How do you lose fat and gain muscle? It’s a contradiction, actually because a lot of people think that to gain muscle mass, you also have to gain some fat. This does not apply to most people. Unrealistic expectations of building more muscle lead many muscle building enthusiasts to believe that they cannot gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.
The facts about muscle gain indicate that mature adults typically gain 15 pounds of muscle maximum each year. However, many people tend to gain only 5 pounds of muscle at one time. This equates to just 1.25 pounds of muscle gained each month while maintaining the same amount of body fat. To gain more muscle, you must add more calories to your diet. Eat 100 more calories each day so that in one month you have 3125 extra calories per month.
What about losing fat? You can lose fat faster than gain muscle. That is, to lose fat, you must reduce your calorie intake per day while increasing your calorie output. For the average person to lose weight, they must eat 400 fewer calories per day than they normally eat. That equates to a reduction in intake of 12,000 calories per month. The result is 1 pound lost per week, which again amounts to 52 pounds lost in one year.
Considering this equation, you will find that the increase in calories you need to gain muscle is relatively very small compared to the reduction in calories you need to lose fat. Now, what is it like to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time? It basically means that you have to eat more and eat less overall. To clear this up, you must first get rid of one particular muscle gain myth, and that is the myth that you need to eat more to gain more muscle.
To get a better picture of this effort, take a look at what your body does with the calories you consume. Twenty-five percent of your energy intake goes to the brain, while 50% of the calories your body consumes goes to activities that keep you alive, such as breathing, regulating body temperature, pumping blood, and replenishing dead cells. Another 20% of your body’s energy is allocated to your physical activities such as moving, walking, and lifting. Surprisingly, only 5% of your energy is contributed to adding muscle. As you can see from this calculation, only a small amount of the calories you eat are allocated to exercising and building muscle.
Your body has 2 main requirements to stay alive:
- Carbohydrates or Fat for Burning Energy
- Protein amino acids
If the food you eat is scarce, your body comes to the rescue through its emergency backup system. If you think you are in an extreme emergency situation, your body activates this nuclear power plant that cannibalizes your muscles. You have to stop the activation of this nuclear reactor so that it does not consume your muscles. This is how you lose fat and gain muscle:
- Take 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight. That means eating 5 to 6 equal servings of protein consumed evenly throughout the day.
- Consume only the calories you need to stop signaling your body that you are starving. Be careful not to consume too many calories or else you will put on weight. A good value for this plan is consuming 10% less of your energy use every day. In other words, a 10% reduction in calories.
- Eat proper nutrition, make every calorie count. Avoid eating processed foods. Add lots of fresh vegetables to your diet
- Cut calories from fat by 30%. Instead, eat good fats, like nuts, olives, and avocados.
- Add more whole grains to your meals, as well as low-GI carbohydrates. Avoid consuming simple carbohydrates of alcohol, sugar, and white flour. Consume a daily intake of omega 3 from salmon and flax, among other food sources.
- Be consistent when exercising vigorously. Ask a fitness trainer to design a training plan that is right for you.
- Do 30 to 40 minutes of cardio daily. Cardio aids in your effort to lose fat and build muscle.