How to Gain Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time?

Gaining Muscle While Losing Body Fat? I USED to be a skeptic.

In the past… I was brainwashed to believe that muscle gains required bulking up then leaning down. Over the past 2-3 years I have changed my thinking completely.

Here are two guys on the cutting edge in thinking when it comes to muscle gain, fat loss, etc.

* Martin Berkhan – of “Lean Gains”


Martin Berkhan is a freak show when it comes to staying lean

…but I mean that in a good way.

Like me and quite a few others, he likes to use intermittent fasting as a way of staying lean year round. Martin believes that there should be minimal fat gain when adding muscle.

The title of his blog, Lean Gains, says it all… “Maximizing Muscle Gain While Minimizing Fat Gain”.

Here are some quotes from his site:

…cycling between overfeeding (training days) and slight underfeeding (rest days) is another excellent strategy to remain lean regardless of your goal. The benefits are not only physiological, but also behavioral.

My comments: I have done this in the past with success. I could certainly see the benefit of adding in some slight overfeeding especially if someone was far from their genetic potential in adding muscle.

…I’ve never been a fan of the bulk and cut approach. An approach often taken to the extreme by some of my peers, with the net result being that they only look decent during the summer months.

My comments: People who use the “bulk and cut” approach more often than not underestimate how much fat they have to lose.

This usually means they don’t get lean until summer is almost over.

* Tom Venuto – of “Burn the Fat Blog”


Tom Venuto isn’t someone I quote often, but he writes well thought-out posts over on his blog. He also has one of the best selling fitness ebooks of all-time (I think it was one of the first ebooks I ever purchased).

Here’s his strategy.

…what if most days of the week you were in a deficit for the entire day, and on some days you were in a surplus? If so, then isn’t it possible that over the course of the week, you’d have a small net gain of muscle and loss of body fat a a result of the caloric fluctuation?

My comments: Tom also suggests timing your meals around your workouts in this quote…

…it’s entirely possible that you might pass through periods of “within-day” surplus where you were in a highly anabolic state (for example, you eat the biggest, highest carb meal of the day after your workout), and you were in a deficit the rest of the day.

Isn’t it possible that you could gain a small amount of muscle during those anabolic hours, while losing fat the rest of the day? Granted it might only be grams or ounces – but what if you kept that up for a week? A month? Three months?

My comments: This is a strategy that I have seen people use with success.

So No Need to Add Fat When Gaining Muscle

Increase calorie intake around your workouts… and stay in a strong deficit the rest of the time.

This is healthier and more effective than “bulking up” and looking chubby for a large part of the year.

70 thoughts on “How to Gain Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time?”

  1. And that’s the only reason we’re in the gym, right. Just make sure that
    whatever routine you decide on that you do it on a regular basis so you can achieve
    the best results. Having a six-pack or eight-pack abdomen
    is a dream for thousands of people, which is further fortified by the screen
    shots of their favorite actors who have the perfect physique
    with muscular arms and chest.

  2. I have a question! I’m on a diet that is basically high protein, low carb, and relatively low fat. I want to lose a lot of weight–in the neighborhood of about 75 pounds (I need to lose about 50 to not be overweight). I have a bodyfat scale that shows that I have about 51 pounds of muscle. I noticed that I lost about 6 pounds of muscle from last week, despite doing everything suggested to prevent such loss. I know those scales aren’t the most accurate, but assuming they’re somewhere in the ballpark, I’m wondering if I simply have much more muscle than I need and therefore losing some is going to be inevitable.

    How many pounds of muscle do fit women generally have? Thanks!

  3. It makes sense not to combine both goals because your body will either lose weight, gain muscle, or will retain its current condition. Setting your goal means you’ll do muscle building for a week and when that period is over, you switch over to cardio workout also for a week. Focusing on one goal at a time ensure you are getting its full benefit by doing workouts accordingly.

  4. Interesting article. I think losing a small amount of fat while adding a bit of muscle is possible especially when someone is quite far from his/her genetic potential. It get tougher the closer we get to our genetic potential.

  5. Pingback: Crude Fitness « Training for muscle growth whilst losing body fat at the same time
  6. nice article! this article probably help all those who are not able to get results! I am sure that this strategy is going to clear misconceptions. perfect combination of weight loss and muscle-building routines.

  7. Going on a starvation type diet and trying to improve muscle mass will surely fail; the muscle will be metabolised as the body seeks more energy. Losing a small amount of fat and adding muscle at the same time should be no problem.

  8. Great post. I appreciate you clearing the air about this common misconception. It’s always bothered me that people think they need to eat more in order to gain muscle. It seems ironic since this usually just leads to more fat, which is obviously the opposite result! I would urge anyone interested in bulking up to visit the gym and consult a personal trainer – they will help you come up with an excercise routine that is right for you.

  9. There’s a very simple concept I normally consider when trying to get rid of fat: I must burn much more calories then I consume in order to lose fat. That is why I am sure that there is no good diet without physical exercises.

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