Getting toned is one of the most common goals people have when joining the gym or when looking for a personal trainer. In general, people look to burn fat and build muscle at the same time and that’s why many people ask this question:
Can we burn fat and gain muscle at the same time?
First, you need to understand that the body doesn’t like to do two opposite things at the same time. Gaining muscle is a process that requires you to consume more calories than you burn and fat loss is a process that requires you to burn more calories than you consume.
If you want to burn fat and build muscle at the same time, you will have to go for the long way and results won’t be as drastic.
Long way to burn fat and build muscle at the same time
Here are a few points to keep in mind if you want to gain muscle mass and lose fat at the same time:
- It’s a complicated process and results will be seen in the long term.
- The training needs to be intense therefore will be a good idea to add HIIT training 4 times a week.
- Calories should be slightly below your base maintenance.
- Pre and post workout food is key. 30g protein and slow absorption carbohydrates 30 minutes before training, and 30g fast-absorbing protein with 20g-40g of high glycemic carbohydrates after training.
This way is long but the slow and progressive increase in muscle mass will make you lose more calories per day.
Burning fat while protecting muscle mass
One thing you can do is lose fat without losing muscle. Many people are so obsessed with burning fat that they are careless when it comes to training, and they overtrain or get obsessed with cardio training.
This works against you because overtraining can make you lose muscle and therefore, even if you have lost fat, you won’t look toned because you’ve lost the muscle mass you had before.
Here are some points to keep in mind to protect muscle mass when you are on a fat loss plan:
- More calories should be expended than consumed by reducing calories in the diet and increasing calorie expenditure with exercise.
- You need to eat a lot of protein, cut down on carbohydrates, and increase a few good fats
- Training with weights will allow you to lose fat while protecting muscle mass. Alternate cardio, do high-intensity intervals 3 times a week for 35 minutes (HIIT), the other 3 days do steady cardio for 45 minutes.
- You don’t need pre and post workout meals. You will only need to eat enough protein and the right amount of carbohydrates and fats and try to eat every three hours. This will control appetite, insulin and improve nutrient absorption.
Burn Fat and Gain Muscle
On another hand, if you want to completely transform your body, the best way to do it would be to split the process into phases:
First phase: fat loss. To increase muscle mass you need to be at a good fat percentage, without excess fat. If you are a man your fat should be between 10% and 13% maximum, if you are a woman your fat should be between 19% and 23%. Having the right fat percentage will help you to achieve definition with ease, also the hormonal environment is more optimal when there is no excess fat and the hormones will work in your favor.
Second phase: muscle mass gain. Once the percentages mentioned have been reached, dedicate 2-3 months to muscle fat gain.
Third phase: fat loss. After gaining muscle mass, start a 3-month fat loss phase to lose that extra fat you left in the first phase.
Now, many people are scared of building muscle because they think that as soon as they do weight training, they will look like the Hulk. This is not true. We need to understand that building muscle takes time and a lot of work. No one wakes up having big and firm muscles overnight.
Where to start? Here are the different types of training you can do so that you can build muscle bit by bit.
1. Bodyweight training
If you are a beginner and want to start building muscle but don’t know where to begin and how to use the complicated machines from the gym, bodyweight training is for you.
This is a great starting point to help build physical strength. It’s simple and practical as you only need your own body weight to do it. Some of the common exercises include push-ups, squats, planks, and lunges.
2. Free weight training
Once you dominate bodyweight training, you can start adding free weights to your workout routine. It’s flexible, practical, can be adjusted to any exercise and anyone can do it. Some common items of equipment are dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, and medicine balls.
If you train from home and don’t have any of this equipment, don’t worry you can use household objects.
3. Weight machine training
Perhaps you feel like free weights training is not working for you anymore, and you feel like you need a booster in your workout routine. Adding weight machines can help you to change your routine and will also help to build muscle faster.
Weight machines are scary and not easy. Therefore, you need to learn how to use them properly as improper use may lead to injury. Don’t hesitate to ask the trainers how to use them and invest time to learn the different techniques so that you can use weight machines safely.
Building muscle is difficult and requires a lot of work, but it’s not impossible. If you really want to transform your body, set a goal and plan your routine. Do you want to lose weight and build muscle at the same time? Or would you prefer to do it in different phases?
Don’t forget about your diet and also try different types of training, this can help to boost your workout routine.
Follow these tips and you will see amazing results in a few months.