The first important thing to note is that the calorie surplus to gain muscle is very, very small when compared to the calorie deficit required to lose fat. Lets look at what your body does with its calories, please look at my body on left side of the above diagram.
Lets talk about this nuclear reactor here and how to stop if from turning on and burning up our muscles. Consume enough calories to keep your body from thinking its starving but not so many calories that you gain fat, 10% under your TDEE is a good value to use. Many beginners to fitness ask if they should lose their fat first or start lifting to gain muscle first, the answer is that they should do BOTH at the same time!!! Especially for beginners, it is very easy to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time! Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is very difficult for advanced bodybuilders.
Skinny teens who can’t gain either fat or muscle even when they eat as much as they can.
Advanced bodybuilders with low bodyfat (under 8%).Your body needs some fat so when you get to a certain point, your body will start choosing to burn muscle instead of fat if you have a caloric deficit.
Take a look around and you'll find that I am in the minority for believing that you can bulk up and cut simultaneously. The evidence isn't just anecdotal however, there's solid scientific evidence for my position, but we'll get to that later. The logic is, since you can't do both of the above at the same time, you can't build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
However, for those of us in the know, we can use our knowledge to activate a fat metabolism and achieve remarkable results. A fat-burner is simply someone who restricts carbohydrate intake to encourage the body to burn fat for fuel. When you eat high-carb and create a calorie deficit, you'll lose weight alright, but you'll lose up to 50% of that weight in muscle.
Hey, the next time someone discourages you and tells you that you can't build muscle and lose fat at the same time, point at their big gut and suggest that they start using some of those calories in future.
Skinny people who want to build a lean muscular body know without doubt that they need to focus on gaining muscle from the beginning of their program.
Should you lose fat first, build muscle first or try to do both at the same time when trying to go from a fat body to a lean muscular body? Now the simple answer is it is best to get lean first when you possess a great amount of excess fat and want to build muscle. If you lose fat while maintaining the muscle you already have on your body it could take you a good way ahead in getting the lean muscle body you want.
The same thing cannot be said about building muscle when you have a load of fat on your body. If you are thinking that the ideal process would be to lose fat and build muscle together, then you should know that trying to get leaner and more muscular at the same time is a very complicated and difficult endeavor.
It’s commonly recommended that if you are really fat you should focus on fat loss first without losing muscle, then when you get to a lower body fat level, start focusing on muscle gain while staying lean or getting leaner. This is the reason that professionals go through cycles where they alternate between bulking and cutting. That’s why – despite the higher metabolic, and therefore, calorie-burning potential of muscle – the way adiposity determines caloric partitioning means that consuming a surplus of calories to bulk up when already overweight is to walk an almost certain path to failure. Ideally, you’ll want to start bulking when you are lean, or at least, leaner than not. Men, before embarking on a bulking phase should generally have 10 to 13 percent body fat, or a bit less; women should generally have between 19 and 23 percent body fat, or a bit less.
Unless your current goal is to become even leaner, it’s the right time to begin bulking, with the goal of putting on muscle mass. As you’ve now learned, frustration can be avoided by simply understanding which actions should first be undertaken. Barry is a former skinny-guy who has dedicated years of his life to the study of muscle growth.
Whether it is actually possible to do so has remained a topic of great debate over the last several decades.
Before we dive into the studies and the data lets discuss the hypothesis and arguments surrounding the issue. The main argument against the idea of losing fat and gaining muscle simultaneously is essentially the notion of calories in versus calories out. The calories in calories out (CICO) model holds a lot of truth and can explain a lot of the variation in body weight, yet it is incomplete. I like to compare the CICO model with Newtonian Physics… it is accurate and describes gravity for a majority of cases but it is not complete. One such area where it breaks down is for anabolism and catabolism to be occurring simultaneously in different “compartments” of the body.
The CICO model essentially treats the body as a bomb calorimeter and an isolated system immune to perturbations. I want to take the internal stimuli first and relate it to the topic at hand (building muscle). Without even touching nutrition we have data to show that the body has internal signals that simultaneously induce muscle protein synthesis and increase fat oxidation, namely the hormone testosterone. The next external signal that elicits a robust, repeatable signal for muscle protein synthesis is exercise, with resistance training showing the greatest amount of muscle protein synthesis(8,9,10). We have two easily modifiable signals we can use to elicit our goal of increasing muscle mass: 1) consuming protein, 2) engaging in resistance exercise. So without getting too far into the weeds we have a mechanism by which the goal of “gaining muscle while losing fat” is, at least in theory, possible. Now let’s look at two separate studies using two very different approaches to see how this translates into practice. Where the first study was considered “protein overfeeding” and hypercaloric, the second study is presented in the context of eating higher protein in the context of caloric restriction***. In this study the researchers recruited 40 overweight (BMI >25) young men (mean age 23 years old) for this single-blind, prospective trial.
When we look at the results of the study, we see, as expected in a 40% calorie restricted diet, that both groups lost body weight with similar weight losses between groups.
The CICO model only really accounts for total body mass and predicts overall changes in the mass of a system. By manipulating the signals going into the system through proper diet and exercise it is indeed possible to simultaneously increase lean mass while reducing fat mass.
For the interested reader please continue to the work below for more in-depth analysis of the two studies.
The control group was instructed to maintain the same dietary and training habits over the course of the study.
The investigators used My Fitness Pal to track food intake so it was likely pretty spot on for this study. Also, “The investigators and research assistants were in contact with each subject on a weekly basis to ensure compliance with the exercise training program. The authors wanted to see if the high protein diet had any impact on performance so they did pre and post-tests of a 1 RM for bench press and squat, as well as vertical jump, broad jump, and total pull ups.
As with most human research there were several particpants who dropped out; 15 and 10 subjects in the high protein and normal protein groups respectively. As you can see the high protein group consumed about 500 calories more per day, with about 80 of those calories coming from carbohydrates (not statistically significant from the normal protein) and about 350 calories extra from protein (this was statistically different), and about 60 calories from fat (also not statistically different).
Overall, the high protein group ate more calories, with roughly 70% of those calories coming from protein. Both groups saw decreases in body fat mass and body fat percentage and increases in fat free mass. This study also provides more data points for high protein diets not changing creatinine, which has been an argument against high protein diets in the past.
This is the second study to show that consuming extra protein on top of normal calories has, what I would call, a beneficial effect on body composition when consumed in conjunction with resistance training. 40 overweight (BMI >25) young men (mean age 23 years old) were recruited for this single-blind, prospective trial. The participants were randomly assigned to either a high protein or control protein diet that was energy restricted by approximately 40%.  Please see Table 2 for a complete breakdown of the diets and the differences between them. Before the hounds descend and cry about whether the participants actually ate their diet, the researchers provided the participants with ALL meals and beverages (save water and non-caloric drinks).
All exercise was completed within the controlled environment of the laboratory 6 days a week. Now from a programming standpoint I would argue that this protocol is not designed to maximize muscle gain but it is a good way to provide full body stimulus and really utilize all three energy systems during a week. Isometric knee extensor force was measured using a dynamometer.  Leg strength and upper body strength were measured using a leg press and a bench press.
Aerobic capacity was tested using a VO2 max test while a Wingate Test was used to test anaerobic capacity. Not surprisingly there were no real differences between the groups in regards to the blood and urine panels.
Also, the higher protein group saw no detrimental effect in in kidney function as measured by creatinine clearance.


Your way of telling everything in this article is actually fastidious, all be capable of without difficulty be aware of it, Thanks a lot. With some proper steering, you can gain lean muscle and burn fat to get a fit lean, toned physique. Being a woman has amazing advantages, naturally, but women are also more prone to weight gain than men.
Strength training is often misconstrued as being a type of exercise regimen for large muscular growth, which would be something that a bodybuilder performs. Your muscles need to grow and strengthen in order for your body to start burning fat at a more rapid pace.
Strength training merely means you are placing resistance against your muscles and bones, which in turn leads to lean muscle growth. Squats – Targets your buttocks, calves, abs, and pretty much the rest of your hip and leg regions. No, exercise machines and weights are not needed at all, but are great to use if you have the convenience to get a hold of them.
People often use the excuse that they are going out of town, or that they cannot afford a gym membership.
Then there are the rest days you see everywhere online within forums and personal training websites. Cardio refers to cardiovascular exercises, which in short means a specific exercise that increases your heart rate to allow maximum blood flow. Your legs will become strong and eye catching, the butt will become firm and less saggy, plus your abdominal muscles get an amazing workout due to the constant breathing taking place.
Running constantly on a daily basis can cause potential injuries to your knees, ankles, feet, and back over the years since force is being applied up your legs every time your feet hit the ground. You have probably heard the saying that losing fat is 30% exercise and 70% dieting, well, it is absolutely true. There is just too much in depth factors that determine the amount of calories you should be consuming daily. Brian Pankau is a health and fitness writer that has contributed to notable websites such as Ask the Trainer and Livestrong, and is a certified fitness trainer and sports nutrition specialist.
Arm Yourself for Spring: The Best Arm Workouts for Every Kind of ExerciserSpring has sprung. The Guide To Treat Cellulite NaturallyCottage cheese skin, orange peel skin, whatever you want to call it. Counting Calories VS Counting MacrosThe go-to system for dieting has long been calorie counting. How To Use Skipping To Supercharge Fat LossThe first thing you need to know about weight loss is that your heart rate has a lot to do with it. 7 Unconventional Ways to De-stressYou know mediation, yoga, and going for a walk are good ways to destress. Tips and Tricks to Healthy & Happy HolidaysThe most wonderful time of year; the holiday season. Christmas Gift Guide for Fitness FantaticsWith the Christmas season right around the corner it’s time to start buying gifts. The Big Guide To Apple Cider VinegarApple cider vinegar is literally making headlines these days.
The Best Half Marathons Around the United StatesIt’s time to stray from the repetitive, and sometimes over-competitive, races. 7 Essential Stretches You Should Do Before You RunDo you stretch before you head out for a run? 20 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work OutMotivation is very much needed when it comes to fitness. Dieting: The Temporary FixDiets are temporary, a quick fix to weight loss, not a long term solution. 5 Popular Diet Crazes ExplainedSince I can remember I have seen diet books on bookshelves everywhere. 15 Things Emotionally Strong People AvoidEmotionally strong people often have numerous healthy habits any other person would envy. 7 Principles of Peak Performance It is uncanny how closely connected feelings are to performance. Wedding Series Part 5: Dress Hunting (Staying Motivated)Every little girl thinks about her wedding day at some point. Wedding Planning is Causing Me to GAIN Weight: HELP!Free glasses of champagne from the hostess. Wedding Series Part 3: The Personal Trainer - To Invest or Not?Welcome back to part 3 of the Wedding Chronicles! Common wisdom is that you have to gain some fat to gain muscle, its the whole bulking and cutting mentality.
Most mature adults can gain a maximum of 15 pounds of muscle in a year but many can only gain 5lbs of muscle a year. To keep you alive, your body needs two things, plain energy to burn in the form of carbs or fat and then amino acids in the form of protein. Our bodies are really smart, they know muscle is really important and they wont burn it unless they absolutely have to. Cardio will not burn muscle, it will help you gain muscle while losing fat at the same time. Many of them are close to their genetic limits so adding muscle is very difficult and slow for them even under the best of circumstances.
If you are 8% bodyfat and want to get down to 4-6% bodyfat you wont be able to add muscle while you do this, at best you can do is to maintain your muscle mass. I say 'believe' but I really mean 'know' as I have 'done the impossible' on many an occasion and so have my readers by implementing my advice. If you don't meet your caloric needs through food, you tap into your 'stored calories' to do the job.
Let's say a guy eats 500 calories less than what his body needs to get him through the day (his maintenance calories including exercise).
Please note that it is impossible for fat tissue to directly turn into muscle tissue but you can trade that fat for muscle by using it for fuel.
On a high-carb diet, this is not going to be achievable by anyone except those very few genetically gifted individuals. As most of us aren't going from 'overweight' to lean, and we aren't restricting calories to 1000 or less per day, this is where we'll find relevant answers. A low-carb group consuming just 1000 calories per day was observed alongside a group that ate absolutely nothing for 10 days.
I'm just a regular guy who got his wish by continually learning and being my own guinea pig. I’m here to help you get over the confusion and start taking action to get sculpted instead of just confusingly thinking about it. It’s also possible to gain some muscle while getting lean if the right conditions are present.
Although proper program design and good compliance could allow you to minimize further fat gain when your primary goal is building muscle, the fact is you need to get rid of excess fat from your body to look toned and chiseled. Conversely, the best result when cutting means losing body fat and retaining as much hard-earned muscle as possible.
There are a number of obvious factors – what you eat and how you train – that will help determine your outcome, but here is the one of foremost importance: What’s your current body fat percentage?
If levels of body fat are somewhat higher, decent results can still be obtained, but likely not of the same caliber as would be the case for a leaner person. If you foresee the need or desire to become extra-shredded in the future, it’s not a bad idea bulk up first, and follow up with a careful cutting phase, to define your increased muscularity. The best thing to do is start cutting until your adiposity decreases sufficiently and you can objectively state that you are at least reasonably lean. Recent studies in the past years have given us the data needed to draw a conclusion on whether it is indeed possible. We need Einstein’s theories of relativity to describe the enormously large* and fast and we need quantum theory for the incredibly small. It is well documented that testosterone increases muscle protein synthesis and that it can do so without increased amino acid uptake into cells (1,2,3). In addition to signaling muscle accretion, exercise can also induce a signal for lipolysis and fat oxidation. All the participants were recreationally active, but were not regularly performing resistance training (so this is a relatively untrained population compared to the study from the Antonio lab) (12)****.
Briefly, one was a high protein, low fat diet, while the other was a “normal protein”, “normal fat” diet. The body is more than a bomb calorimeter, it is dynamic and responds to signals and can change the masses of different “compartments” in accordance with the signals. The authors unequally randomized the subjects to take into account the loss of subjects from potential lack of compliance due to the high protein diet, as was seen in their earlier study. Compliance was determined via measurements of volume load (repetitions ? sets ? weight) which should have increased over the course of the treatment period.
One thing I would like to have seen were lipid profiles and markers of oxidation, just for more data points.


All the participants were recreationally active, but were not regularly performing resistance training (Please see table 1 for participant characteristics). From my analysis of the methods it looks like they received 2 meals a day along with “nutritional beverages” to round out the calories and macronutrients. If you compare the caloric intake between the overfeeding study and the “40%” caloric reduction study we actually observe similar protein intakes between the two studies (see table below). Now we need to take into consideration the two populations. The reason for this is because men (not all, but most) received the natural inheritance of having a faster metabolism due to a larger bone structure and organs. This is one of the reasons that you may have avoided adding in some weighted exercises to your cardio training. Research shows that muscles burn excess fat even throughout the night while your body is at rest.
This rest is needed only because you have used weights that cause more microscopic tears within your muscles.
This process increases your metabolism and burns excess calories rapidly throughout your entire body. Swimming, on the other hand, does not require your bodyweight being driven into the ground, and only requires the use of your appendages to keep your body afloat and moving. Reading an article stating you should only consume 1,000 calories a day is fruitless since every person is different.
As a former Marine Corps infantryman, Brian learned from an early start in his career to always give 100% effort in everything that he is tasked with.
Now, your first thought is probably that it can’t be done because to gain muscle, you have to eat 100 calories more per day and to lose fat, you have to eat 400 calories less per day.
50% is housekeeping stuff to keep us alive – breathing, pumping blood, maintain body temperature, replacing dead cells, etc. Your body has an amazing series of emergency backup system to keep you alive should food be scarce. Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is something that only beginning and intermediate bodybuilders can do. With regular dieting, its tough to drop down to 4-6% without losing muscle mass but carb cycling seems to really help for this specific purpose. Since those stored calories are in the form of body fat, you therefore have to lose fat in order to build that muscle. For some reason, most people seem to forget that not all your calories have to come in through your mouth.
Sure the fasting group lost more total weight, but the low-carbers lost almost twice as much fat! You see, if you decide to get lean first you can use an optimized nutrition and training program to maintain and build some muscle while losing fat. Which could take you very close to optimal body composition and a nice toned physique that would look impressive at the end of your fat loss program. Although concurrent fat loss and muscle gain can happen, the rate ratio at which it occurs depends on individual conditions and special program design.
Increased lean muscle mass provides a host of benefits, including a healthy metabolism, greater strength and the confidence instilled by looking and feeling strong. To gain muscle requires increasing caloric intake, and if those calories end up being converted to fat – well, a frustrating setback may ensue.
Cutting refers to eating and training with the goal of losing fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. Unfortunately, many fall into the repetitive cycle of getting nowhere fast, achieving exactly the opposite of what they desire.
Additionally testosterone can simultaneously increase lean mass and decrease fat mass in an older population (4).
Furthermore, subjects were instructed to not perform any aerobic exercise during the treatment period”. In both groups, there were large decreases in total and free testosterone, likely a results of the large calorie restriction. In the overfeeding study there were 11 females and 37 males total and the mean participant mass was~75 kg. What this means for you is that those problem areas are not just a figment of your imagination i.e. Strength training does build muscle, that is correct, but muscular growth does not mean bulging biceps necessarily. The best method for you to use would be low weight workouts with a high amount of repetitions. This form of exercising is as the name implies – you use your bodyweight to create resistance. You can lose fat and tone your body by merely performing five to eight different exercises within 15 minutes, which means they are performed without much breaks taking place. However, this step is not necessary since you are not using anything but your natural bodyweight.
Swimming is also categorized as being low-impact, which means your skeletal structure undergoes little pressure during training. Bicycling is another alternative to either change up your cardio routine, or perfect if you have problems running. Usually if you think you are eating something you should not be eating, chances are you know it is unhealthy for you. Your overall weight, height, and body fat percentage is what determines your daily food consumption. Because of many peoples unrealistic expectations about adding muscle they come to the incorrect conclusion that you can’t gain muscle while losing fat. For an average person losing weight, they will eat about 400 calories a day less (12,000 calories a month) than their TDEE to lose a pound of fat a week, or 52 pounds of fat in a year. Yes, if you are eating enough protein, cycling your calories and lifting weights properly you will maintain and gain some muscle even if your program is primarily focused on fat loss. It is enough for this argument that as a nutrient, protein elicits an anabolic signal of muscle protein accretion in humans. This is now the second study to show the same thing in higher protein intakes in young men. In the calorie restriction study there were only males and the mean participant mass was ~100kg.
Another aspect you should consider is that when you gain fat you lose lean muscle, and without creating more lean muscle tissue you open the door for more fat particles to make themselves nice and cozy within your problem areas.
The top reasons to love bodyweight training are because you can perform them anywhere you go, and because you can perform the exercises every day a week without having to perform “rest days”.
You might think it is just for fat loss, but in reality running also targets numerous muscle groups, which creates lean muscle gains. A reward for your hard efforts is not bad, let’s face it, we only get one life so enjoy it with a dessert every now-and-then, but just not excessively. Take the time to consult a nutritionist or personal trainer to get an accurate chart of what your body needs in order to survive, burn fat, and build lean muscle. The secret to this is that our assumption that you need to eat more to gain muscle is incorrect for most adults.
About 20% is actually spend DOING stuff – walking, lifting, moving and only about 5% is spent adding muscle.
He does not have a lot of muscle mass, but his very low body fat creates that nice lean and toned physique.
Continuing to lift will assist the process of fat-burning and help retain the muscle and strength you already possess. Conversely we see an increase in the hunger hormone Ghrelin, not suprising given the severe calorie restriction present. This may make up the discrepancy and explain the similar calories in the different context. However, with some proper steering, you can gain lean muscle and burn fat in order to get your body back to the way it was years before.
Is 15-30 minutes out of your day really that hard to put aside when it comes to your future? The animal never needs to take a rest day and constantly uses its arms to swing throughout the trees and climb. Don’t get hung up on the exact numbers, the important thing is that exercise and building muscle uses very little of the calories we consume.
And your muscles are the emergency backup, your body wont turn on this nuclear power plant to cannibalize muscle unless its a DIRE emergency.
You can reach this example point once your muscles get used to the exercises you perform throughout each 15 minute period.
Energy can come from any of the three systems but amino acids can only come from the stomach or the muscles.



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