So you want to lose fat and gain muscle? Almost everyone does, and burning off fat and putting on muscle size doesn’t need to be an overly complicated procedure. All it really comes down to is your diet and how you exercise. They need to be in conjunction with each other, and on-point, in order to get a well-sculpted body.
You can do one or the other and see a change in your body, but not the outcome that we are looking for. For instance, if you run a diet and just do cardio exercises, you will just be lean, and not truly built. If you lift weights but don’t pay attention to what you eat, you will bulk up in size but still have body fat. We’re looking for a combination of the two. You can still build muscle and lose fat at the same time. This article will guide you along the way to help you obtain a lean, but built physique.
How to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
These 7 steps will give you the information that you need in order to become the most aesthetic version of yourself. Follow them closely, and don’t pick and choose; all of them are important. As mentioned before, to be able to lose fat and gain muscle will require a lot of effort on your part. Be patient, and don’t take shortcuts. With that in mind, here is the list!
Reduce Bad Fats
When it comes to cutting back on your fat consumption, this mostly refers to the bad fats that you don’t want. This includes:
- Saturated Fats
These are the two main types of fat that you will want to avoid. Unfortunately, they are found in a lot of foods in modern societies. Typically they are found in processed foods such as:
- Potato chips
- Baked desserts
- Processed dinners
- Fast Food
- Butter & Margarine
This list can go on for a very long time, but this is to give you a rough idea of where saturated and trans-fats can be found. As you have probably noticed, these fats are found in the foods that people find enjoyable and comforting.
Comfort foods are meals or snacks that elevate the mood. They are often high in calories, bad fats, along with sugar and carbs . Even though they probably taste good, you should think twice about grabbing that bag of chips or going through that fast food drive-through, because it’s ruining not only your physique but your health as well. This is a necessary change and possibly the fastest way to lose fat.
On the brighter side of things, there are good fats that you will want to have in your diet to lose fat and gain muscle. The good fats are:
- mono-unsaturated fats
- poly-unsaturated fats
Luckily, many sources of good fats make great snacks. They can be a direct replacement of the junk food that you used to snack on. Here are some foods that have good fats:
- Fatty fish (salmon and tuna)
- Nuts and Seeds
- Olive and Coconut Oil
Fats are a necessary macro-nutrient for our bodies. Therefore, it shouldn’t be cut out completely. When we talk about cutting the fat, simply avoid the bad fats and include the good fats instead. Many of the bad fats are convenient comfort foods that you should avoid. It may take a bit of willpower to stay away from these, but in order to have a leaner body, it’s important to cut back on the bad fats. Your heart will thank you too. However, losing overall body fat depends on a number of factors, not just fat itself.
Manage Carb Intake
This section is similar to the previous one in that carbohydrates are an important macro-nutrient, but it will require some management as well. Carbohydrates have a role in providing energy to the body, but if we eat too many carbs, this surplus energy will be stored as body fat.
Additionally, the types of carbs you eat also matters and evaluating these in your diet might be one of the fastest ways to lose fat. There are two types of carbs:
- Simple carbohydrates
- Complex carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are what you’ll want to avoid for the most part in a lose fat gain muscle diet. They are found in:
- Sugary Sodas
- Certain fruit and vegetable juices
In regards to the last one, fruits and vegetables are good for you, but consuming the juices that are processed and manufactured should be avoided. They often contain a lot of excess sugar. Fruits and vegetables have simple carbohydrates, even if they are eaten whole, so they are the main exception. Including fruits and veggies into your diet will be beneficial and will help you lose fat and gain muscle.
Complex carbs are also good because they have dietary fiber and other vitamins and nutrients. Good sources of complex carbohydrates are:
- Whole grains
- Nuts and Seeds
When it comes to grains, you’ll want to avoid processed bread, especially ones that have refined carbohydrates. White bread can be notorious for this. This is why sticking to whole grains is important. If you absolutely must have bread, opt for whole wheat bread instead. The same goes for rice; white rice isn’t a complex carb, but wild and brown rice are . Like fats, carbs require management, but shouldn’t be completely excluded.
Consume More Protein
You can’t build a house without raw materials. Protein is the foundation for building muscle and it is important for just about any function in the body. This macro-nutrient is heavily emphasized when it comes to someone wanting to build muscle lose fat.
Other than supplementing with protein shakes, usually in whey or casein protein, you can find protein in so many different food sources. The diversity allows you to get your protein requirements without getting sick of what you are eating. Here are some food choices out there that are excellent sources of protein:
- Meats (make sure they are lean, such as grass-fed meat, or bird meat, like chicken breast, or fish)
- Seeds and Nuts
- Low-fat dairy
- Beans, lentils, and peas
While taking a protein supplement can be helpful in reaching a required protein goal, obtaining the macro-nutrient from a whole food source is usually more ideal for build muscle lose fat. You will also benefit from all of the extra nutrients from the food sources, like fiber and vitamins.
Boost Your Metabolism Through Certain Foods and Drinks
Raising your metabolism is beneficial in that it increases the number of calories burnt at any given time. This means that the calories will be burnt while you are being active and even sleeping. This results in fat loss.
There are quite a few ways you can boost your metabolism through your diet to lose fat and gain muscle. Here are some foods and drinks that can assist you:
- Tea (especially green tea)
Water itself has been shown to boost metabolism in a process called water-induced thermogenesis. In a study involving 50 overweight girls, these individuals were required to drink 500ml of water three times a day. This occurred over a course of 8 weeks .
At the end of the trial, the girls showed:
- A visible decrease in body weight
- Lowered BMI (body mass index)
- Reduced body composition scores
Besides boosting your metabolism, coffee and tea can be great pre-workouts. This is because of the stimulant, caffeine. This is found in a lot of beverages, like sodas, but these are healthier alternatives. Not only that, you will be boosting your metabolism along with having the energy to perform and have a great workout.
Pump Some Iron
In order to lose fat and gain muscle, you will have to stimulate the site first. The breaking down of muscle fibers and regrowth into a bigger muscle is known as hypertrophy. Hypertrophy can be achieved in a couple of different ways:
- Moderate weight with higher volume (anywhere from 8 to 15 reps)
- Very heavy weight with lower weight
You can’t just pick up a 5-pound dumbbell and expect a lot of growth. There needs to be enough stress on the muscle to allow it to adapt and grow. Higher volume with a moderate weight will allow you to put the muscle through stress by giving it a lot of time under tension.
Training with a heavy weight at low reps is commonly associated with trying to increase strength. However, a strong muscle is usually a big muscle. You can even do a combination of the two types of training. If you want to be very efficient, hitting big compound movements will allow you to break down multiple muscles at once.
When people talk about the best way to lose fat, cardio usually comes up first. Doing cardio before or after a lifting workout has its benefits. If you do it before, your body will be warmed up, allowing you to proceed to lift weights. It’s also a great way to close out a lifting session because if you’re fatigued from lifting weights, you might still have some gas left in the tank to do some cardio. If you want, you can even dedicate days to doing cardio exercise. Regardless of what you choose, you will burn calories. Burning calories is one of the fastest ways to lose fat.
There are plenty of options out there to keep cardio interesting for you; here are some to give you ideas:
- Walking, Running, jogging, or sprinting
- Bicycling (can be done a machine too)
- Elliptical machines
Importantly, cardio is good for the heart. That’s what the word cardio means; it’s a shortened version of cardiovascular. Your heart is a muscle too, and it deserves to be stimulated through quality exercise.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
The final step in this guide on how to lose fat and gain muscle is to get plenty of rest each night. A lot of things happen behind the scenes when you go to sleep, including :
- Regulation of hormone levels
- Reinforcement of the immune system
- Metabolic processes
- Cellular repair
Muscle recovery falls in line with cellular repair, and when you get enough sleep, you are creating an optimal environment for growth. Sleep also affects the mood; if we don’t get enough, people can get cranky, and don’t feel great overall. Related to the immune system, people who do not get enough sleep are prone to getting sick more often .
You’ll want to feel your best, because if you don’t, you may feel de-motivated to eat right and exercise consistently. Therefore, this will cut into your lose fat gain muscle goals.
Summary & Conclusion
These are 7 tips on how to lose fat and gain muscle and, in order to do this, you should follow each of these very closely. Don’t take shortcuts and you should see results.
If you want to lose fat and gain muscle, it will take work on your part to manage your calories and macro-nutrients. Thankfully, there are a lot of tools out there to assist you. To figure out your caloric expenditure, you can use a TDEE calculator and tailor it to your body type and level of physical activity. It will give you an estimate of how many calories you burn per day, and can be used to help you diet to lose fat and gain muscle.
Paying attention to what kinds of fats and carbs that you take in will be crucial in the fat-loss process, as well as the amount that you eat. Protein is the most important macro-nutrient for building muscle, and there are a lot of healthy ways to get enough to make some gains. If you want to lose fat gain muscle, macros will be key.
Diet isn’t the only thing that you need to account for though. In order to burn fat build muscle, you will have to participate in lifting weights as well as perform cardio. By lifting enough to stimulate your muscles, you will be in a good position to grow them. Cardio will help you lose fat and prevent it from reappearing.
Consistency is important when trying to get a great physique. Pay close attention to your diet to lose fat and gain muscle, and put in quality time in the gym. Don’t forget to get plenty of sleep each night either. With patience and determination, you should see a newer, more aesthetic, version of yourself.
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- University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine. (2017, January 27). Chronic sleep deprivation suppresses immune system: Study one of first conducted outside of sleep ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170127113010.htm