Can I Lose Fat and Gain Muscle at the Same Time? Yes, and Here’s How

by | Oct 1, 2021 | Insights, Nutrition, Personal Training, Physical Activity, Weight Loss, Weight Training

By: Adam Pounds, EIM Owner

For many, losing fat and building muscle are top priorities when it comes to their fitness goals. They want to lose fat and get healthy while also building the lean muscle mass that will leave them looking trim and toned.

But as they get started working towards these goals, they often question which they should work towards first, or if they can do both at the same time.

Before we answer that question, it’s important to understand two things:

#1 In order for weight loss to occur, one needs to eat at a calorie deficit, which means you’ll need to burn more calories than you take in.

#2 In order to gain muscle, you’ll want to do the opposite – be in a caloric surplus. This is to allow the body to use that extra energy to build muscle mass.

When you put it like this, it might seem like the answer is no; you can’t lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Can you really lose fat and gain muscle at the same time?

If you’re looking to build muscle while also losing fat – it is possible, if done correctly.

The mindset is the first thing you’ll want to change. 

Don’t obsess about the number on the scale. Weight loss isn’t necessarily the name of the game.

It’s all about body recomposition or “getting toned.” This is the process of changing the ratio of fat mass (actual body fat) to lean mass (which includes muscles, bones, ligaments, tissues, etc in your body.)

During the recomposition process, you may lose weight, or even gain weight. As you progress, you may see changes like clothes fitting looser or body parts feeling firmer. But keep in mind, the scale does not show adequate fat loss and muscle gain since the goal is to change the ratios.

Body recomposition is a marathon, not a sprint. 

It’s not a fad diet or a quick fix; it can take a long time and a lot of dedication, but is more sustainable in the long run. Healthy fat loss and healthy muscle gain take time.

If weight loss is a part of your goal, it can still be possible, but don’t focus on losing more than 1-2 pounds per week. This ensures that when you’re gradually losing weight, you’re losing true fat instead of tearing down muscle or other healthy tissue.

How do you actually gain muscle while losing fat?

To be successful in changing your body composition, you’ll need to incorporate the following into your fitness regimen and diet.

#1 Cardiovascular exercise. This type of exercise primarily targets fat loss. This can be walking on a treadmill or outside.

#2 Resistance training. Resistance training is essential for muscle building and entails weight lifting to a point of muscle fatigue and progressively overloading the muscles.

How do you properly overload a muscle?

      • Increase the amount of weight

      • Increase the number of sets

      • Increase the number of reps

      • Decrease rest time between sets

#3 Be in a calorie deficit. For fat loss, you must burn more than you are taking in.

#4 Increase protein intake. This helps hold onto muscle. 80-90% of this journey will be focused on diet. You know what they say, “Abs are made in the kitchen,” and there’s a lot of truth to that.


Developing a Body Recomposition Plan for Women and Men

Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time doesn’t happen by accident, and that’s why creating a plan to reach your fitness goals is essential. Plan out which days you’ll focus on cardio and which days you’ll do resistance training.

Then, be mindful of the amount of calories you’re putting into your body each day and make sure you’re getting enough protein, whether you increase the amount of protein in your meals or incorporate a protein shake into your diet each day.

Figure out exactly how you’re going to meet your daily goals, stick to it, and you’ll no doubt see results.

Are you ready to embark on your own body recomposition journey?

The experts at EIM in Birmingham, AL are ready to help. We are proud to offer both semi-private and private workouts several days a week in our Mountain Brook, AL location.

Contact us today at (205) 536-6049 or online to get started on your journey today!

Skip to content