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. Why you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, You can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. Can you lose fat or gain muscle without losing or gaining, Have you ever wanted to lose fat without losing any weight? Can you lose fat & build muscle at the same time?, Can you lose fat and build muscle at the same time? Can you build muscle & lose fat at the same time, Adam asks… it’s impossible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. This entry was posted in natural bodybuilding and tagged diet, gaining muscle, losing fat, natural bodybuilding, training on August 12, 2014 by Truth Seeker. However, no matter how many women you have in your bed, you can only have sex with one at a time.
We all get to see those millionaires on MTV boosting about their 20 million dollar car collection.
The eternal question whether you can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time has similar answer. Somewhere somebody very optimistic came up with this idea that if you follow a very specific regimen, you can recompose your body and lose fat while gaining muscle.
If we apply the car analogy to recomposition, it would be something like driving a few meters and then backing off a few meters and then doing the same thing over and over again, expecting to get to the other end of the world by midnight.
Sometimes people are able to transform their bodies while creating the illusion of recomposition. There are exceptional cases when an individual could sort of gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Another situation when fat loss and muscle gains may occur at the same time, once again in minuscule form, is when the person in question is very obese.

With that being said the exceptions among natural bodybuilders are rare and really hard to back with solid results.
Another factor to consider is that steroids make your body much more efficient at using the macro nutrients found in food. Of course, at one point even anabolic steroids stop working and if you are not eating enough, you will stop growing. Don’t trust the endless schemes out their promising you to gain 10 lbs of muscle while losing 10 lbs of fat in 12 weeks.
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. 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.
There isn’t a single sitcom that made it to the big screen without an episode dedicated at least slightly to the idea of a man having sex with two women at the same time.
Sure, you can stop b**** one of them and go to the next, but the pistol can only shoot one bullet at time.
Luckily, you can only drive one car at a time no matter how many vehicles you bought with your bloody stolen money.
There are a lot of programs that speculate with before and after photos in order to pull off similar tricks. How are you going to prove that a really fat man (30%+  BF) has gained 2 lbs of muscle while losing 1 lbs of fat?
There are many bodybuilders who have atrocious diets full of junk food, and yet – they are pretty lean and big.
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. Educated at the University of Western Ontario, Dan employs his 4 year honours degree in Kinesiology as the foundation of his personal training business Elite Physique. 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. The progress will be so hard to spot that even your biggest fan will have hard time detecting it.
However, most of the time the person that supposedly re-compositioned his body just lost serious amount of body fat without gaining any muscle. People who haven’t trained in a long time or a completely new to weightlifting will be able to gain a few pounds of muscle while shredding a few pounds of fat at the same time. When someone is taking steroids and other muscle building agents the body has no choice but to grow. 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.

He’s a National level competitive bodybuilder as well as a Provincial level judge for the Ontario Physique Association. To gain muscle, you must be in an excess of calories, but to drop body fat, you must be in a deficit of calories. 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. A ripped body looks bigger with a pump and creates the illusion that the person in question has gained some mass. Naturals can never do that and the secret is once again the drugs used by professional competitors. 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. Although broscience is finally losing face, it’s being replaced by what I can only describe as bodybuilding nihilism (‘nothing-ism’). 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. Even if the child is not eating the best foods or living the healthiest lifestyle, it’s going to grow bigger and bigger until the genetically pre-determined size is reached. 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.
Dan’s earned a reputation for his knowledge and hard work in and out of the gym and of course his tell-it-like-it-is approach to performance enhancement!
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.
Energy can come from any of the three systems but amino acids can only come from the stomach or the muscles. Once you are happy with your body fat percentage, calories would be slowly increased so that weight starts to increase. Bro, what has washing your food got to do with anything? Skepticism is great, but it’s turning into pessimism that’s killing the spirit of bodybuilding to always keep improving and always push the limits.
If somebody gains muscle during their contest prep, he is immediately accused of steroid use. They refer to the first law of thermodynamics (‘movement of energy’), also called the law of the conversion of energy.
If it gets enough protein from your diet, it just needs energy and this energy can be obtained from fat mass. The conservation of energy law only means that you must gain energy in energy surplus and lose energy in a deficit. Yet people in dozens if not hundreds of studies lose fat and build muscle at the same time when they start training, even sometimes when they only do endurance training (see here and here and here, for example).
Young, old, healthy, unhealthy, male, female, obese, lean, they all achieve body recomposition. Their fat percentage of 7.6% dropped to 5% – lower than many bodybuilders in contest shape – in 30 days. As long as the stimulus for muscle growth is carefully designed and customized, your body will find a way to get bigger. It’s not as simple as that it takes it all from fat cells and puts it all into the muscle. I watch a lot of guys on youtube and one thing almost every single one of them preaches is you cannot get around calories in vs calories out. Surely you have read the muscle potential gain from guys such as berkhan, lyle McDonald, casey butt of course. Not disputing just wondering just how.Also this seems plausible in someone who has some decent body fat % to work with and use for the energy in the first place. I was asking hypothetically just to present a scenario where the build and loose same time might not be possible. In my opinion you sometimes base bold claims on slim and fragile evidence – I dont know what this has to do with etiquette. If someone is at 15% bodyfat, the nutrient partitioning will be suboptimal due to low-grade inflammation and insulin resistance. Muscle mass can only be gained at a certain rate, and the fuel for that muscle gain can come from both your ingested and stored calories.
Thats the question: At which BF % will the effects you describe of how great a magnitude set in?
I am sure muscle gain will near a threshold at a surplus, no doubt about that and the referenced study, Andy Morgan would agree I guess.
He simply says: controlled bulk gets there faster because muscle gain is much less with a constant BF of 12%.
Whereas not gaining any fat would seriosly slow down muscle gains in advanced trainees at that BF level.
This is under novel training stimulus, and high body fat levels, so it doesn’t really apply to us, as you stated.Then you go on to show one of your clients’ results. It is fairly well documented that in an absence of CHO, PRO can be converted to glucose (by means of gluconeogenesis).
The American journal of clinical nutrition, 90(3), 519-526.Glucose can be stored as glycogen, retaining water with it.
Maybe thats his nature, maybe you gotta do this in a business in which non-evidence-based writers and coaches make claims out of thin air all the time.
You can find a whole list of further studies showing body recomposition that someone posted on my Facebook. You need to know how all the above mentioned variables factor into the equation, set up the diet – and then adjust according to progress (weight vs. Its not exactly clean but dirty bulk would be closer to the GFH approach where you just eat mindlessly.

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