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Fact Check: Can You Gain Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time?

Can you gain muscle and lose fat at the same time? (Image via Pexels/Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)
Can you gain muscle and lose fat at the same time? (Image via Pexels/Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)
Shuvangi Sen Chaudhury

When you want to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, your entire diet and workout routine becomes tricky. You cannot be in a calorie deficit or a calorie surplus, as you have to choose one to be on a proper diet.

The first thing to know about muscle gain and fat loss is that you need to be on a calorie surplus to gain muscle and calorie deficit to lose fat. So, which one do you go for if you’re planning to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time?


How can you gain muscle and lose fat at the same time?

There are a few modifications you can make in your workout routine if you want to do both. However, you have to be careful to what point you’re modifying the diet and the routine. It shouldn’t end up affecting your fat loss and muscle gain negatively.

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Combine cardio with strength training

When you focus only on cardio, you may end up losing muscle as well through a process known as weight loss induced muscle loss.

However, if you focus only on strength training, it may affect your fat loss. Therefore, it’s better to combine the two to optimise the benefits of both in a balanced way.

Exercise based on your priorities

If someone wants to build only muscle, such as a bodybuilder, their primary focus will be on resistance training. However, cardio will be a small part of the entire routine. Meanwhile, a marathoner will have more cardio in their workout routine than strength training.

For someone whose goal is to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, they will have to do both equally. You cannot prioritise one over the other. If you do so, you’ll end up either gaining muscle or losing fat.

Focus on your diet

The idea for fat loss is to be on a calorie deficit. Your body will burn the stored calories for the extra energy required to go through the workout and the day.

Your body breaks down the protein to create peptides. These amino acid chains are used by the body to rebuild and repair muscle fibres to make them thicker and stronger.

Ideally, to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, you have to be on a slight calorie deficit but ensure you’re not cutting down on protein.

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Modify your recovery time between sets

The recovery time between sets determines what happens to your muscles. If you don’t provide your muscles with the required rest, it can lead to overtraining, which could cause muscle loss. Ideally, you would need to give 90 seconds of rest between sets to increase size and 60 seconds of rest between sets to improve muscle endurance.

Exercise on a regular basis

If you want to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, you need to make sure you work your muscles on a daily basis. When you exercise, the body needs more energy, which is generated by burning more calories. Additionally, resistance training helps with building muscles as the fibres grow back thicker and stronger to withstand the weight.


Tips to keep in mind when you want to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time

While you need to achieve both muscle gain and fat loss simultaneously, you need to remember some of the following tips:

Always warm up

Regardless of whether you’re doing HIIT cardio or resistance training, you need to warm up. You cannot begin any type of training without stretching the muscles and raising your heart rate. That is how you ensure you do not injure yourself.

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Keep yourself hydrated

It doesn't matter whether you feel thirsty; it’s of utmost importance that you continue to hydrate yourself. Water helps with keeping you energised and pushing through with your workout routines.


Bottom line

It’s possible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, but when you’re trying that, you shouldn’t expect to see massive changes on the weight scale. Fat loss and muscle gain balance each other, showing almost the same weight on the scale.

As long as your workout routine and diet are in place, it is possible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.


Edited by Bhargav

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