You went to the gym with one very clear goal: to get in shape and regain the body you always had, but which disappeared in a flash when you began the sedentary life of Netflix and chocolate chip cookies. And you want to do it in the fast lane. Instead of losing extra fat and then gaining muscle, you want to skip a few steps and do it all at once. The question is: is it really scientifically possible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time? Finally, each of these goals seems to require specific, antagonistic sacrifices. And personal trainer Cori Ritchey confirms this in an article in Men’s Health:
“The biggest obstacle you have to overcome in achieving both goals is that they have very different requirements. To lose fat, you need to burn more calories than you eat. To build muscle, you need to increase your protein intake and prioritize strength training so your body can build more muscle fibers.” Or to put it another way, to lose fat you need to be in a calorie deficit, while to build muscle you generally need to be in a calorie surplus. And we say “generally” because an analysis published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal notes some exceptions.
Specifically, research conducted in 2020 revealed that it is possible to achieve both goals and thus, with very strict diet and training plans, initiate a process known in sports science as body recomposition. But they are not results that can be adhered to with absolute certainty. In the words of this specialist: “There is a problem here: all the studies compiled for the report were based on small samples of young athletes.” And most likely you are neither an athlete nor in development, which means you are forgetting the double goal and step by step step should be taken. Because it is also more effective.
As Ritchey points out, “Although it may be possible to burn fat and build muscle at the same time, aiming for these goals may result in a slower rate of change” than aiming for one goal at a time. Specifically, it is best to focus on building strength and muscle, as this meets one of your needs while increasing your metabolism, which means you prepare the body for the recovery period and subsequent fat loss. If you start with the latter, it will be much easier. Your body requires much more energy to maintain muscle tissue. Rushing is almost never a good thing. Your body needs time.