Many men and women focus either on losing weight or gaining muscle when trying to decide on the best workout routine. But what if we told you you could have it both, and that it doesn’t have to be that hard to lose weight and gain muscle at the same time?
You see, muscle gain actually helps you burn more calories. This, of course, helps you lose weight more easily. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body needs to expend to maintain this muscle. That energy comes in the form of calories, which we all know need to be burned if you want to shed extra pounds.
In this article, we’ll discuss the ways that you can maximize weight loss while also building muscle mass. There are several different ways that you can go about doing this, all of which we’ll discuss.
How to lose weight and gain muscle
If you’re wondering how to lose weight and build muscle, it’s important to discern what your goals are beforehand. In most of these situations, the reason that you are wondering how to do this is that you want to shed unhealthy weight (fat loss) and gain healthy weight (muscle).
If you’re hoping to gain muscle mass and lose body fat, but you don’t have any extra body fat, then that’s not really going to work. This pretty much only works for people who are carrying a lot of extra fat.
The process is pretty simple. Basically, start working out to gain muscle mass. Doing this will lead to you burning more calories, which will ultimately lead to you losing weight.
There are many different things that you can do to accelerate or improve the process, though.
One simple way is to include some extra cardiovascular exercise during your workouts. Cardiovascular exercise is that which gets your heart pumping hard for extended periods of time (usually more than 20 minutes).
While working out definitely gets your heart pumping, it’s not always for long enough to be useful for burning fat. You see, the reason that cardiovascular exercise is great for burning calories is that after your body burns through its “fast-acting energy,” its glucose stores, it has to rely on “slow-burning energy,” which is fat.
It usually takes about 20 minutes for your body to burn through glucose stores, which is why extended cardiovascular exercise is best for burning fat. Good examples of cardiovascular exercise are running, jogging, biking, swimming, boxing, etc.
However, the simple act of building muscle can actually help you lose body fat. Let’s find out how.
How building muscle can promote weight loss
People with more muscle generally have an easier time losing weight, and there are a couple of reasons for this.
Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat
Your body burns calories, even when it’s at rest. However, muscle burns a great deal more calories than fat, which means if you have more muscle mass then you’ll ultimately burn more calories even while you’re just sitting around.
In fact, 10 pounds of fat will burn about 20 calories a day, whereas 10 pounds of muscle will burn about 50 calories a day.
While this won’t make a massive difference in your overall rate of burned calories, stacking on a few extra pounds of muscle can make a noticeable change in your overall caloric count.
The best thing about this, however, is that you’ll also burn more calories when you’re at the gym. Granted, if you’re putting on more muscle, you’ll probably be inclined to eat more calories. However, if you’re able to stay at the same caloric intake, you’ll start to lose some weight!
Strength training boosts muscle growth and calorie burn
It’s important to do a mix of strength training and aerobic exercise if you are wondering how to lose fat and gain muscle. However, it’s generally recognized that strength training is more effective – especially as you grow older.
Known as the afterburn effect, this is a phenomenon in which your body continues to burn calories at an increased rate even after your workout is complete. This happens more effectively when you exercise bigger muscle groups, like the thighs, abs, and chest.
Completing a regular number of high-intensity workouts is a great way to increase your overall caloric expenditure.
Building muscle increases your metabolism
Your metabolism is involved in a number of different processes in your body, one of which is regulating the number of calories that you burn at rest and during activity. By increasing your metabolism, you can increase the number of calories that you burn.
One of the most significant ways to increase your metabolism is to increase your overall muscle mass. This means that regular strength training is a viable way to help encourage increased calorie burning around the clock.
Tips on a diet to lose weight and build muscle (male and female)
Another one of the most important things to consider if you’re hoping to lose fat and gain muscle is your diet. Diet plays a huge part in all of our daily activities, ranging from our metabolism to our ability to put on pounds of muscle.
Remember that a diet for building muscle and losing fat may be slightly different than dieting to build muscle and lose fat for women, but the tips to follow are generally the same.
These are some of the best tips.
Eat enough calories to build muscle but maintain weight loss when exercising
This is a tricky part for some people. As you know, if you want to lose body fat, you generally need to burn more calories than you consume. However, if you’re planning to gain muscle as well, you can’t just completely skip out on calories or you’ll have no energy for your muscles to grow.
One of the confusing things about this is that you might actually notice your weight increases. Unless you’re looking to reach a specific number of pounds, though, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
You see, when many people discuss losing weight, what they are really hoping to achieve is losing fat. Muscle, however, weighs more than body fat, so this means that even if you’re burning quite a bit of body fat, you could easily replace the weight with muscle weight.
In regards to losing weight and putting on muscle, you might not actually need to cut that many calories at all. This is because these calories can be useful for providing extra muscle mass, which will help you burn fat in the long-run.
Schedule your meals to fuel your workouts
One good idea is to schedule your meals to fuel your workouts. This means that you’ll want to eat highly nourishing, protein-rich meals about an hour or two before you work out.
By doing this, your body will be filled with energy right by the time you get to the gym.
Eat more protein
If you want to put on more muscle, then what you’re really going to want to do is eat more protein. Arguably just as important as counting calories, eating more protein provides your body with more muscle-building amino acids.
Our bodies are in a constant process of constructing and deconstructing muscle tissue on a cellular level. After we eat a protein-rich meal, our body focuses more on building muscle protein.
The longer it’s been since you’ve eaten protein, the more your body focuses on deconstructing muscle protein.
Protein is especially important if you’re cutting calories. It can supply the body with sustainable energy and nutrition required for building muscle.
Limit your carbs
Or rather, minimize processed and refined carbs. Our body uses carbohydrates to produce energy, and they can be very useful for bodybuilders. If you are going to keep eating carbs, eat complex carbs like those found in sweet potatoes. Avoid white pasta, bread, and processed snack foods at all costs.
Avoiding carbs completely is also an option. Diets like the keto diet encourage the near-complete restriction of carbs, causing the body to go into a state known as ketosis. During ketosis, the body burns fat instead of glucose, making it easier to lose weight.
Workouts tips on how to lose weight and build muscle
If you want to both lose weight and build muscle, then you’re going to want to follow some tips.
Focus on strength training
As mentioned above, the most important thing for anyone hoping to both lose weight and gain muscle is to focus on strength and weight training.
Strength training will help you put on extra weight, which might sound counterintuitive to your needs. However, if you’re really just wanting to shed fat while enhancing muscle gains, then strength training is your best bet.
As you put on more muscle, you’ll burn more calories while you’re at rest. This means that you’ll burn fat quicker.
Limit your cardio exercises
You can also experience a great deal of improvement by not spending too much time on cardiovascular exercise.
Cardio is great for burning fat but doesn’t do a whole lot for strength or muscle gains. If you focus too much on cardio, then you’ll lose a ton of weight but you won’t put on any muscle.
Cardio is best done as an additive to help encourage calorie burning before or after some strength training.
Additional tips and mistakes to avoid for the best results
These tips will help you maximize the efficiency of your workouts. This is great for anyone curious about how to lose weight without losing muscle.
- Shoot to lose weight slowly. This will put less strain on your body and will help keep you healthy while you’re going through these changes.
- Strength train at least 3 times weekly. This will encourage your body to remain in a higher metabolic state for extended periods of time.
- Take time to heal. There’s no sense doing strength training every day because your muscles won’t have time to heal. This is when you actually put on new muscle mass, so taking time to heal is vitally important for anyone hoping to get stronger.
- Don’t cut out fat. In hopes of losing weight and shedding fat, some people cut out fat from their diet entirely. Fat is incredibly important for a huge number of our bodily functions, it’s just important that we get the right kind of fats. Eat healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, and ghee.
- Find your calorie ‘sweet spot.’ Remember, you’re trying to gain muscle and lose weight – you’re not on a diet. This means that you need to eat enough calories to actually gain muscle! Find your sweet spot – an area that allows you to lose weight while still putting on muscle.
- Be patient. Huge changes aren’t going to happen overnight, so be patient and don’t expect too much of yourself. Give yourself a huge pat on the back for even finishing a single work!
If you’re wondering how to lose weight and build muscle, there are a few things to keep in mind. Strength training is more important than burning calories, and it’s important to eat enough protein so that you can actually put on muscle weight.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand more about how to lose weight while gaining muscle!