“How can I gain muscle and lose fat at the same time?” That’s right up there with “How do I get six pack abs” as one of the most frequently asked fitness questions of all time. The problem is, when you ask it, you get all kinds of conflicting answers – even from experts who are supposed to know these things. So what’s the deal? Is it really possible to lose fat and build muscle simultaneously?
Short answer: Yes it’s possible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.
Long answer: It’s difficult and it’s complicated. Allow me to explain….
First we have the issue of whether you really lose fat and gain muscle at the “same time.”
Well, yes, if your definition of the “same time” is say, a month or 12 weeks. But in that case, you’re probably not gaining muscle at the “same time” literally speaking, as in, right now this very moment you are reading this, or 7 days a week, 24 hours a day for months in a row.
The best explanation for what’s really happening is that you alternate between periods of caloric surplus (anabolism) and caloric deficit (catabolism) and the net result is a gain in muscle and a loss in body fat.
You see, if you stay in a calorie surplus, it’s the body’s natural tendency for body fat and lean body mass to go up together. And if you stay in a calorie deficit, it’s your body’s natural tendency for body fat and lean body mass to go down together.
There may be exceptions, but the general rule is that it is usually very difficult to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time – the mechanisms are mostly antagonistic to one another. When big increases in muscle and big decreases in fat are seen at the same time, it’s almost always the result of “unusual conditions” – I call them X factors.
The 4 X-Factors
The first X-factor is “training age” . Ever hear of “newbie gains?” The less trained your body is and the further you are from your genetic potential, the easier it is to gain muscle. The reverse is also true – an advanced bodybuilder with 20 years experience would be thrilled just to gain a few pounds of solid dry muscle in a year!
The second x factor is muscle memory. It’s easier to regain muscle you’ve lost than it is to gain new muscle in the first place (ergo, the fat out of shape semi retired bodybuilder who starts training again and blows up and gets ripped “overnight”).
The third X factor is genetics (or somatotype). Ever heard of the “genetic freak?” That’s the dude who sprouts muscle like weeds even when he’s on the “50-50 diet” (50% McDonald’s and 50% pizza)… and he never gets fat. (That dude chose the right parents!)
The fourth X factor is drugs. It would stun (or sadden) you if you knew how many people take performance and physique-enhancing drugs. I’m not just talking about pro bodybuilders, I’m talking about “Joe six pack” in the gym – not to mention those fitness models you idolize in the magazines. How did some of them get large muscle gains with concurrent fat loss? Chemicals.
I’m not a gambling man, but I’ll place a wager on this any day: I’ll bet that in 99% of the cases of large muscle gains with concurrent large fat losses, one or more of these x factors were present.
That’s not all! There are actually 5 more X factors related to your body composition and diet status (the X2 factors). I talk about those in my new program that’s going to be released on September 28th. More on that later.
So you’re not a beginner, you don’t take roids, you’re not a genetic freak and you have no muscle memory to take advantage of. Are you S.O.L? Well, I do want you to be realistic about your goals, but…
There IS a way for the average person to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Continue reading Gaining Muscle and Losing Fat At The Same Time: Is It Possible