How To Build Muscle And Burn Fat… AT THE SAME TIME
If you’ve ever thought about whether it’s really possible to gain muscle mass and lose fat, you should read this.
Some say that it can not be done, some will say it requires steroids, and some will say you have to follow a “special” method.
Well, all of these statements are WRONG.
In order to build muscle mass and decrease the percentage of body fat, it requires a number of things to take into consideration:
Body composition, the amount of time you train and a number of other things.
In the following article, I will help you to truly understand how to build muscle and lower your body fat percentage AT THE SAME TIME.
Why burning fat while gaining muscle mass is tricky
The reason why so many people think that building muscle mass and losing fat at the same time is a dream – related to something called protein synthesis.
Every day, your cells undergo “maintenance work”, meaning: every time cells are destroyed new cells are built and take their place.
The normal person does not lose or increase muscle mass at a rapid pace but maintains a lower level of muscle mass from day to day.
If we do not do anything about it (“hit the iron” for example), we will slowly lose lean body mass as we age.
When we train, we destroy the cells of the muscle fibers, which signals the body to increase the level of protein synthesis to repair the damage. Our body, on the other hand, is very smart … it wants to adjust to the level of activity that causes muscle damage, so it adds cells to the muscle fibers and thus we become stronger and bigger.
In other words, when your body synthesizes (produces) more muscle proteins than loses, you gain mass. If it creates less than it loses – you lose muscle. If it creates more or less what it loses – you did not build any new lean tissue.
Now that you understand the physiological aspect of building muscle, let’s talk a bit about how it affects a drop in body fat.
To lose fat you need to feed your body with less energy (food) than it burns in a day.
In other words, a negative calorie balance is the number one law when every person wants to lose weight. No matter what you eat, if you eat more food than you burn you will not lose weight, period!
When a person is in a negative calorie balance, his or her body begins to adjust to the amount of new energy it receives, thus reducing the level of anabolic hormones and protein synthesis.
These changes, as you can imagine, interfere with the body’s ability to create new muscle proteins.
And if that’s not enough, many people make a lot of mistakes in their diet and exercise, which even ruin muscle building and encourages a decrease in muscle mass.
So it makes sense to think that you can not build muscle mass when you’re in a negative calorie balance.
Although this is true for some people, but not for everyone …
So who can burn fat and build muscle mass (at the same time) and who does not?
If you have read up to now, you understand what causes your muscle to grow and what doesn’t.
There are a number of people who can burn fat and build muscle mass at the same time:
1. People who are just beginning to practice
2. People who are new to proper training – exercises that require heavy complex exercises whose goal is to become stronger over time.
If this is your case, I can guarantee that you can gain muscle mass and burn fat at the same time. On the other hand: advanced trainees are people who are considered experienced exercisers, who practice several years of proper training. For them, it’s considered impossible.
For such people, one of two things would be preferable: to continue to grow at a slower pace from year to year while maintaining a slightly positive caloric balance or to do periods of “bulking” and “cutting” every few months.
Again, if a little bit fat does not bother you, then periods of bulking and cutting will be great for you.
So how do you build muscle mass and lose weight at the same time?!
Just because building muscle and burning fat at the same time is possible, that does not mean it’s something that will be easy to achieve. You’d be expected a slower muscle gain when you are in negative calorie balance than positive.
For example, if you gained 4.5 kg of muscle during your first 12 weeks of training while you were in a positive calorie balance, you would expect to gain about 2.2 kg if you were in a negative balance.
That’s why I always say, patience is the key!
It is important not to put yourself in an excessively negative calorie balance because it will lead to a decrease in muscle mass, energies, moods and some other things.
I always recommend a caloric deficit of 20-25% in order to diet optimally and correctly.
Focus on heavy compound exercises
You will hear quite a few people who recommend practicing high repetitions to get the “shapely” look and that’s just not true. In order to get the ripped and muscular appearance, you must combine compound movement exercises.
What are compound exercises you are probably asking …
Compound exercises involve several muscle groups and require a lot of strength and effort. Examples of complex exercises will be the squat, the deadlift, the bench press, and the shoulder press.
“Isolated” exercises, however, involve only one muscle group and require much less strength and effort.
How much heavy is considered “heavy”?
A question I asked myself when I started training is how heavy should I lift? What is the best rep range and why?
You’ll see that 10-12 repetitions is the rep range that most Fitness models recommend. Well, if you want to gain muscle mass you will want to practice with heavy weights at moderate intensity.
When I say heavy, it’s about 80% of your RM1, and between 4-7 repetitions.
And all this has been proven scientific for years.
For example, a study carried out 33 trained men (resistance training) into two groups:
High intensity, medium intensity level, which did 4 training sessions per week, including 4 sets per exercise in 10-12 repetitions, about 70% of RM1.
Group 2 – moderate intensity, high level of intensity that did 4 training per week that includes 4 sets per exercise in the ranges of 3-5 repetitions, about 90% of RM1.
The two groups did the same exercises (squats, bench presses, deadlifts, and shoulder press) and both had to eat the same foods they usually eat (which they followed in eating logs).
And the results?
After 8 weeks of training, researchers found that group 2 had trained at a medium intensity level and had gained more muscle mass.
The researchers reached two conclusions as to why this happened:
Higher mechanical stress on the muscle – while group 1 training at higher intensity resulted in higher metabolic pressure.
More activation of muscle fibers
So what can we learn from this study and many others?
We need to focus on lifting more weight in low rep range – this is much more important than many repetitions, Droup Sets, Giant Sets and more.
We need to focus on increasing the load.
The key here is to overload the tension within a muscle rather than increase the amount of repetition.
This does not mean that higher rep range and isolated exercises have no place in your training plan. It just means that it should not be the main focus.
What about aerobics?
You can lose fat without doing aerobics, but if you want to lose it faster you should pay attention to the importance of aerobics in your program.
You can do this either way – steady state (a walk or a jog) or HIIT (high-intensity interval training).
Personally, I prefer more intervals (HIIT), it’s more challenging, more enjoyable in much less time.
For those of you who do not know, intervals are the type of cardio workout where you perform an anaerobic exercise for a certain period of time with maximum effort to several sets along with rest between set and set.
Studies have shown that it is much more effective for burning fat and maintaining muscle mass than moderate aerobic exercise.
Moreover, the intervals have several advantages, such as:
Increases metabolism at rest until 24 hours after exercise.
Improves insulin sensitivity in muscle
Higher levels of fat burning in the muscles
Growth hormone (which helps burn fat)
Appetite suppression after exercise and more
HIIT maintains more muscle mass than moderate aerobic exercise.
The science is clear: if your goal is to burn as much fat as possible in as little time as possible – HIIT is the way to go.
So get off the treadmill and focus on weight training!
Building muscle mass and losing fat will not require you to follow complex diets or complicated training.
Maintain a slight negative calorie balance (20-25% less than caloric intake to maintain your weight)
Do compound exercises and work with heavy weights (do not forget technique before!)
Do not do more than two hours of HIIT aerobic exercise per week.
Make sure you sleep enough
And your body will take care of everything else.
If you have any further question I would be happy to answer
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