Can you cut fat and gain muscle at the same time? Shredding fat and gaining muscle at the same time can challenge you and is achievable. We are going to talk about this question that is common among people striving to achieve fitness goals. But, unfortunately, people rarely understand the science behind gaining muscles while cutting fat, making it difficult for them to achieve their goals.
How does it work?
Losing fat and gaining muscles simultaneously means you will use your stored fat for energy and add muscle mass to your body at the same time. This is because the mechanism behind weight loss relies on a calorie deficit.
A calorie deficit means you are eating fewer calories while using more calories to perform activities. When you do it, your body burns your fat for energy, and you lose weight. But when you are trying to gain muscle mass, your body needs calories to build new muscles and repair old muscles. So the real question is how can we combine these procedures at the same time. It seems quite impossible, but science says it is possible. So at first, we will discuss the procedures of losing fat and gaining muscle separately.
To lose fat earlier, we go for calorie deficit and exercise because we want our body to break down the fat stored in our body. So what makes it difficult to gain muscles is that our body uses stored fat and muscle for energy when we are in a calorie deficit. Our body can convert muscle to energy, just like it can convert protein to energy. Human muscle and animal muscle are both made of protein. Thus, protein and muscle are the same things. So I made this point to clear out when focusing on weight loss, we have to focus on calories and macros because they will determine what percentage of fat and muscle we burn.
To gain muscles, we need to lift heavy, and to lift heavy, we need energy. There are two primary sources of energy: carbs and fats. But these two nutrients can accumulate in our body if not used properly by physical activity. Fat does an excellent job of hiding muscles. The one chief ingredient to build muscles is protein. Our protein intake should be adequate to repair muscle damage and to build new muscles.
The Best Approach
We have discussed the procedures, and now it’s time to move towards the real question, “How we can make it possible.”
Eating fewer calories and more protein:
According to evidence-based studies, it is possible to gain muscles on a calories deficit. But to do this, you need to consume fewer calories to burn fat and eat more protein to prevent muscle loss and build new muscles. Therefore, while fat loss requires a calorie reduction, muscle gain requires a protein increase. It is possible to reduce your protein intake while decreasing your calories consumption. To do this, you must reduce your carbohydrate and fat consumption more than you increase your protein consumption. Any protein your body does not use to build with will be converted to energy.
If your diet does not match your energy consumption and protein needs properly, you will not reach your goals. So count calories, and eat the right percentage of macros that go with your goals. Also, drink plenty of water so you can stay hydrated but especially during workouts.
Get adequate rest and sleep:
Our body needs proper rest and sleep to repair and build its muscles, ensuring you are getting an adequate amount of sleep each night. We recommend getting 7-9 hours of sleep to help your body take the time needed to get build muscles, burn fat, and get stronger.
Written by: Talha Ahmad RDN