Building muscle while losing fat- many think it’s impossible to do both at the same time while others claim to have been doing it ever since they started lifting.
The truth is, while doing both at the same time isn’t easy it’s certainly possible if you approach your training in the right way.
Body recomposition (to make this all sound more scientific) does not require some sort of super-secret diet, expensive supplement or steroids.
It won’t be easy but if you follow the steps of this article, which you are probably reading at work or in the bathroom, you will have a solid chance at looking like Zyzz.
How Building Muscle Works
Chances are you have heard of “protein synthesis” but have no idea what it means.
This is where damaged cells are replaced with new ones – ones that are stronger and better able to withstand the punishment of your workout.
For most people, the muscle tissue is more or less stable on a day to day basis – changes may happen but it is over an extended period of time.
Keep in mind that most people will slowly lose muscle mass over time as they get older if they aren’t training regularly.
When we go to the gym for chest day, we are damaging the cells in the muscle fibres which tells the body to increase protein synthesis in that area to repair all those damaged cells.
Your body is smart though – rather than just repair them back to their previous level it makes them a bit stronger so they can deal with that type of stress in the future.
This is where the idea of progressive overload comes from in bodybuilding – if you aren’t constantly upping the weight your body won’t respond by building stronger muscles since it doesn’t see a need to do so.
To make things even simpler – if over a 24 hour period your body synthesized more muscle protein than it lost it you will have gained muscle.
Similarly if you synthesized less than you lost then you will have less muscle mass. Your body aims to keep things stable over time – that’s why it’s important to trick your body into growing more by progressively overloading your weights.
How Fat Loss Works
Losing fat is a little bit simpler to explain. Here we are trying to create a calorie deficit – that is, take in less calories than our body burns, over time.
If you aren’t in a calorie deficit you simply WILL NOT lose fat.
So why is it difficult to build muscle while losing fat? Well, when your body is in a calorie deficit, there are two important impacts on your body.
Firstly, it reduces your anabolic hormone levels. In other words, the hormones that are important for building mass.
Additionally, it reduces your body’s ability to perform protein synthesis which, as we explained in the previous paragraph, is the cornerstone of muscle growth. Hence why traditional bodybuilding advice points to the fact that doing both at the same time is impossible.
So who can do it and who can’t?
If you are new to bodybuilding we have some very good news for you. While experienced bodybuilders with years of training under their belt can hope for about 5 lbs of muscle growthper year, as a beginner you can expect much faster growth if you are training properly.
Since your body is relatively untrained, it’s going to be very responsive to lifting weights.
When you go to the gym and do chest/tris for the first time your body is going to think “what the hell is going on right now?
I’ve never been put through this kind of stress before!” and to compensate for this your body will respond with aggressive protein synthesis.
As a result, even if you are in a cut cycle (meaning you are burning more calories than consuming) the super-protein synthesis your body is going through will compensate for the negative effects of being in a deficit. In other words, you will be building muscle while losing fat.
How to do it
If you’re reading this as a noob and thinking you are going to look huge and shredded in 3 months without much effort we have some bad news.
Bodybuilding isn’t all sunshine and blowjobs and you are still going to have to be disciplined and put in hard work even when you are going through your noob gains period.
First of all, if you are in a calorie deficit during your noob gains phase, yes you will gain muscle and lose fat at the same time but you will gain a lot less than if you had just focused exclusively on muscle growth.
Roughly speaking you can expect your muscle gains to be half what they would be had you not been in a calorie deficit.
The first thing you are going to want to be careful with here is to not put yourself into too much of a calorie deficit.
While the super protein synthesis response in your body will offset some of the negative effects of the calorie deficit, if you go too far into a deficit then you won’t be able to compensate and you will be spinning your wheels in the gym.
Aim for 1.2g of protein per pound of body weight, 1 gram of carb per pound of body weight and 0.2 grams of fat per pound of body weight to get started and adjust accordingly.
You want to make sure you don’t cut the carbohydrates down too much since you need them to gain muscle and to give you energy for your intense resistance training.
The next thing you will want to focus on is heavy compound weightlifting. There’s a reason this piece of advice is universal – it’s because it works no matter what your goals are.
This type of training will give you the most bang for your buck and will help you add muscle to your frame as quickly as possible.
Compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, bench press and overhead press.
Stay in the 4-8 rep range for compound lifts for 9-12 sets total (between all exercises). If you are doing more than this you are probably using bad form or lifting weight that is too light for you.
Next let’s focus on the fat loss component.
Remember we are trying to create a calorie deficit and depending on how much you are eating you might need to do some cardio in order to increase your calories burned every day.
You will want to focus on high intensity interval training (HIIT) since it burns much more fat than steady-state cardio.
In addition to burning more calories, HIIT will also preserves more muscle than steady-state cardio.
HIIT has actually been shown to increase your growth hormone levels in the body which will help your body maintain muscle mass.
One of the most underrated factors in determining your success if getting enough sleep.
Simply put if you aren’t getting enough of it your body’s ability to both burn fat and gain muscle will be severely impaired.
Aim for 7-9 hours a night but if you feel you need more than you are getting, make sure you are letting your body get the rest it needs.
Sometimes we just try to do too much every day that we don’t allow our bodies to recover – all this does is hurt us in the long run (in all areas of our lives).
If your Testosterone levels are low you will probably not be able to lose fat and build muscle at the same time.
Testosterone is responsible for muscle growth and is probably the most important factor when it comes down to building muscle.
You can however increase your natural testosterone production without steroids or any illegal drugs.
By supplementing with an all natural testosterone booster you will be able to supercharge your natural testosterone production. –See the top 3 recommended testosterone boosters here.
You might be asking this question and I don’t blame you: “If I have higher testosterone levels what will happen?”
- You will build more muscle mass
- You will maintain your muscle mass better
- You will get leaner and more cut
- Your sex drive will increase as well as harder erections
- better mood and your confidence will increase
That’s why most athletes and natural bodybuilders that are serious about building muscle and losing fat do everything they can to increase their testosterone production naturally.
This isn’t rocket science guys – but it does take a lot of discipline. In order to recomp your body successfully you will need to:
* maintain a solid calorie deficit
* consume a good, balanced diet
* perform resistance training focusing on compound lifts
* do HIIT cardio
* supplement with high-quality natural products