At first you may think it’s impossible to actually build muscle AND cut fat all at the same time. Why? Well the statement somewhat contradicts itself. To build muscle you have to work out a certain way and eat above your BMR (your daily caloric level). To cut fat (to lose weight) you must also work out a certain way AND eat below your BMR. So what gives? Is it possible to do both at the same time? Well, the simple answer is yes but that’s not good enough. Instead, lets discover the ”how to”.
Like I said, you have to eat more calories every day than your body can burn to build muscle. I have actually heard it described like this, “Eat like a horse. Sleep like a baby. Grow like a weed”. So, it’s pretty simple. To gain muscle you have to eat…eat some more and eat more after that. The key though is eating the right foods at the right time. (more on that later)
Again, to lose weight you have to burn more calories every day than you eat. You have to cut out the carbs, watch your fat intake and do a good bit of cardio. So, it must be impossible to gain muscle and lose weight at the same time, right? Nope..There is a way, you just have to be very methodical and careful in your diet and exercise.
#1 INTENSITY– If there is one similarity in both methods it’s the amount of intensity you bring to your workout. Whether you’re doing 3 sets of 12 or 5 sets of 5 how hard you work out is the difference between success and wasting your time.
#2 How Heavy You Lift- The heavier the weight you lift, the more pressure and more stress on your body, meaning more muscle. If you are new to lifting weights start out with very light weight and add weight each time you work out. If you are looking to gain muscle, shoot for a 4-5 sets of 5-8 reps. You don’t have lift a ton to build muscle but you have to lift heavier each set to maximize your time. Hint- Lifting heavy but using bad form will actually give you the opposite effect. So lift correctly.
#3 Combine Your Diet with #2- If you are lifting heavy you also have to feed your body the right type of foods to promote fat burning AND muscle growth. Protiens, Veggies, Whole Wheat high fiber carbs, Fruits and Good fats (fish oil, nuts, olive oil etc). Also, try to avoid anything that comes in a box. You don’t have to eat organic but the body can more easily digest whole, fresh foods than over processed crap. Also, avoid carbs at night. Your body doesn’t need them for energy late in the day and an over abundance of carbs will turn to fat once stored in your body. So eat your carbs after 10am and before 6pm.
#4 Eat Every 2-3 Hours- Weight loss is all about a fast metabolism and nothing speeds that up like eating often. If you go a prolonged time without eating, your body will naturally start to slow down to conserve energy. If you eat the correct foods explained in #3 and eat those foods every 2-3 hours your body will burn up fat and build muscle faster than you’d think.
#5 Cardio Is Bad For Building Muscle- This is where most people go wrong. They get steps 1-4 right but do WAY too much cardio negating all their hard work. Most people think of cardio as long segments of running, jogging, swimming, biking etc. My typical workout at the gym last no more than an hour to an hour and half. Routinely, someone will be on the treadmill before I start and will be there well after I leave. They think they are burning fat but they are really burning vital muscle. The body can only burn so much “energy” at one time and eventually, if you push it too far, it will seek out muscle to make up for the loss of energy. I mean wouldn’t you rather eat a nice piece of steak over a bunch of fat? Yep and your body works the same way. So instead of running for an hour, try HIIT for 20 minutes. You’ll burn MORE calories and target stored fat cells.
Trust me these steps work. Maybe you’re like me and you build muscle easily. Perhaps you have to work very hard to gain a single pound. Either way, if you follow each step and have a plan on how to achieve your goal you will find success.
Here’s an example of my current muscle building work out.