Burning fat and building muscle mass aren’t exactly goals that can go hand in hand. However, that entirely depends on where you are starting from and where you hope to finish. The answer for powerlifters, for example, will be very different to the answer of an average person simply looking to change their overall body.
Fat Loss vs. Muscle Gain
If you are an advanced exerciser looking to gain large amounts of muscle while also reducing fat, you will find achieving both these things simultaneously difficult as both of these goals conflict each other.
Simply put, building muscle requires eating more calories than you can burn. (For a little more information on what this means, click here). Losing fat requires eating fewer calories than you can burn. When you are engaging in a calorie deficit, your muscles are not getting enough fuel to maintain and grow.
But, if you are an average exerciser that wants to improve their balance of fat and muscle, it is possible to lose fat while strengthening your lean body tissue over time. If you are beginner, you are most likely going to gain the greatest benefits of simultaneously losing fat and gaining muscle.
If your goal is to achieve the right balance between fat loss and muscle gain, here are a few tips that can help you get this.
- Incorporate both cardio and strength training into your exercise routine. Cardio without strength training will compromise your muscle gains.
- Priorities your training. Despite both fat loss and gaining muscle are both your goals, you don’t need to prioritise both. If you’re a runner for example, prioritise cardio to improve your cardiovascular endurance. If you are a bodybuilder, focus on strength training for muscle growth. If you’re an average exerciser, having a balance between the two is key.
- Diet. Diet. Diet. Exercise matters, but a lot of our body goals can be achieved through the kitchen.