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How To Lose Fat and Build Muscle Simultaneously in 4 Easy Steps

By Adam Kaan | Training

They said it couldn’t be done. They said it’s like chasing two rabbits down two holes, you won’t catch any of them.

Well I’m here to tell you, You Kaan! Not only have I done this but experts like Jeff Cavaliere, John Romaniello and others have done the same and agree that it’s absolutely possible.

So here is what you need to do

Create a Slight Calorie Deficit...

...With a positive nitrogen balance that means a high protein intake. For this you will need to work out your body’s calorie requirement

You should not slash calories more than 500 below maintenance. In fact John Romaniello mentions a thing called G-flux where you keep your calorie at or slightly above maintenance and let your training create the deficit.

For example if we workout your maintenance is 2300 but you eat 2500 but burn off 500 through training you end up at 2000 for the day, 300 below maintenance.

This is a more effective way of maintaining muscle. Personally I like to be a bit more aggressive with my fat loss. I guess it would depend on your personal goals and risk to reward ratio

Workout Macros

Once you’ve decided what your calories should be next is working out your macros. Here is the most important part. You need to maintain a calorie deficit with a positive nitrogren balance. That can be difficult but you can use supplementation to do this especially since a positive nitrogen requires the amino acid leucine most commonly found in whey protein. I explain this in a bit more detail on my supplement review post

Do Not Do Long Cardio

Instead incorporate your cardio into your lifting routine by doing supersets, ideally with non competing bodyparts. If you want to be more aggressive with your fat loss you can include 1 or 2 high intensity workouts spaced out during the week ideally on rest days. Duration no longer than 20 minutes each. Anything more and you’re risking muscle. Remember more muscle means higher metabolism and less fat.

Low intensity cardio can be used effectively too. The problem with low intensity cardio is your net calorie burn is very low. Nevertheless it’s good for recovery because it gets the blood flowing.

It’s important that you understand the difference between low intensity cardio ‘walking’ to ‘steady state cardio’ long duration steady state cardio ‘jogging’ has been shown to increase cortisol, which is not good for muscle but fat loves it.

Lift heavy

You have to give your body a reason to hold on to the extra muscle mass especially in a calorie deficit and there is no better reason for your body to do that except heavy weights

Conclusion

Theoretically you won’t be able to gain a crazy amount of muscle on a calorie deficit, but you should be able to lose fat whilst maintaining your size, and some gains (see further reading below).

I’m sure I’ve gained but it’s hard to measure off eyesight and even measuring tapes. When you have a layer of fat over your muscles you look bigger.

It’s precisely for this a reason a newbie with a thick layer of fat on top of his newbie gains said to me, “I’ve only been training just over a year and I look bigger than you”. As they say ‘ignorance is bliss’

Further Reading

Novel to this study were the striking differences in the responses in the tissue composition of the arms (31% loss in fat mass but no change in lean mass) compared with the legs (5.5% gain in lean mass but no change in fat mass).

Greater muscle mass accretion, strength gains, fat mass loss

Fat coppers lose 9.3 lbs of fat and gain 8.8 lbs muscle at the time in only 12 weeks

Plenty more studies where they came from

About the Author

36 Male, Teacher, trainer, father of two with a passion for health and fitness amongst other things