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. Body recomposition is the process of maintaining your actual body weight, but adjusting the composition of your body– losing fat and gaining muscle mass. When you want to maintain weight but gain muscle, it is important to know approximately how many calories you need. You can also use a tool like the TDEE calculator (total daily energy expenditure) to get an idea of how much you should be eating.
Tools like the TDEE calculator can help you estimate how much protein you need, but again it’s very individual. To be blunt, aerobic dance classes are not going to be a successful approach to body recomposition.
I'm Ericka -- New mom, runner, CrossFitter, writer, social media lover, living my life as balanced and joyfully as possible in Indianapolis, Indiana. How do you know if you are making progress when you put yourself on a strict diet and exercise regimen?
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. She lost 60lbs several years back and has not only maintained her weight loss, but has completely transformed her body in the meantime. Weight loss is great and can help you become healthier, but really what we should be striving for is to lose body fat while also gaining lean muscle mass and strength.
If you are at a caloric deficit you may lose weight, and if you are at a caloric surplus you may gain weight. This assesses how much fuel you need based on age, sex, height, weight, and approximate activity level.
If you do not get enough protein your body will not be able to properly recover and heal the muscles you’ve worked out so hard. Animal-derived proteins such as meat, eggs, whey, and casein are usually processed most efficiently by the body. Opinions and data fly around the internet and it’s hard to determine what’s true and what’s false. The goal is to build muscle and strength, and lose body fat, so knowing what activities will accomplish this is vital.
Plan on lifting weights 3-5 days a week for at least half an hour, and focus on multi-joint functional movements such as bench press, deadlifts, military press, and squats. Ultimately body recomposition is the same as weight loss or intentional weight gain: the better you know your body, the more success you will have. Many people wonder whether the numbers going down on the scale means they're losing fat, and if the numbers are going up, whether they're gaining muscle. 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. The point with recomposition is to maintain actual body weight, but change what the weight is composed of. Again, it’s not exact because we all do different types of activities and our bodies all react differently.


If you are vegetarian or vegan, there are plenty of great protein powder options like soy, pea, and rice, or you can try to add more whole food proteins like dry or fresh peas, nuts, and soy products like tofu and tempeh. Exercises like push ups, pull ups, planks, and other bodyweight exercises are also great and should be used as accessory to your main movements.
This is a question that many body builders and those trying to lose weight (while gaining muscle) try to understand on the way to their goal weight. 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.
Because muscle is so dense, one pound of it takes up a whole lot less space than one pound of fat. You can aim for a certain calorie amount for a week, take a look at your weight and assess how you feel, and adjust it until you find the perfect number.
You can use your TDEE as a starting point, and work up or down from there based on your results.
Some people will do just fine eating a diet full of carbohydrates and lower in fats, while others will easily trim down with very little grains and high amounts of saturated fats.
What’s important is that you are not going moderate and then in your intensity periods goin harder, but that you are going moderate and in your intensity periods you are going as hard as you possibly can until failure. 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.
In this video you'll be shown an easy and accurate way to tell exactly how much muscle you are gaining and how much fat you are losing! 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 need to chart how much muscle you are gaining each week and then tailor how you eat and work out accordingly (so, if your desire is to look lean and not bulk up too much you probably want to scale down your weight lifting). 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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