The Ultimate Guide to Losing Fat and Gaining Muscle (At the Exact Same Time)

Theres an argument in the fitness world that you can either choose to lose fat OR gain muscle.

To this, I state, “Hogwash!”.

Let us help you develop muscle and lose fat at the exact same time! Find out more:.

We have lots of success stories from our online coaching clients who have been able to do both all at once:.

They simply cant be done at the same time.

Whichs what well cover in todays guide!

Can You Lose Fat and Gain Muscle at the Same Time? (The Controversy).

To get muscle, your body needs to be in a calorie surplus. This surplus offers the energy your body requires to repair and build larger muscles.

To lose fat, your body requires to be in a caloric deficit. This deficit forces your body to utilize pre-existing fat stores for fuel.

Provided this, losing fat (caloric deficit) at the same time one is getting muscle (caloric surplus) seems impossible.

The dispute comes about over the following:.

Before we get too far ahead, lets talk about why losing fat while gaining muscle can be bothersome.

Plus, I have lots of sweet LEGO photos and silly gifs on their way, which is constantly an excellent time..

If we go a few steps deeper into the science, it IS possible!

To value the subtlety here, lets enter into some specifics on losing fat and getting muscle independently, and then well integrate them.


Eight words, and one or two of those could probably be tossed out.

When your body requires more calories than the quantity you are eating, you remain in a “caloric deficit.” Your body does not have adequate calories to walk around, so itll start breaking down parts of itself for energy requirements.

The easy response: “consume less calories than you burn or use up.”.

When it comes to losing body fat, there is a simple response and a somewhat less simple response.

How numerous calories do I burn every day and need?

Said again: when you are eating a caloric deficit, your body will pull from both its fat shops AND existing muscle for energy.

( You can calculate your daily caloric requirements here).

The hope is that your body will mainly pull from fat stores, though depending on how you are training it will also break down muscle too. [1]

I make this point for a reason: your goal in fitness shouldnt just be “weight-loss,” despite the common vernacular used.

From a body and health perspective, certainly we d prefer that your body does not break down muscle when in a calorie deficit, and instead really concentrates on utilizing fat shops instead. [2]

Who cares what the scale says, right?

If you desire to lose one pound– or half a kg– of body fat in a week (a deserving, sustainable goal for some), you would need to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories each day: either through.

The objective instead is to lower body fat while likewise keeping the muscle you have (or perhaps developing more muscle).

This is the reason why there is a large industry around “tracking body fat percentage.”.

You might be asking, “Steve, whats simpler to do? Burn more calories or take in less?”.

That results in a much better body and a healthier body.

By lowering your total fat on your body, OR increasing muscle mass, youll end up with a lower body fat portion (its just a basic ratio of fat to everything else).

Good concern.

Well discuss suggestions to keep and grow muscle while in a calorie deficit further down. In the meantime, remember you require fewer calories “in” compared to calories “out” for weight-loss to happen, from either fat stores or muscle.

Numbers will assist tell the story: though this is a gross oversimplification– lets use the widely accepted beginning point of “3,500 calories equates to approximately one pound of fat.” [3]

Consuming 500 less calories.
Burning 500 more calories.
A mix of the two.

And lower body fat portions are where “toned arms” and “6-pack abs” hang out.

Which half is much easier to affect?

Here at Nerd Fitness, we are firm believers that 80-90% of the fat loss formula boils down to diet plan (check out Rule # 4).

Have you ever seen the difference between 200 calories of broccoli and 200 calories of a bagel? WiseGEEK does a fantastic task of displaying this, so well borrow a couple of their pictures.

When it concerns keeping a caloric deficit, it truly comes down to diet.

Which brings us to our a little less easy answer on how to lose body fat:.

As Time publication controversially explained– with lots of pointed out studies– “exercise alone will not make you thin.” Its too easy to include more calories in, and needs excessive work to successfully affect “calories out.”.



Heres another idea we concentrate on: EAT MOSTLY REAL FOOD.

Meat, fish, eggs, veggies, fruits, nuts are all fantastic examples of REAL food.

Here are both halves of that equation. 500 calories equates to:.

The number of calories found in a Big Gulp of Mountain Dew.
An estimate of the calories required to run five miles.

These foods are very nutrient thick and frequently low in calories compared to their processed counterparts. Which means you get filled without overindulging.

Its significantly more time-efficient and reliable to consume 500 fewer calories than it is to burn 500 extra calories.

You require to see what you eat, and do so in a sustainable way.

200 calories of broccoli:.

200 calories of a bagel:.

Your own Nerd Fitness Coach will find you a dietary method that works for you. Discover more:.

Something you can do for the rest of your life.

Which is a respectable segue into …

Thats why REAL food is the answer to producing a sustainable calorie deficit.

We lay all of it out in our Beginners Guide to Healthy Eating. Itll offer suggestions on how to gradually produce habits that get you to a “REAL food” way of eating, consisting of correct part sizes, ideas on batch cooking, and a cameo from Winnie the Pooh.

Its a technique we work carefully with our training customers on: small nutritional changes they feel comfy making. Its how a few of them have actually had the ability to lose 50-100 pounds!

Naturally its workout.

With all of this, we recommend you to take it slow, so new habits of healthy eating ended up being permanent.

Let me describe again: what you consume will be 80% -90% of the equation to lose body fat.

The other 10-20%? Workout.

The majority of people can consume a whole bagel no problem. Plates of broccoli, with all of the fiber, are much tougher to overeat.


Lets talk about each one rapidly.

In our Beginners Guide to Building Muscle and Strength, I summarize it as follows:.

Lift heavy things.
Eat a diet based on your goals.
Rest so your body can recover.

If you desire to construct muscle, youre gon na have to consume and lift heavy things in a manner that your body has enough calories and protein to build that muscle.

This makes logical sense.

1) Lift heavy things. I will always be on Team Strength Training. Youre gon na need to raise heavy things if youre looking to develop muscle.

And once again.

When you raise an object (or your own bodyweight) adequate times, your muscles reach the point of failure. This causes your muscles to tear and breakdown.

And once again.

When your muscle restores itself following the workout, itll be bigger and stronger than before. Then you do it once again.

As long as you are consuming enough to restore your muscle, youll get stronger!

Not exactly sure where to start on a Strength Training practice? No problem! You can download our free guide Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know when you sign up with the Rebellion (our totally free community) listed below:.

Whatever you require to understand about getting strong.
Workout regimens for bodyweight AND weight training.
How to find the best gym and train properly in one.

Download our comprehensive guide.

2) Eat a diet plan based upon your objectives. Because your muscle needs to be reconstructed after workout, the calories are gon na require to come from someplace. Ill yap about proper diet plan in the next section (with a Harry Potter example), so I wont invest too much time on it here.

Just understand that consuming the right amount of foods will be a big part of getting muscle.

3) Rest. Your body reconstructs itself while you sleep, so ensure you get plenty of rest each night. Im talking 7-8+ hours. This will assist ensure your body has the time it requires to grow more powerful.

You consume a chicken parm sub with french fries and a 20-ounce soda. Your body then needs to understand where to route all those calories.

This is where the problems emerge: When you overeat calories and your body doesnt need any longer to sustain itself, it takes those additional calories and shops them as fat.

If youre strength training and only getting 6 hours of sleep a night or less, youre actually doing yourself a disservice. Go to sleep!

Now, when you consume food, your body sorts most of those calories into “Burn for Fuel.”.

Theres a number of calories your body needs every day simply existing: to keep your liver functioning, your heart pumping, your brain operating, to manage your body temperature level, and so on– it burns a good piece of calories just keeping the lights on.

Lets narrow in on our second point, “Eat a diet plan based on your objectives.” When balancing both losing body fat and getting muscle, itll end up being really essential.

To do that effectively, grab your owl, and lets chat about Hogwarts.

B. Rebuild Muscle.

Recall the “Sorting Hat:” The Sorting Hats task was to identify which of the 4 houses kids will call their home.

How to Lose Fat WHILE Gaining Muscle (The Science).

To keep things basic, it has three choices. Itll sort those calories into among three houses:.

Theres likewise “B. Rebuild as Muscle” and “C. Store as Fat,” which I dedicated entire sections to above.

To respond to the concern of losing body fat and getting muscle at the exact same time, I d like to present an analogy from the world of Harry Potter.

This is your “overall daily energy expenditure” which you can calculate for yourself in with our TDEE calculator.

A. Burn for Fuel.

Our goal is the OPPOSITE of this.

Its nearly like a traffic director: “Harry, you will go to Gryffindor! Draco, you will go to Slytherin!”.

Your body runs on a VERY comparable operation: every day it gets new calories (when you eat), and it needs to decide what to do with them!

Thats the brief gist of how to construct strength: challenge your muscles, consume well, and get some rest.


C. Store as Fat.

We want to keep the muscle we have (or grow it) while eliminating the fat!

Lets think of a circumstance where we pull all this together by strength training heavy AND lowering our calorie intake:.

You strength train routinely, and your muscles break down and require to be rebuilt.
You dont consume adequate calories to both restore muscle and fuel itself. Theres insufficient to go into the “Burn for Fuel” and “Rebuild Muscle” houses.

Does your body just closed down?

Said another way: if you have fat stores (and we all do), you do not require to be in a “calorie surplus” to reconstruct muscle. The calories stored in your fat cells function as this needed energy.

Your body has been preparing for this, by keeping any excess calories over the years in the “Store as Fat” house.


There is also evidence that muscle can even be grown while in a calorie deficit.

Indicating larger muscles with a lower belt size. [4]

Your Nerd Fitness Coach will construct you a custom-made plan to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. Find out more here!


This suggests your body can pull from “Store as Fat” to make certain all the work still gets done, including your day-to-day functions as a human and restoring the muscle you tore apart.

Lets bring this all together and develop some actionable actions to losing body fat and structure muscle at the very same time.

However, if you desire to skip all the experimentation and trial and mistake, you can have a Nerd Fitness Coach do all the heavy lifting for you (not really, youll still require to exercise).

1) Sustain a caloric deficit while consuming adequate protein. You require your body to burn more calories than you take in, and likewise offer your body with sufficient protein to rebuild its muscle.

You do not have to follow some predetermined blueprint like “low-carb.” You can develop your own diet (which is what I do). Discover everything about it right here.

Count calories: This implies discovering your total daily energy expenditure, and tracking your other calories through an app (or weighing your food).

Newbies Guide to Healthy Eating. If you desire ideas and tricks to create routines based upon REAL food, that guide will assist get you there.
” Determining the Perfect Diet for You.” I talk about the advantages of developing a Mental Model on nutrition like Intermittent Fasting, Paleo or Keto (or Paleolithic Ketogenic) to help browse all the food choices you require to make.

Remember the Sorting Hat analogy: If youre eating too much, your excess calories are being sent out to the “Store as Fat” home. We wish to pull from this home rather. Eat less than you burn regularly..

The only method to shed body fat is during a caloric deficit.

I have 3 resources for you:.

2) Strength train. If you might offer a tablet that might be recommended to every person on Earth to make them much healthier, it would look something like a strength training regular in a bottle.

Or lift truly heavy with less reps.

It is one of the very best things you can do for your body. [5]

The crucial thing: choose a technique and get begun.

Here are 3 courses forward:.

You can raise lighter weights for great deals of reps.

And actually, if youre after building muscle, youre gon na require to lift something! Either weights or your own bodyweight.

To summarize: if you train heavy and eat a caloric deficit, your body will pull from its fat stores to both fuel itself and potentially also develop muscle. This is a double whammy of AWESOME.

Start with a novice bodyweight workout.
Follow one of our 5 Beginner Strength Training Routines.
Go through our 6 Level Gym Workouts.

You need to challenge your muscles in order for them to get stronger. Now, as we talk about in our post on the appropriate variety of associates and sets, there are multiple methods to do so.

3) Prioritize protein. Beyond being in a caloric deficit and lifting weights (or yourself), eating sufficient protein is one of the key components of both losing body fat and building muscle.

Studies have revealed that participants can acquire muscle, even while in a calorie deficit, as long as they consume enough protein. [7]

You require to eat plenty of protein if you dont desire your body cannibalizing its muscles while you are in a caloric deficit. [8]

Protein is the primary nutrient for developing new tissue. [6]

Its important enough that Ill state it once again:.

When you cut out calories to create a caloric deficit, do not cut them from protein sources.

How much protein?

Consume 250g of protein if you weigh 300 pounds (136 kg).
If you weigh 250 pounds (113 kg), consume 250g of protein.
If you weigh 200 pounds (91 kg), eat 200g of protein.
If you weigh 180 pounds (82 kg), consume 180g of protein.

As we point out in our Guide to Protein, approximately 1 gram for every pound of your weight, with an upper limitation of 250 grams. This means:.

The essence: dont avoid protein. It needs to be on your plate for every single meal (well show you exactly how much in the next section).

If these generalized suggestions stress you out, and you would like to know exactly what to do, we can help!

Ill remind you of Nerd Fitness Coaching, where we help customers lose body fat, gain muscle, and level up their lives. We offer tailored and specific suggestions based upon your body and lifestyle, plus accountability and mindset modifications to help guarantee your new routines stick.

Have a Nerd Fitness Coach design you a strategy to build muscle and lose fat!


You may be believing, “Thats all well and good Steve, however whats that really look like?”.

Sustain a caloric deficit.

Remember, your eating method requires to consist of two points to lose fat while getting muscle:.

Focus on protein so you can build muscle even while in a deficit.

It appears like this!

Drawn from our Guide to Start Eating Healthy, which I actually want you to read.

The plate is composed of the following:.

1-2 servings of protein ( 1/4 of plate).
2 servings of veggies ( 1/2 of plate).
1 serving potatoes, rice, or pasta. (1/4th of plate).
1 serving of fat (size of your thumb).
1 zero calorie or low calorie beverage (water, diet plan soda, tea).

By staying with our Healthy Plate method above, youll focus on “REAL food,” which will help you keep a caloric deficit gradually.

Protein can come from any variety of sources, including:.

Meat (steak, bison, pork).
Fowl (chicken, turkey, duck).
Eggs! [10] Fish and shellfish (salmon, tuna, shrimp).
Legumes (black beans, chickpeas).

Lets develop in on protein for a minute, due to the fact that its the important piece for “constructing muscle.”.

Not a meat-eater? Read our massive plant-based guide!

If youre curious, heres just how much protein remains in a serving of food:.

A serving of protein has to do with the size and thickness of your palm.

* The 4 oz serving is for a raw piece of meat. Cooking minimizes about 25% of the weight, bringing it down to about 3 oz.

4 oz (113 g) serving of chicken has around 30 g of protein.
4 oz (113 g) serving of salmon has 23 g of protein.
4 oz (113 g) of steak has 28 g of protein..

I wish to stress that if you are raising heavy, and not getting muscle, diet plan is most likely the offender.

Most people do this by getting on the scale. This can be “Ok,” however its just going to inform part of the story.

Thats why in addition to leaping on the scale, I would also encourage you to take development images.

It indicates you are still eating too lots of calories if you are NOT losing weight. Keep your protein consumption high, and lower your fat and carb intake..

While all of the Healthy Plate above is crucial, I want you to pay additional attention to your protein consumption because we are trying to build muscle..

I discuss this thoroughly in our guide “How to Build Muscle.”.

I motivate you to read it if you are plateauing in size.

It covers ways to increase your calories for muscle gain, from eating numerous amounts of Paleo foods to drinking enough milk to make Santa Clause envious.

If you want a specialist who will tell you precisely when to consume more or less, take a look at our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program..

As I described muscle weighs more than fat, so if you are losing body fat and acquiring muscle at the exact same time, you may in fact weigh the same. Or even more!

This is the specific method I followed to lose 22 pounds and get to single-digit bodyfat percentage WHILE structure muscle:.

HOW TO TELL IF ITS ALL WORKING (Continuing to Lose Fat While Gaining Muscle).

Let your Nerd Fitness Coach compute exactly how much to eat to reach your objectives. Find out more!

Eventually, youll reach a status where there just isnt enough fat on you to help with “Rebuild Muscle.” At this stage, you can no longer stick with a caloric deficit. Youll need to flip to a slight “calorie surplus” to construct more muscle.

I cover this in higher information in our “why cant I reduce weight?” guide.

Take front and side photos in your mirror, using underwear or a swimsuit. Every week, take brand-new images, and tape-record the number on the scale under the very same situation. Two types of tracking here permit us to get the complete image.

Which implies youll have to eat more.

Its essential to track it if youre trying to improve something. This also applies of body structure.

Despite weighing more, you might potentially have a better physique.

Raise super heavy.
Consume LOTS of protein.
Decrease carbohydrate and fat consumption.

If youre having trouble making your protein consumption objectives, inspect out our Guide on Protein Supplements for some ideas and techniques to up your intake, including some incredible shake recipes.

It was my issue for years, and Ive seen it amongst numerous readers of Nerd Fitness who have problem getting muscle.

Its debatable when this will in fact occur, and we are all different. Reaching 8% body fat for guys and 16% body fat for females is an excellent place to start.

The scale often lies!

… I was thinking about comprehensive notes.

An android would be useful too.

The tips detailed above will get you began losing fat while building muscle, but if youre looking to go a bit more …

If youre not seeing wanted results, notes and record keeping can assist point us in the direction to make adjustments, usually.

You may find yourself losing some fat and gaining muscle.

Check your assumptions if things dont appear to be on track. Heres our Guide on Tracking Fitness Progress for you for more information.

If not, track each category:.

If you consume for a calorie deficit, strength train, and focus on protein, see what happens.

Data can assist inform the story.

1) If you desire detailed guidance on how to reduce weight, consume better, and get more powerful, examine out our killer 1-on-1 coaching program:.

Attempt your totally free trial right here:.

Alright, I believe that about does it for this guide.

Ill likewise send you loads of totally free guides that you can utilize to begin leveling up your life too:.

Our Coaching program modifications lives. Discover more here!

Follow our 10-level nutrition system at your own pace.
What you require to understand about weight loss and healthy consuming.
3 Simple rules we follow every day to remain on target.

# 3) Enlist in the Rebellion! We have a complimentary email newsletter that we send out twice per week, loaded with ideas and tricks to help you get healthy, get strong, and have fun doing so..

Download our dumbbell loss guide.
THE NERD FITNESS DIET: 10 Levels to Change Your Life.

# 2) If you want an exact plan for getting in shape, have a look at NF Journey. Our enjoyable habit-building app helps you exercise more frequently, eat healthier, and level up your life (actually).

Did I miss out on anything? Do you have any pointers and tricks when it pertains to shedding body fat and building muscle?

Share it with us!

– Steve,.

PS: Make sure you check out the rest of the articles in our “How to Lose Weight 101” Series!

The hope is that your body will primarily pull from fat stores, though depending on how you are training it will also break down muscle too. From a body and health standpoint, obviously we d choose that your body doesnt break down muscle when in a calorie deficit, and instead really focuses on utilizing fat stores instead. Due to the fact that your muscle needs to be restored after workout, the calories are gon na require to come from someplace. Studies have actually shown that individuals can acquire muscle, even while in a calorie deficit, as long as they consume adequate protein. If you do not desire your body cannibalizing its muscles while you are in a calorie deficit, you need to consume plenty of protein.

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