Building muscle and losing fat, Is it possible to do so at the same time?

It would have to the most common request we see at Genesis Nutrition Australia when we inquire as to what result clients are looking for. Body composition is what a lot of people feels represents the passion and hard work put in to achieving a lean, strong physique. The end goal it seems cannot come soon enough and often that leaves people in a position where building muscle whilst trimming the bulge is the focus of every training session. But can it be done safely and efficiently? Or is it better to focus on one or the other?

Training for Muscle Gain:

Training with muscle development in mind requires that our nutritional content will usually need to be surplus to current requirements, in other words we need to eat to grow. Taking in more protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates allows the body sufficient nutrients to recover from the intense weight training required to trigger muscle growth. Typically when growth is the main focus, with intense weight training involved, more carbohydrates are taken in to provide the energy for heavy gym sessions. This surplus of energy can sometimes lead to a little body fat gain and can certainly prevent body fat reduction if not implemented precisely.

The kind of training involved in muscle gain will typically be

  • Lower repetitions with greater weight
  • Longer rest periods between sets
  • Little to no cardio involved in training routine
  • Fewer days per week (4-5)
  • All energy expended will be focused on muscle fatigue

Training for Body Fat Reduction:

When trimming the fat is the focus of training, a general reduction of calorie intake will almost always be incorporated, in the sense that eating more calories will just require more activity to burn through the calories ingested as well as burning stored body fat. A calorie deficit is required to reduce body fat percentage and reveal the muscle beneath. When on a diet that has restricted calories, muscle gain will be very difficult to achieve, and training will also be harder due to a lack of energy during your training sessions. An athlete on reduced calories will likely feel more inclined to walk a few kilometers on a treadmill as opposed to breaking a personal best in the squat rack.

A common training routine for Body fat reduction would be

  • Lighter weights with higher reps
  • Higher intensity, short rest periods
  • Interval training and high amounts of cardio
  • More frequent training sessions, up to twice a day, six times a week
  • All activity is focused on using more energy and increased heart rate

Combination Training:

Most people want to see results, and see them in the shortest time possible, which will often see people combining training types to achieve both fat reduction and muscle gain. So while the two training plans would appear to contradict each other, it is possible, with the correct diet, training and dedication to achieve both. Most people will achieve a better result by focusing on one goal at time, however a lot of people don’t want to wait. If you are one of the people who refuse to wait, then you will need to understand it will require 24/7 attention to detail.

To gain the muscle, targeted carbs and strict timing will be required to fuel training sessions and promote recovery. For body fat reduction, again strict diet will need to be applied and weight training with an increased intensity will stimulate muscle growth and keep the heart rate elevated. Training times and frequency also should be closely monitored.

Nutrition will be critical to getting the best result when implementing a combination training routine. Before, during and after workout supplementation can be hugely beneficial, with high biologically available proteins and Branched chain amino acids reducing catabolism from grueling training and greatly improving recovery times and results.

It is important to note that this kind of training can be very taxing on the body and close attention should be paid to general health when keeping your goals in focus. A high quality multivitamin and greens mix can ensure all nutritional shortcomings are met, plenty of water should also be consumed to stay healthy and flush the body of toxins.

Another important note to make is that, with combination training, muscle gain will come slower than if you were to all out focus solely on that, and the same goes for body fat reduction.

Expected Results:

Keeping in mind that the intention is to get the best results in minimal time, it has to be considered that trying to kill two birds with one stone may not suit your situation due to the consistancy and dedication required in both your training and nutrition. Results will vary drastically between individuals depending on training regimes, diet, supplementation and sleep patterns. We recomend that unless you are an experienced athlete or avid gym goer with a solid understanding of your daily nutrient requirements that you look to involve a coach or personal trainer to ensure you do not lose any hard earned muscle while reducing your calorie intake.If you have any questions or require guidenence to the appropriate supplementation to help achieve your desired result please do not hesitate to call Genesis Nutrition Australia on 1800 4 GENESIS or by our contact page here.