If you are in the gym every day trying to build muscle, you may already have the body you envision, you just need to lose the fat.
If you are attempting to build muscle and you do not have a lean physique (See: Ideal Body Fat Percentage Chart if you are unsure), I strongly recommend you focus on losing fat without losing muscle before attempting to add some bulk to your frame. Gaining muscle without gaining fat is a very difficult proposition, even if you count every calorie you eat meticulously.
I must disclose I have a bias against muscle building – I think most guys have more than enough natural muscle once they reach maturity and after putting in a few good years of quality lifting and eating. If you are at, or above 15% body fat (the chances are likely), I highly recommend focusing on losing fat first. If you are not lean, you have body fat that is hiding your hard earned muscle mass and even more important, hiding the shape of your muscles.
For example, your shoulder muscle is a round, teardrop shaped muscle that is involved in all pulling and pushing movements. In the photo of me to your right taken a couple of years ago, I have 155lb of lean body mass and I weighed around 167lb.
Let’s say you want to add 10-15lb of muscle to your frame, do you know how much volume 10-15lb of muscle has?
I’m not a big fan of using weight when it comes to building a certain amount of muscle.
The better way is to measure your body parts to see if there are any major areas of improvement.
You may learn after doing some body measurements that you can definitely get your thighs and calves an inch bigger.
I hope after reading this article the choice is very clear as to whether you should lose fat first, or build muscle. My overall goal is to get to 190 at 10% body fat, so to get to the point, would going up in weight to about 210 lbs and then cutting be more effective than going up to about 14 or 15% body fat and then cutting not to allow my body to become too accepting of holding onto bodyfat.
To answer your other question about adding bulk, yes, adding some fat is ok at 10% body fat, just want to be careful, that’s all. After changing your body fat percentage from the high teens to the low teens, hitting a plateau is almost expected from my experience. 2) Add more intensity to your exercise program – You may want to first take down the volume of exercise down a little for a couple weeks to gain your bearings, but then whatever you have been doing, take it up a notch either in terms of volume, or intensity.
Be sure you are drinking enough water and getting enough sleep, which can easily effect your results. For the answer to your second question, I could write a book on it, but in the meantime, i just added this article so that you can appreciate the difference between maintenance vs.
Hey Marc, I’m 15, a male, and I am 5 feet 3 inches tall is 122.4 pounds too much wait for me ? Thanks your site is amazing and can you do a pull up video on how to do pull ups properly and how to get from one pull up to 20 pull ups? After reading several of your articles I’m really understanding the science of getting lean alot better. Hey Devin – I suggest you check out some of the motivational articles under the motivation category (top right of this site there is a box which has the categories tab). I’ve been fasting on water only for 7 days and have dropped from 93 kgs to 87kgs in 7 days.
Can you read the message that I sent you on You Tube (PolishBob96), the message that is about my workout and can you tell me if it is a good workout and will this workout make me stronger and build muscle and if it is bad what should I add or get rid? Is there anything that I can do to help this web site grow, I wrote about your website on my you tube account, you can check it out if you want to or when you have the time.
Thank you for making a video on how to do a push up properly and how fast that I should do them, I finally know how to do them correctly!
Sorry for all these long message, and sorry If I am being annoying by writing so much and asking so many questions. For nutrition you are saying to eat only all- natural food or organic food and how much water should I drink a day ? You also may consider my BuiltLean Program for a structured approach to getting the body you want.
I have personally used the 10 tips posted here to lose 60 lbs of fat and gain a tremendous amount of muscle while staying lean. I used to do this whole 6 meals a day thing, getting protein every 2-3 hours, filling myself up on dry chicken breast and  protein shakes, but I made no progress. Drinking your calories is a waste, since you have a limited amount of calories to consume during fat loss.
Furthermore, you want to reduce alcohol consumption since it’s diffcult to lose fat if you get drunk several times a week. Instead of buying useless junk like candy and pizza, you should stock up your kitchen with solid and satiating foods, such as red meat, eggs, rice, peanutbutter and rye bread. Solution: To make sure that you stock up on the right foods, always make a shopping list before you go to the grocery store and stick to it. If you have trouble controlling your appetite and you tend to crave a lot of junkfood and candy, then you’re most likely not sleeping enough.
To lose fat you need to be in a caloric deficit, but that doesn’t mean you should be in a deficit every single day of the week. Solution: The 1 or 2 days a week where you eat more is the perfect time to eat some of the unhealthy foods you miss. When some of you think about fat loss, the first thing that comes to mind is spending hours on the treadmill every week.
Solution: Do strength training since that will enable you to maintain and possibly build muscle mass. If you spend most of your time around people that order pizza for dinner and snack on candy throughout the day, then chances are you will pick up on those bad habits yourself. Solution: Spend less time with friends that eat junk and move out of your home as soon as possible if your family is making it difficult for you to eat right. Avoid using your mirror to evaluate progress during fat loss, it will just screw with your mind.
Solution: Measure your waist, hips and weigh yourself once a week in the morning on an empty stomach to track your progress.
However, for beginners, I would recommend following a full diet plan including calories, macros and weigh meal for at least 3 months. How many calories, proteins, carbs and fats there are in all the foods that are most important for you.
I wake up quite late most days of the week so my first meal is brunch where I eat 4 slices of rye bread with peanutbutter and a lot of fruit (bananas, honey melon, smoothie). I just buy the cheapest multivitamin they have at the pharmacy, I only take it because I don’t like to eat vegetables. Love your blog, I started to lose weight back in April and had some pretty good progress, I was trying to lose some extra weight before a hip replacement surgery.
I’m glad your surgery was succesful, that sounds like an unfortunate thing to have to go through.
As for losing inches around your belly, it depends on how lean you already are, how large your deficit is and your genetics.
Thanks Haris, I try to make them simple and actionable, without making them too superficial. I hadn’t measured bodyfat but when I started this journey I was 80kg and dropped to 73 in 1 year or so .
Cut down until you have visible 4-pack in good lighting (or around 10-12 % bodyfat), then do the short bulking and cutting cycles after your cut to gain muscle while staying lean. Great site!, I’m having the skinny fat physic as long as I can remember, never been really fat but always light weighted and soft with a little bit of a belly.
I would love to continue bulking because I’m finally making progress again after my newbie gains.


One way to improve your performance on the field is by dropping a few pounds of fat and adding more muscle. Keep that water bottle handy all day, because dehydration slows your metabolism, which decreases your body’s ability to burn fat.
Exercising outdoors in sunlight boosts vitamin D absorption, promoting production of testosterone, which helps decrease fat storage. Research shows that consuming five or six small meals—each containing protein, carbs and essential fats—every two to three hours preserves muscle gains and boosts fat-burning metabolism.
Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and featured GPW Expert.
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Get evaluated by a professional recruiting expert and find out what college programs you might qualify for. 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. I have been active for years, but this is the first time I have taken a workout regime seriously.
How long should a person do this, and when do we know that all of the fat is gone we don’t have to focus on getting rid of the fat and when all of the fat is gone do we have to do any workouts on getting rid of fat or just focus on building muscle again?
I eventually wised up, focused on fat loss, then switched to improving my strength once I hit my target.
Burn fat and lose inches from your waist by combining exercises made to target your stomach muscles with fat-burning workouts. If you’re skinny-fat, the first thing on your to do list should be to lose fat, not bulk up to look like a teddybear.
You don’t have to implement ALL of the tips at the same time, but the more tips you use from this list, the faster your fat will melt off. Then one day I made the switch to 3 meals a day with no snacking between meals and as a result my fat loss took off.
I like to have one food that gives me fat and protein and one food that gives me carbs in every meal.
If you’re used to drinking a lot of soda or sugary juice, you may see a reduction in body fat simply by eliminating those.
Get a good sweat through exercising daily and don’t forget to exercise your brain aswell by reading and learning. Not only is cardio boring but it will increase your appetite, which will make you eat more food and thereby ruin the purpose of burning the calories in the first place. Also, your joints will get used to training, so once you get lean enough to bulk you will be ready to train hard. If your mom bakes a cake every weekend and you have candy, chocolate and junkfood lying around the house then it’s going to be difficult to lose fat. You are just experiencing the transition phase from a high bodyfat percentage to a lean bodyfat percentage. Weekly measurements don’t lie but looking at yourself in the mirror everyday is a recipe for disaster. If you follow the abovementioned tips you will be able to lose fat without starving yourself every single day, however you will still experience hunger some days of the week if you’re used to eating a lot. I used to get 200 g of protein per day at 200 lbs bodyweight during my first few years of training, but now I eat 100-120 g of protein per day and I’m still progressing and gaining muscle. I put a lot of peanutbutter on my bread though and I eat +1 lb of meat for dinner and a lot of rice.
It seems like you know what to do now and how to do it, so just stay consistent and you will reach your goal. I still haven’t started training or eating appropriately, but I am getting the plan laid out and preparing myself to start mentally within a week, max.
I wish to lose weight but when I eat even slightly lesser than I am used to, I feel really hungry.
Less fat and more muscle mass are functional, not just for sports and exercise, but also for basic, daily physical activities. Sleeping for at least eight hours each night stimulates the release by the pituitary gland of human growth hormone (HGH), a naturally occurring anabolic hormone that promotes muscle building and fat burning.
Shoot for a minimum of eight to 10 glasses of water daily, and consume water-based fruits and vegetables.
Strength training every other day with total body workouts using multi-joint exercises—like Deadlifts, Squats, Push-Ups, Chin-Ups, Rows, Leg Presses, Dips and Power Cleans—efficiently works the most muscles, optimizing growth and promoting fat burning. Combining high-intensity interval training, such as alternating sprints with brisk walking, burns more fat than low-intensity aerobic training alone. Protein and fat help stave off blood sugar spikes from quickly digested refined carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and bread. 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 am curious if you have any tips for breaking through a barrier like this in your workout regime.
I am planning to apply for them after graduating college because currently I want to double major in Exercise Science and Chemical Engineering. It’s not nearly as frustrating to add some fat with the muscle now than it was when I was heavier. The reason why big meals worked better for me is that I could finally eat until I got full which removed the need to snack. Feel free to mix it up by using different sauces, spices or ways of cooking, but don’t change the foods. I used to sleep 6-7 hours a day, but now a days I get 8-10 hours of sleep and as a result I rarely crave junkfood and sugar. Instead of looking leaner, you will start looking like a smaller skinny-fat version of yourself.


Hunger is normal when you are in a caloric deficit, and that’s the price you will have to pay to lose fat. On days where I train very hard I add a 3rd meal either before going to bed or between the 2 other meals depending on when I’m hungry. A vitamin where you piss out most of the nutrients can’t really take the place of that.
I know fat loss occurs overall the body and spot reduction is not possible so if my previous question sounds dumb, i think a better question would be, how long did it take you to go from having a fat belly to the flat belly that you have currently?
It took me 18 months to go from my fattest (235 lbs) to my leanest (177 lbs), but it can be done much faster, and most of my fat was stored around the hips. I don’t drink tea, coffee but I will definitely try out chewing gums, it did strike me as an idea some days ago but I had no idea that they would be so effective. In fact, maintaining a low body fat count and consistently working to build muscle should be fitness goals of athletes and non-athletes alike. Spicy foods such as hot peppers and curry powder help burn fat, because they make you perspire and raise your heart rate, thus enhancing metabolism. To optimize your metabolism, choose slower digesting complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables and whole grains), protein-rich dairy foods (milk, cheese and yogurt) and other high protein foods such as eggs, meat and fish. 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!
I want to take your advice against bulking, but I am not sure what regimes are good for developing muscle mass without necessarily going through the bulking phase. I have hit a couple of plateaus during this adventure however I been stuck at this weight for over two weeks.
Lately I have been utilizing an Atkins type diet, high fat, high protein, low carb approach. Some are advicing me to get into HGH and steroids to burn more fats and get the solid look but am still not convinced.
Belly fat is really a more colloquial name for what is really abdominal obesity, or perhaps in a more clinical sense, central obesity.
An additional benefit of this tip is that you will eat slowly and this will result in eating less.
To ensure that you don’t get any vitamin deficiencies, simply take a multivitamin in the morning. When you are in a caloric deficit everyday, your body may make up for the deficit by producing less testosterone, and trust me, you don’t want that.
However, once you reach a certain bodyfat percentage you will start looking lean instead of skinny-fat, patience is key here. Strong lifts was just making me fat before and now that I have implemented MAINLY bodyweight training my physique is skyrocketing to where I’d like it to be.
Stressing about it is more likely to cause muscle loss than not eating exactly 2191 calories a day.
My problem is that I am second guessing my workouts and diets now, and I want to know what the best options are for me at this point. When your body accumulates a certain amount of belly fat, the resulting effect is viewed in a swelling waist size, and therefore, the need to buy larger-size pants. Just grease you pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, throw you vegetables in with some fresh pepper, red chilies or chili paste, crushed garlic, tbsp of soy sauce and flash fry for 3 minutes. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as nuts, flaxseed and seafood, are helpful as well. I read that your body can burn fats in place of carbs and it won’t raise your blood sugar. I’m very lean everywhere except for my belly they guy who did the measurements thought it was a little odd how lean I was everywhere except for my belly. I have just started this approach with the diet to lose the last bit of fat to get ripped, ( already a devout gym rat doing HIIT three times a week with weights 2-3 times a week). Walking is a perfect form of postnatal exercise.Cardio ExercisesWalking, swimming and jogging are wonderful ways to burn belly fat. And then a run for an hour…i dont like to really lift weights, my diet is rather well, I would asume. But I would LOVE your advise in what I can do to achive a decent toned body (im not picky), what I should change and keep. One thing in your get ripped article that you didn’t mention is the type of carbs to eat? The reason is because to burn belly fat, you initially have to start with that annoying layer of fat that’s surrounding your stomach in the first place. I am afraid even with high protein and high fat, with little to no carbs I may burn muscle! If you skip ahead to more specialized exercises at this time, like crunches, you will be developing your abdominal muscles, however they will remain hidden under all your belly fat.Upper Body ExercisesNo other body-weight exercise builds strength like pushups. They work your chest, shoulders and triceps, as well as using your core and upper back muscles as stabilizers. There are many other variations too, such as feet- or hand-elevated pushups, single-legged pushups and close-grip ones, which target your triceps. You might mimic dumbbell rows by loading up a grocery bag with tins and lifting it as if you would a dumbbell. Once these are too easy, fill a bag with your shoe collection which should keep your strength going for some time.Lower Body ExercisesThe standard squat should be your go-to leg exercise. Apart from squats, lunges are a great way to further torch your quads, and glute bridges performed with both legs, single-legged or with your feet elevated will hit your hamstrings just like hard as any gym leg-curl machine. To have an added challenge, try more advanced single-leg exercises such as split squats and jump or reverse lunges.
Getting strong on single-legged exercises strengthens the knee joint, and reduces your risk of injury.Interval WorkoutAn interval workout is defined as a workout in which you do a high-intensity exercise for a certain period of time after which follow that up with a lower-intensity exercise.
The thinking behind this really is that you first work up your body at a good pace, and then you let your body recover. Next, slow down to where you are running at a jogging pace, after which go back up to a full sprint for two more minutes. Abdominal ExercisesAfter first beginning your belly fat-burning mission with exercises like walking, jogging and swimming, you now have the shot at really exercising your abdominal muscles and developing them. Abdominal exercises like crunches which involve you lying on the ground and bringing your knees up in alternating motions to touch your upper body are ideal for working off that belly fat. Even yoga works well, like the yoga asana pose, which requires you to definitely lie on your back after which raise your legs and upper body in a 30 degree angle for 30 seconds at a time.Exercise to Lose Belly FatConsiderationsTrain for 45 minutes, three to four times per week. Train your whole body in each session, because this further increases calorie burn and boosts your metabolism.
Each session try to do more reps or sets compared to previous workout and keep pushing yourself.
A chin-up bar, resistance bands, medicine ball and exercise mat can all be purchased for a small investment and can add endless more exercise variations to your routine. If you are feeling even more adventurous, a kettlebell or set of adjustable dumbbells wouldn’t go amiss either.




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