Can You Build Muscle And Lose Fat At The Same Time?

Can You Build Muscle And Lose Fat At The Same Time?

November 18, 2016 | Photo credits: Madbarz

Body recomposition (more muscle, less fat) is one of the main reasons why people work out. But can you achieve both, muscle gain and fat loss at the same time?

The answer depends on your situation.

It is possible to lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously in the following situations:

  • You have a lot of fat
  • You are a total beginner
  • You've been in great shape before

What if your fitness level is intermediate or advanced? Keep reading.

For more information, each situation is explained below:

1. Your fitness level is intermediate or advanced

Who's in this category? People who have been regularly training for a year or more and whose initial progress already started to slow down. If you are in this situation you're most likely to get best results by focusing on one goal at a time. Having a goal-oriented nutrition plan is a must. Check out the Nutrition Guide for specific goals. The in-app version of the Nutrition Guide is available in the Madbarz Premium, along with home workout plans!

If you really want to work towards both goals, you should monitor your fat loss rate.

Why?

It's harder to gain muscle than it is to lose fat. So it's very likely that your fat loss process will become dominant and hinder the muscle gains. That's why research suggests that your fat loss rate shouldn't be more than 0.7% of your bodyweight per week if you want to make sure that you are not losing strength.[1] For a 75 kg / 165 lb person this equals to ~0.5 kg or 1.2 pounds per week.

Can you build muscle with bodyweight training?

If you want to get good results without lifting weights you need a workout plan that will push you to your limits. A home muscle building workout plan without equipment is included in the Madbarz Premium, so you can start right away!

2. You are a total beginner

Who's in this category? Young people who are still growing up and starting to train. Adults who haven't been training for years and/or are completely out of shape (very little muscle mass).

The good part of being a beginner is that you can see a lot of progress. And you can see it fast. Your body is very responsive to all the new stimulus that it's getting from your workouts. That's why it's possible to see muscle gains as well as fat loss in higher rates than usual. However, this period doesn't last for a long time. As soon as the initial muscle growth stops it gets much harder to keep training for muscle gain and fat loss at the same time. (See situation #1)

3. You've been in great shape before

Who's in this category? Well-trained individuals who have already been lean/ripped and strong before but temporarily got out of shape.

A lot of factors come into play - muscle memory, insulin resistance, exercise knowledge, willpower, and habits... The shape that you've been building for years can't be wasted in just a few weeks of rest and eating junk food. You will likely lose some muscle tone and gain some fat. But as soon as you start training again you'll be able to achieve your past physique (get more muscle tone and lose fat) in a much shorter time period.

4. You have a lot of fat

Who's in this category? For the purpose of this article the following estimation of body fat is considered as "a lot of fat": Men with body fat higher than 20% and women with more than 25% of body fat.

Generally speaking, people with more fat are likely to be able to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. A lot of times this is the case because they also don't have much muscle mass, which makes them a beginner (see situation #2). But it can also be the result of the body using the released fat stores for some strength and muscle gains. This is, however, not researched enough.

Keep in mind: Research is usually performed on professional athletes with specific training and diet regimes. The above-mentioned situations are used as examples for the general public. That's why it is always possible to see individual exceptions.

What's your situation? Got any experience? Tell us in the comments below.