A question for the ages… can you lose fat and build muscle at the same time?
Now, before we get a bunch of emails about the science behind this (because trust me, you can dive deep into a rabbit hole on this stuff), we believe that you CAN with precision and consistency.
There are three methods that we utilize to achieve a fat loss/muscle gain combo that we highly recommend but the most important part of this process is consistency. You can utilize these techniques during the week but if you are going off the rails on the weekends, it will not work. Be consistent and you will begin to see your body shed fat and increased strength and size in your muscles simultaneously.
Step One: Lift Heavy
Seems straightforward enough, right? It is! But many women struggle with the idea of lifting heavy weights. The short story is that unless you are lifting heavy weights and causing micro-tears in your muscle fibers, you will not be able to build muscle effectively.
Rule of thumb for hypertrophy: Lift heavy enough weight that your last two reps are quite difficult (if not to failure). We know that hypertrophy can be achieved in a pretty wide range of reps (thank goodness, can you imagine how many reps it would take to air squat to failure?!) but our suggestion is to do a warm up set before your working sets to gauge where your weight should be. Remember, last 2 should be quite difficult.
We also recommend keeping track of the weight you lift for key exercises (squats, dead lifts, curls, presses, etc.) and increasing that weight on a progressive basis so that you are not staying stagnant.
Step Two: Make Sure You’re Eating Enough Protein
You’ve heard this before but we’ll say it again, protein is KEY to lean muscle growth. If you’re not eating adequate protein, your body will not be able to build upon those torn muscle fibers that you created in your heavy lifting sessions. This is going to be crucial, especially considering step three of the equation, you need to make sure your protein is on point.
So how much protein should you eat? Start with 1 - 1.2 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
Step Three: Eat In A (Slight) Deficit
This is where the fat loss component comes into play. There is no way to lose fat unless you’re in a caloric deficit, not in a timely fashion any way. But with that being said, you can’t be in such a large deficit for too long of a period or your body will utilize any excess energy you consume to perform normal bodily functions rather than building muscle (that comes as a lower priority to your body, understandably). AKA - You can’t build muscle on too few calories. So the key with step three is to make sure that you are, in fact, in a deficit but that it isn’t too aggressive.
Rather than focusing on calorie restriction, let’s focus on calorie moderation. We would love to help you determine the right calories and macros for you to achieve this goal via one of our programs!
Long story short, lifting heavy results in signals from the body to trigger muscle protein synthesis, the protein feeds the muscles, while the body burns fat for fuel. So go heavy AND don’t skimp on your protein!