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Is this a good approach to fat loss and muscle gain simultaneously?

Each day is 45min-1 hour of hard weight training- 4-5x a week
30-40 minutes of cardio- 4-5x a week
calories: I’m 160 pounds. eat 2100, workout burns 550-650 caloires.
this is for fat loss.

On non workout days I increase calories to about 3000 for rebuilding a bulking up the muscle.

good approach or bad? I’ve had seen some muscle gain, but fat percentage is same.

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2 Responses to “Is this a good approach to fat loss and muscle gain simultaneously?”

  1. luciditymaster said :

    Let’s find out.

    30-40 minutes or cardio. I’ll assuming running at a 9 min/mile clip so thats about 4 miles in a typical run, which is 500 calories for someone about 160 pounds. And hour of lifting 4-5 times per week is good for about 200-300 calories per hour so we’ll say thats 250 calories per weightlfiting session. For someone of your height BMR is probably around 1800 calories per day.

    Therefore on a typical day you’re burning about 1800 + (500 * .7) + (250 * .7) calories = 2350, and we’ll add 200 for daily general activity. So you’re typical day you’re burning 2500 or so calories. Now you eat 2100 about 4 times per week, and 3000 about 3 times per week. Weekly calories is 17400/7 = 2485 cal/day.

    As you can see you can see you’re essentially at about the break even point for calories. Consequently you won’t lose any weight because 15 calories a day is a pound of weight loss about every 230 days.

    The problem here is in you’re approach, you want to GAIN muscle and lose FAT. These two do not work together. Think about it, to gain muscle you obviously would have to gain weight, if you want another pound of muscle you need another pound of weight. To lose fat, you have to lose weight, 1 pound of fat loss is a body weight change of 1 pound.

    You might be tempted to say “okay, whats the problem, I’ll lose a pound of fat and gain a pound of muscle, this keeps my body at the break even point of my caloric intake.”

    Unfortunately this is not how it works. To build muscle you NEED a caloric surplus. Think of it this way, you have to lay down new protein in the myofibrils of the muscle to increase their size making muscle bigger. If you have a caloric deficit, where are those calories coming from, you’re body has to take every available but of energy and put it towards it BMR to perform your neccesary body functions, nothing is left over to build muscle. What’s worse, lean muscle is easier to break down than fat, so the first thing the body tries to break down when you’re in a caloire deficit is muscle. This is why you weight training while dieting, you’re body goes to break down muscle, but because of the weight training the body then holds on to the muscle because it says “hey wait, we need this”.

    For similar reasons you can’t lose fat on a caloric surplus. The only way fat is lost is when the body uses it up for energy. Well, fat is the longest and most difficult macronutrient to break down, so if you’re giving the body all the calories it needs in the form of pre-digested carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, it isn’t going to go to the adipocytes and start using the fat stored in them.

    It’s best to concentrate on one or the either. Either cut down all the fat you want with dieting (while working out to prevent lean muscle loss), and then start building back up with a 250-500 calorie/day surplus. Or start with that surplus, build more muscle, and then cut it all back down and get lean. Thats the typical weight trainging cycle. Bulk (gain a bunch of muscle and some fat), then cut (lose that gained fat while preserving as much muscle as possible), then repeat.

    Training in that middle zone won’t do much of either for you. You certainly won’t lose weight and its not conductive to muscle building. You might gain strength and increase your glycogen stores (more glycogen adds weight, as does the water that is stored with glycogen) but you won’t be gaining muscle.

  2. Thong said :


    Speaking from my experience, you should focus on either fat loss or muscle gain at a given time because they’re at opposite ends on the calorie scale. If you want to lose fat, you need a calorie deficit so that the body will start burning its fat storage. On the other hand, if you want to build muscle, you need a calorie surplus. The best approach in my opinion is to go on cycles, for example, 3-month bulking phase then 1- month cutting phase and so on.

    Don’t try to be a jack of all trades. Just so you know, competitive bodybuilders follow this approach. They focus on bulking most of the time and only enter cutting phase about 2 months or so before contest. These folks have the greatest physiques in the world so it’d be wise to model them.

    Some people will tell you that you can burn fat and build muscle at the same time and I agree with them, though I’m never an advocate. Yes, you can do both but my bet is that you’ll achieve more of one thing than the other. In your case here, it seems that you’re doing better at muscle gain than fat loss because your fat percentage is the same. In fact, you’re gaining fat because you’re gaining weight (muscle gain) but fat percentage stays the same, got my point?

    My advice is you keep the calorie numbers (in and out) as is as you’re gaining muscle, that’s a good sign. Besides, you should restructure your calorie consumption and shift to a high-protein, moderate-carb and low-fat nutrition plan (I don’t know what you’re eating right now, so if you’re already doing that, great). The ratio should be 40% energy from protein, 40% from carb and 20% from fat.

    Try this and track your result, see if your fat percentage goes down. If it doesn’t, continue making changes until you find what works best for your specific needs. Wish you the best of luck!

    There’s a lot more about fat loss and muscle building that can’t be said in just a few words. If you want to learn more how to get in top shape, check out my site here:


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