It’s a given that every reader of this site wants to build muscle.
It’s also a given that every reader of this site wants to lose fat.
However, realistically speaking, can you build muscle and lose fat at the same time?
Actually, YES YOU CAN!
Take a look around other bodybuilding websites and forums and you’ll find that I am in the minority for believing that you can bulk up and cut simultaneously.
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.
The evidence isn’t just anecdotal however, there’s solid scientific evidence for my position, but we’ll get to that later.
So why don’t most people believe that this can be done?
Well, here’s 2 facts that they use repeatedly:
- In order to build muscle, you need to consume excess calories.
- In order to lose fat there must be a calorie deficit.
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.
WRONG, yes you can!
Here’s what they don’t understand. Yes you need sufficient calories to build muscle and you need a deficit to burn fat…HOWEVER, Body Fat is actually the solution!
What is body fat?
Stored energy or stored calories, if you will.
If you don’t meet you caloric needs through food, you tap into your ‘stored calories’ to do the job. Since those stored calories are in the form of body fat, you therefore have to lose fat it in order to build that muscle .
Do you see what I’m saying here?
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). How will his body get those extra 500 calories needed to energize him and build muscle?
Answer: By burning his body fat.
There are about 3500 calories in a pound of fat. 500 calories times 7 days equals 3500 calories i.e. in this example, our guy fuels protein synthesis (building new muscle) and loses 1 pound of fat per week in the process – that’s nice, very nice.
You quite literally trade your fat ass for fab abs (aren’t I clever? 😉 )
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.
For some reason, most people seem to forget that not all your calories have to come in through your mouth.
‘Calories In / Calories Out‘ still holds true friends, the laws of thermodynamics are not broken… BUT, it is at the level of the cells, not at the level of your mouth!
There is one condition you must adhere to!
On a high-carb diet, this is not going to be achievable by anyone except those very few genetically gifted individuals.
However, for those of us in the know, we can use our knowledge to activate a fat metabolism and achieve remarkable results. You need to flip that metabolic switch and become a fat-burner in order to make this work.
A fat-burner is simply someone who restricts carbohydrate intake to encourage the body to burn fat for fuel. This typically takes around 3 days of low-carbing to achieve. If you are new to MuscleHack or have never read my diet articles, please read about the MANS bodybuilding diet to learn more about the advantages of a fat metabolism and low-carb bodybuilding.
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. Therefore, attempting this on a high-carb diet will result in stagnation i.e. neither moving forwards or backwards, and a very frustrated you.
When you’re a certified fat-burner it works a treat.
Want some solid evidence? Good!
Ok, check out the info from 5 studies in the image below…
Pay particular attention to the last group – ‘Volek et al’. As most of us aren’t going from ‘obese’ to lean, and we aren’t restricting calories to 1000 or less per day, this is where we’ll find relevant answers.
This group lost 2.2 kg or 4.8 lbs in total weight. The great news is that they actually lost 7.26 lbs / 3.3 kg of fat and gained 2.42 lbs / 1.1 kg of muscle in 42 days. Is it any wonder the MANS diet and ‘Total Six Pack Abs‘ are so darn effective?
As a sidenote, check out the top study. A low-carb group consuming just 1000 calories per day was observed alongside a group that ate absolutely nothing for 10 days. Sure the fasting group lost more total weight, but the low-carbers lost almost twice as much fat!
It’s not impossible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. It’s actually a very do-able, predictable process when you know what you’re doing. That’s why I’m here doing this, writing articles. I’m here to help you achieve your goals because I know for a fact that you can!
I’m not special, I don’t have amazing genetics. I’m just a regular guy who got his wish by continually learning and being my own guinea pig. Now I’m passing it on to you.
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 😉