Losing Fat While Gaining Muscle

Is It Possible To Be Losing Fat While Gaining Muscle?

In the over 20 years that I’ve been an Austin personal trainer, there has been many a time when prospective clients have approached me saying how they want to add muscle while losing fat. Losing fat while gaining muscle is a very common desire, as men may want to lose a little off the midsection while getting bigger, more muscular pectorals, and women, for their part, often wish to lose a little fat off their hips, while adding a little muscle tone to their arms and shoulders. This can be a very tall order to do simultaneously since you’re having to diet for one goal, and seemingly diet differently to achieve the other. That obviously isn’t a realistic prospective. Consider also, that to build muscle, we have to incorporate anaerobic exercises while to lose weight, we must focus on doing more aerobic exercises, which rely primarily on air and body fat stores for fuel, as opposed to creatine, etc.

If we look at competitive bodybuilding, on any level from the most amateur, to the stage of the Mr. Olympia competition, we see contestants that are not only muscular, but very lean as well. Naturally, the higher the level of the competition, the higher the level of competitors, and thus, this ratio of body fat and muscle will be all the more visible, even to the less discerning eye. How do they achieve all that muscle while burning off fat stores which enable us to see the muscles, including all of the striations there within?

In the past, the off season, as it’s known, wasn’t about losing fat while gaining muscle. It was devoted to eating vast quantities of food with a slightly smaller emphasis on the caloric makeup of the food. It was all about getting a lot of calories into the body and exercising fiercely in order to build muscle mass. Obviously, in advanced level competitions, drugs such as steroids, human growth hormone, and the like, play a big role in the gaining of muscle tissue, but the fundamentals must be in place, or drugs or no drugs, you won’t be getting bigger muscles. If you want to get big, you have to eat big.

As the off season wound down, these same bodybuilders who were bulking up with vast quantities of food and heaving exorbitant poundages in the gym for hours on end, would have to consider how to burn off the fat while maintaining as much muscle tissue as possible. Considering that when we diet in the traditional sense and lose a pound, excluding water weight, 2/3 of that pound will be comprised of body fat. That means that 1/3 of each pound we lose through traditional dieting, will be comprised of muscle tissue. This was deemed a necessary evil and an unfortunate, but unavoidable consequence of dieting thus making the prospect of losing fat while gaining muscle seem rather difficult, at best.

For decades, people have been scratching their heads trying to figure out how to lose fat while simultaneously not only retaining as much muscle as possible, but going so far as to try to put on additional muscle mass whilst losing fat. There are seemingly a million supplement companies advertising in all of the muscle and fitness type of magazines that have made many boastful, yet completely merit less, and fraudulent claims that their product can do just that. Wonder drugs and potions aside, the prospects seemed rather bleak, at best.

What if, you took a group of 40 young and overweight young men and put them through rigorous exercise, both aerobic and anaerobic? That’s exactly what a study up in Ontario, Canada just recently did. This isn’t any new thought pattern or approach, as we see this playing out all the time in gyms all across the land. What was unique, however, was that the group of 40 was split into 2 groups of 20. While they performed identical exercise routines side by side each other, their diets were markedly different. For starters, each participant was deprived of 40% of the calories required to maintain their current body weights. Still nothing groundbreaking here, as a caloric deficit is obviously needed in order to lose weight. The point that yielded interesting results was the how these diets of the 2 groups were comprised. The first group had their daily calories made up of 15% protein, 50% carbohydrates, and 35% fats. The other group had the same ratio of carbohydrates as the first group, but their fat and protein intake levels were switched so that they were receiving 35% of their daily calories in the form of protein, and only 15% of their caloric intake was comprised of fats.

The study played out over the course of 6 weeks, and both groups, not surprisingly, lost weight. What did raise the eyebrows of the scientists, however, was that while the group who consumed more protein lost the same amount of weight as the other group, they also managed to put on an average of 1 to 2 pounds of muscle per person. They actually were losing fat while gaining muscle. This obviously points to the merits of a reduced fat and higher protein diet for those looking to drop some fat and add some muscle tone. While this study certainly has promising results, it needs to be duplicated several more times, as any scientific study does in order to ensure consistent and quantifiable results.

The individual genetics of the participants must be considered as well. There are 3 distinct body types that we recognize, and variations and combinations of them as well. That all plays into the role genetics would have played in the results that were gathered. While it has long been known how protein is necessary for the addition of muscle tissue, how much protein per person is what is the missing variable in this equation as is how much fat per person as well. Naturally, the type of carbohydrates are needing to be consistent and uniform throughout the participants to ensure a quality and lasting energy source. Since this study was not measuring water weight loss, which is very easily manipulated by carbohydrate intake levels as well as water intake levels, it makes a very good initial argument that a strict, yet balanced approach, with a little more emphasis on quality proteins, may just be the answer. While this approach won’t have you standing center stage during the Mr. Olympia competition, it is definitely as step in the right direction.

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Losing Fat While Gaining Muscle
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Losing Fat While Gaining Muscle
Losing fat while gaining muscle is a very hard thing to do, but Austin personal trainer Andy Bruchey explains how to go about it.
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Andy Bruchey- Complete Fitness Design
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Complete Fitness Design
Complete Fitness Design
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin, TX 78748

About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270