How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle at the Same Time: There are many reasons to exercise, including improving your health, burning fat, gaining muscle and just feeling good.
Many of us have multiple goals at once, and fortunately many of them work together logically. However, fat loss and muscle mass gain appear to be somewhat contradictory.
When you try to lose weight, you try to gain some mass in the body; when you gain muscle, you try to do the opposite and build your body. So it makes sense to think, can you add muscle mass at the same time? The answer is surprisingly yes.
By practicing both goals at the same time, you can actually maximize your results – many of the same exercises that are good for burning fat are also good for strengthening muscles. And it’s a domino effect: when you have more muscle, your body needs more energy to rest (that is, it burns more calories when you’re not exercising).
But completing fat loss and muscle growth in one run requires a strategic approach. Here’s why: If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take.
But when you control your calories, your body needs to draw on your body’s existing energy reserves – fat, carbohydrates and even protein – to work. As a result, you lose fat, but unfortunately also muscle mass.
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In fact, up to 25 percent of the weight you lose from a low-calorie diet is in the form of rapidly building muscle, says Michaela Devries-Aboud, Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. to SEBE.
However, many studies and experts claim that losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is possible. “It’s hard, but it’s possible,” said SELF Stephen Ball, Ph.D., an associate professor of nutritional science and physiology exercises at the University of Missouri. To achieve both goals at the same time, you need to focus on two main issues: protein and weight.
How to lose fat while gaining muscle
Let’s talk about reducing calories first. If you are trying to reduce calories to lose weight, there are a few things you need to know to make it safe.To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit – that is, you need to eat fewer calories than how much energy you burn at rest and exercising.
But this is if you want to lose weight. If you are trying to lose weight and gain muscle, your weight gain may not go up – or even up! – Even if your body changes drastically. In fact, you may find that you look worse or worse, even if you haven’t lost weight. It’s just that you’re gaining weight and losing fat.
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We do not suggest that you should reduce calories, but if this is something you want to do, then you need to keep a few things in mind. First, once you limit yourself, you simply sabotage your efforts.
Excessive calorie control will leave you with limited energy to complete your workout and will ultimately slow down your metabolism. “Serious calorie changes force your body to pay metabolically to maintain your initial body weight.”
Therefore, your body reduces the amount of energy burned to store calories. and weight loss prevention, ”said Kristen F. Gradney, RDN, director of nutritional and metabolic services at the Virgin Mary Regional Medical Center and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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In addition, saving calories – especially protein – will leave your muscles with nothing to nourish after training. “Resistance exercise is generally considered anabolic, which means it can damage muscles,” Gradney told SELF. “If you don’t burn enough calories and egg whites, muscles can become irreversible and regenerate well.”
You don’t have to count calories to achieve your body composition goals. Many women find that eating thoughtfully and choosing rich and nutritious foods can reduce calories without keeping every bite in check. And if you have an eating disorder in the past, always talk to a specialist before changing your eating habits.
However, if you want to track your calories, here are some general tips. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines and it is likely that your specific caloric requirements may be lower or higher than these formulas say.
To find out how many calories you need each day to lose weight safely, you must first know how many calories you need to maintain your current weight.
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You can do this by finding out your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of calories your body burns at rest. There are several useful formulas for getting a rough estimate, but it is difficult to get a specific and accurate number if you do not have a test with your doctor (here are some formulas that you can try if you want).
The easiest way to get an average estimate of how many calories you need to maintain your current weight is to use this convenient US Department of Agriculture interactive calculator, which takes into account your estimated BMR and activity level.
Once you find your average daily calorie requirement, count no more than 300 calories, says Liz Applegate, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of California, Davis, speaks of SEBE. “Let’s say you need 2,000 calories,” Applegate said. “If I prescribe 1700, you can lose weight and you can create lean mass.”
Because this calculation is only an estimate, you can record your diet for a few days (try a free app like MyFitnessPal) to see how often you eat and adjust your diet as needed. “It’s important to listen to your body and diet when you experience physical signs of hunger,” says Gradney.
Because you have so few calories to keep your body healthy, you want to make the most of your money by choosing foods when possible. “Many foods provide calories along with many important nutrients, including protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals,” said Alissa Rumsey, MD, RD, CSCS, owner of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness, of SELF.
And remember: fat loss and muscle gain don’t require you to lose calories.
Now let’s talk about protein, the macronutrient that is responsible for building muscle.According to Devries-Aboud, our bodies are constantly building and breaking down muscle protein, the muscle component that is responsible for changing their size and shape.
Eating a high protein diet will increase muscle protein production. But over time, after eating, it slows down the process of building muscle and accelerates the breakdown. “Over the course of days, weeks and months, the relative proportions of the two processes will determine whether you gain or lose muscle, or whether muscle mass remains the same,” said Devries-Aboud.
To keep your body in muscle protein production while reducing calories, you need to adjust your protein intake. “If you cut calories below your need, your need for protein will increase,” Applegate said.
This is because some of the protein in your diet is used to cover your daily energy needs; Consuming less than is needed to meet your energy needs will ensure that you have enough left to maintain or build muscle, he added.
A recent study of 20 young men looked at whether increasing the amount of protein taken in a low-calorie diet affected body composition combined with intense exercise.
The researchers divided the subjects into two groups and accepted one group to follow a diet with a higher protein content than the other (2.4 grams per kilogram of body weight per day compared to 1.2).
Meanwhile, both groups performed a combination of resistance and high-intensity interval training six days a week. At the end of four weeks, not only were members of the higher protein group losing more body fat than those in the lower protein group, but they were also able to gain muscle even though they ate fewer calories when their body needed it.
The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. But before you go out and drink protein shakes, keep in mind: Numerous studies (such and others) have shown that a very high protein intake (up to 5.5 times the recommended daily allowance) does not work. with better results.
Instead, focus on about 20 grams of protein per meal, four times a day, says Applegate. It is important to spread it down throughout the day instead of putting it all in one meal so that your body can use it throughout the day. Research has also suggested that it can improve muscle building effects.
On strength training days, Applegate recommends having 20 to 25 grams of protein about 30 minutes after training. But if you can’t do it, don’t worry – the most important thing is to have enough protein throughout the day to build muscle. (How many hours are important is hotly debated in the nutrition world, but most dietitians recommend that you try anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours after exercise to make sure you thank yourself properly.)
Darryn Willoughby, Ph.D., director of the Laboratory for Exercise and Biochemical Nutrition and a professor at Baylor University, recommends supplementing fatty protein sources such as chicken, turkey and tilapia for the rest of the meal; fatty fish such as salmon and tuna; Dairy products; and eggs.
As an added bonus, proteins provide satiety, which, according to Willoughby, leads to feelings of satiety and decreased appetite. This is especially useful if your ultimate goal is to lose weight and have a limited number of calories.
Now let’s talk about the second part of the puzzle for weight loss / muscle gain: strength training. If you want to build muscle in addition to fat burning, you need to incorporate resistance exercises into your routine.When you lift weights, you can damage your muscle fibers, causing the muscle to call the surrounding satellite cells (the cells that are involved in muscle growth and repair). skull) to help repair or replace damaged fibers that grow in your way. muscle. In addition, strength training increases muscle protein production by up to 48 hours, says Devries-Aboud. “As long as muscle synthesis is faster than breakdown, you can build muscle,” Ball said.
If you want to see the best fat burning result from muscle growth from your strength training routine, exercise doctor Michelle Lovitt, M.A., recommends using cardio training.
During strength training, you want to increase 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate and ensure that you burn more fat instead of glycogen, the carbohydrate stored in our body. (You can still burn some glycogen, but the ratio will change, so you’ll use more fat than you would with a higher intensity workout.)
Many high-intensity workouts will bring you above your anaerobic threshold, which is about 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. And if you push more than 85 percent, the body will start replenishing most of its carbohydrates on its own.
“That’s why you burn calories, but those calories shouldn’t come from body fat,” Lovitt said. It saves fat and often makes you crave carbohydrates later in the day.
Go to the gym three or four days a week, move straight from a series of lower body or multi-joint strength exercises such as squats, which requires more energy and increases speed. to the heart (because you use multiple muscle groups at once), to exercise the upper half of the body or a single joint, such as a row sitting to reverse the heart rate. Continue to alternate multi-joint and single-joint exercises throughout the workout.
“If you do it right, you get cardio training at the same time,” Lovitt said. The key is to keep your heart rate between 60 and 85 percent of its maximum. (To find your highest heart rate, subtract your age from 220 and multiply this number by 0.17.)
Remember that these results will not come overnight. It takes time – several months, if not more – for your body to change completely, and you need to be consistent in your strength training and diet to achieve the desired results. However, some people see natural results faster than others simply because of genetics, lifestyle, or many other factors.
If you have difficulty achieving your goals, it is a good idea to work with a nutritionist and personal trainer to come up with a plan and create the one that is right for you. And always remember:
Your happiness and health are more important than what your body looks like. Make sure your goals are realistic for you, and take advantage of this process.
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