Two of the most common fitness goals are losing existing body fat and gaining muscle. While many people only want to focus on one goal or the other, others are intent on achieving both goals at the same time. The good news? It is possible to shed the excess fat you carry while creating nicely-defined muscle in a fast, efficient manner.
However, not everyone’s body is created the same.
Who Is More Likely to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle?
It is possible to quickly achieve both goals of losing fat and gaining muscle for some. Those more inclined to achieve success include:
- Those who have previously worked on building muscle at an earlier time but have subsequently lost muscle after they stopped working out can get back on track while losing fat at the same time.
- Those who have previously utilized the assistance of supplements
- Those who are overweight and just beginning a regimen
Anyone not on the list may find it much more difficult to build muscle while losing fat with any quick turnaround time. This is due to the need for more calories to gain muscle versus the need for less calories to lose fat. When you attempt to do both at the same time, success seems impossible especially when you haven’t worked on building your muscles in the past.
Why Is This Combination Effort So Hard?
There is a biological reason for the difficulties in both gaining muscle and losing fat. It has to do with what is known as protein synthesis and protein degradation. Protein synthesis involves the creation of new cells while degradation involves the body’s elimination of the unwanted cells. When you are consuming a healthy diet and exercising regularly, both processes remain balanced and stable as does the process of regeneration of cells. This means you won’t lose or gain muscle quickly.
However, when you begin to work your muscles out, damaged muscle fiber cells will cause the body to increase the rate of protein synthesis in order to fix the damage. Your body will also supply additional cells to the muscle fibers in response to the initial damage as a protective measure. Muscles subsequently grow bigger and you get stronger. Your body continues to create more of the muscle proteins than it is losing. If it creates a consistent number of proteins as it has lost, muscle mass will stay the same. This is why increasing the rate of protein synthesis through a high protein diet, overall good nutrition, and compound weightlifting routines are so important to muscle gain success.
On the other hand, in order to lose fat from the body, you must create a calorie deficiency by either reducing your caloric intake or working to burn off more calories than you take in. When you add a calorie deficiency into the body’s routine, you lose fat but you also change the body in other ways. Burning more calories than you consume causes a reduction in anabolic hormone levels. It also reduces the rate of protein synthesis. As we’ve just discovered, an increased rate of protein synthesis is necessary to gain muscle so by lowering the rate when focused on fat loss, you make muscle gain more difficult.
How to Accomplish Both Goals Almost at Once
The reality is you can gain muscle and lose fat but not at the same time. The work must be done in stages.
Start with the work needed to build muscle. Ultimately, you want to build up lean muscle mass without adding new fat to your body. The intake of calories you consume will be increased to put you on target for gaining a half-pound to a pound each week. Exercise regimens should include muscle-building routines incorporating squats, barbells, pullups, and ab work to gain lean, quality muscle.
Assisting in the lean muscle building routine are the use of muscle-building peptides like Ipamorelin. This example is from the family of GHRP peptides which trigger the release of the human growth hormone. The HGH is necessary for the growth of muscles and overall development. It also aids in fat loss and has other benefits for the body. This class of peptides allows for the growth of lean muscle without increasing body fat. Peptides like Ipamorelin works by enabling muscle tissue cells to develop at a faster rate.
Those new to weightlifting and other muscle-building activities may find it easy to initially gain muscle rather quickly. However, even with proper training, building muscle becomes more difficult as more time passes.
The ultimate goal in reducing the amount of fat in your body is to shed excess fat without losing muscle. The lean muscle you’ve worked so hard to build needs to remain while you drop pounds. During the fat loss stage, calories should be decreased and cardio routines can be increased to hit the target weight loss of one pound per week.
Use of peptides like Ipamorelin, IGF-1, and GHRP-6 can also aid in the efforts to decrease body fat percentages. It assists the body in losing the undesired fat while retaining the lean muscle mass you’ve continued to build. These peptides also help the body recover faster after workouts to increase endurance and overall physical fitness. Easily digested, peptides are able to be used quickly by your body because it’s smaller and doesn’t require as much effort to break them down. Peptides are comprised of two or more amino acids, which are needed for the body to function properly.
Balancing Your Diet
The primary focus in both stages will be your caloric intake. When building muscle, you’ll want to increase the calories you consume. When moving into the fat loss stage, you’ll need to decrease the calories you take in.
Recommended daily protein amounts equate to one gram of protein for each pound of your body weight. In order to gain muscle and lose fat, you must get enough daily protein. If you are not consuming adequate amounts of protein each day, it will be difficult to build and retain the muscle you desire. The protein amounts you consume should remain consistent based on your body type.
Carbohydrates are the other piece of the puzzle. While your protein intake will stay the same, the amount of carbs you consume will need to be adjusted based on which stage you are in to account for the calories. If you are looking to lose fat, carbs need to be reduced. When gaining muscle, carbs will need to be increased.
Along with your diet, you also need to maintain a consistent workout routine. It doesn’t matter if you are in the gaining or losing stage, you need to continue working out, increasing strength, and building your physical fitness.
Once you are ready to start towards your goal of gaining muscle and losing fat, you’ll need to decide which stage to start out in. If you are currently overweight, the fat loss stage may be the best starting point. You may find it easier to achieve your ultimate success by dropping excess weight and building up to a better routine of physical fitness first before focusing on your muscle mass.
If you are already lean or even too skinny, you’ll need to consider which goal is most important to you personally. By prioritizing your health goals, you’ll find the right starting point.
Achieving Success Quickly and Effectively
The first thing to remember is that as you go through the first stage, whichever one it may be, you need to allow enough time to pass to start seeing results. As you begin to notice the difference in your body, you can switch focus and start in on the second stage. Again, allow time to continue until you can start seeing results for that stage before switching your focus. With your persistence, you will be able to start seeing the successes of both fat loss and muscle gain at the same time by working through consistent stages.
Foods to Help with Rapid Fat Loss and Muscle-Building
What you put in your body matters, especially when trying to eliminate excess fat from your body. A number of foods will assist you in burning calories quickly and effectively.
Lean Meat. Selecting high protein meats in your diet will not only provide the essential daily proteins you need for good health. Meats rich in proteinalso require more calories during digestion. Consuming high protein meat will burn about 30% of the total calories to break down the food during digestion.
Whole Grains. Whole foods like brown rice and oatmeal require more calories to burn than processed foods during digestion. You actually burn twice the amount of calories eating whole grains and eliminate fat in a faster period of time.
Lentils. Lentils are jam-packed with iron and other nutrients. Just one cup of lentils provides your body with 35% of the iron it needs each day. Your body must have the proper amount of nutrients each day to maintain a good metabolism. Lacking nutrients will slow the body’s metabolism down, making fat loss more difficult.
Low-Fat Dairy. Cheese, yogurt, and other low-fat dairy products provide the body with needed vitamin D and calcium to help build strong bones and lean muscle. Dairy products also help maintain a high metabolism.
Green Teas. Research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates green tea is effective at reducing body fat thanks to a compound known as EGCG it contains. This compound provides a temporary boost to metabolism. Four cups of green tea daily have shown to provide effective results in dropping excess weight.
Hot Peppers. Whether you like your hot peppers raw, dried, or powdered doesn’t matter. The compound known as capsaicin is found in peppers and what makes them hot. The same compound generates heat in your body, enabling you to burn more calories. Hot peppers and hot sauce added to your diet will help to increase the amount of calories you burn.
Surviving the Fitness Plateau
It is not uncommon to hit a point in your routine where you feel you are no longer losing weight. This is often referred to as a plateau, the point where you’ve leveled off and feel frustrated things are no longer moving forward.
Fear not! It is possible the plateau is due to a number of other issues. Weight pertaining to the body is not only due to fat. Weight is also attributed to a number of other factors in the body. These factors include:
While you may have actually lost weight from fat, if you gained some muscle in the process the scale will notice. This means you are still achieving the loss of fat you desire while at the same time are gaining weight due to increases in muscle mass or excess water retention at weigh-in. You must consider these factors while on your fat loss journey. Do not only rely on the bathroom scale to measure your accomplishments. Use other tools to track fat loss including body measurements, body fat percentages, and your own eye.
It is also possible the plateau is happening in your fat loss adventure. There may be an extended time period where you are no longer losing fat. If this is the case, take a look at the calories you consume each day versus the exercise you are performing.
Whether you decide to place your focus initially on the loss of fat or the gain of muscle, remember that fat loss should be faster and easier than the process of building muscle. Even with a peptide boost, it takes time to build muscle. Remember it is not possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the exact same time. The process needs to be done in stages.
5 Take-Away Tips for Success
We now know why it’s so hard to succeed at both muscle gain and fat loss at the same time. But we also know that taking things in stages can help you achieve the success you desire on the path to better physical fitness.
Here are a few take-away tips to help you continue on your journey toward achieving your fitness goals:
- Learn More About Calories –Both the fat loss and muscle gaining processes will require an attention to calories. Become a scholar in the study of the calorie. Learn more about the types of calories you are consuming and what it takes to burn those calories off to achieve fat loss. Understand the kind of diet you need to incorporate based on your goals.
- Get Your Whole Body Moving – It’s not good enough to only focus on weightlifting to increase muscle mass. You should also be working in a variety of movements to work your entire body including deadlifts, squats, and pull ups. These allow several of your muscle groups to work together, providing you with faster, more positive results.
- Increase Intensity Not Length –The amount of time you work out should not be your priority. Your workout goals should focus on the intensity of the workout rather than how long it takes to complete. The high intensity effort will get your muscles more engaged and help to boost your metabolism. It also matters how you approach your workout. Be sure to always start with a warm up session, followed by weightlifting, then work in some cardio.
- Don’t Get Routine –While it may be good in other areas of your life to have a routine, don’t let your workout become routine. Schedule different workout plans for different days of the week to work out different groups of muscles. If you do the same tired old routine day after day, results will become much harder to attain. Also? Boredom is one of the most common reasons people fail to achieve their fitness goals.
- Get to Sleep –You can do all the exercises in the world but if you aren’t getting enough sleep each night, you are less likely to see results in your physical fitness. Your hormone levels are affected by the amount of sleep you get. Sleep also controls hunger so it is vital you listen to what your body is telling you. Sleep is more important than any workout so if you are lacking on naps, skip the gym and hit the pillow instead.
Have Reasonable Expectations
It is possible to gain muscle while working on losing fat as long as you work in stages. It requires consistency and dedication to your fitness goals. But achievement also requires reasonable expectations along the way. No one is capable of being at the top of their game overnight. It can take weeks or even months to see results starting to take shape. Make a list of what you want to achieve and be sure to give yourself a pat on the back along the way. By celebrating the little successes, you can remain self-motivated to attain the body and level of physical fitness you seek.