an intelligently designed beginner routine focused on progressive overload. Don’t push it from the beginning; it will just make your muscles sore, and you might have the tendency to overeat.
What should be mentioned is that you won’t build muscle as much as you will lose fat at first. But with continuous training, this will happen too.
People who regain their lost muscles
Before going into details, we should mention that muscles have an incredibly great memory. They are like those memory-foam pillows.
This phenomenon, of course, happens to those who worked out for a while and then gave it up (or were forced to) for some amount of time and gained some weight. Well, the strategy is quite the same as with the beginners: take it slowly and surely until you will be able to do 20 push-ups in 5 seconds, for instance.
The difference between the first option and this one is that it will take a smaller amount of time, thanks to the muscle memory.
Foods that should be consumed when trying to lose fat and build muscle
We talked about diet a lot. So, what should you eat when trying to do both? Here is a list of a few foods one must consume when starting to workout.
- Whole eggs (half the protein, A/D/E vitamins)
2. Fish Oil (lowers body fat)
3. Wild Salmon (omega-3 fatty acids)
4. Berries (strong antioxidants)
5. Flax Seeds (fiber, protein & omega-3)
6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (monounsaturated fats)
7. Mixed Nuts (mono & polyunsaturated fats, proteins, vitamin E, zinc, potassium, magnesium)
8. Red meat (protein, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, omega-3)
9. Tomatoes (lycopene)
10. Green Tea (strong antioxidant, speeds up fat loss)
Work smart, not hard
Don’t push yourself from the beginning. Start slowly. Start with some cardio, for 30-40 minutes when trying to lose fat and then you can go with to bodyweight training, and eventually weight training with harder exercises when trying to build muscle (bench pressings, push-ups, squats and so on). Having sore muscles from the first week won’t help you in the long term. After they are used, you can push them as far as they can go. You should be a little sore, but not dying from the pain.