â€œHow can I gain muscle and lose fat at the same time?â€
Thatâ€™s right up there with…
- â€œHow do I get six pack absâ€
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. Those in the health and fitness industry even struggle with the answer and often contradict each other.
So whatâ€™s the deal?
Is it really possible to lose fat and build muscle simultaneously?
Short answer: Yes, you can gain muscle and lose fat at the â€œsame time.â€
Long answer: Itâ€™s difficult and itâ€™s complicated. Allow me to explainâ€¦.
First we have the issue of whether you really lose fat and gain muscle at the â€œsame time.â€
Well, yes, if your definition of the â€œsame timeâ€ is say, a month or 12 weeks. But in that case, youâ€™re probably not gaining muscle at the â€œsame timeâ€ 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 whatâ€™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, itâ€™s the bodyâ€™s natural tendency for body fat and lean body mass to go up together. And if you stay in a calorie deficit, itâ€™s your bodyâ€™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 very difficult to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time – the mechanisms are mostly antagonistic to one another. When it does happen, itâ€™s almost always the result of â€œunusual conditionsâ€ – I call them X factors.
The 4 X-Factors
The first X-factor is â€œtraining ageâ€. Ever hear of â€œnewbie gains?â€ 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. Itâ€™s easier to regain muscle youâ€™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 â€œovernightâ€).
The third X factor is genetics (or somatotype). Ever heard of the â€œgenetic freak?â€ Thatâ€™s the dude who sprouts muscle like weeds even when heâ€™s on the â€œ50-50 dietâ€ (50% McDonaldâ€™s and 50% pizza)â€¦ 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. Iâ€™m not just talking about pro bodybuilders, Iâ€™m talking about â€œJoe six packâ€ in the gym – not to mention those fitness models you idolize in the magazines. How did they get large muscle gains with concurrent fat loss? Chemicals.
Iâ€™m not a gambling man, but Iâ€™ll place a wager on this any day: Iâ€™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.
Thatâ€™s not all! There are actually 5 more X factors related to your body composition and diet status (the X2 factors). But Iâ€™ll have to talk about those later.
So youâ€™re not a beginner, you donâ€™t take roids, youâ€™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, butâ€¦
There IS a way for the average person to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.
The Secret: You have to change your â€œtemporal perspective!â€
Traditionally nutritionists and fitness pros have only looked at calorie balance in terms of 24 hour periods. At midnight, you could tally up the calories like a shopkeeper closing out his register, and if the balance were positive, youâ€™d say you were in a surplus for the day. If the balance were negative, youâ€™d say you were in a deficit for the day.
But itâ€™s entirely possible that you might pass through periods of â€œwithin-dayâ€ 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.
If you did intense weight training, and you timed your nutrient intake appropriately, Isnâ€™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?
As you pan out and look at the bigger picture, 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 isnâ€™t it possible that over the course of the week, youâ€™d have a small net gain of muscle and loss of body fat a a result of the caloric fluctuation?
These within-day and within-week phases are called microcycles and mesocycles. If you also had a primary goal with a longer term focus of several months, say 12 weeks or 16 weeks, that would be a macrocycle.
What Iâ€™ve just described is nutritional periodization. Some people call it cyclical dieting. itâ€™s where you manipulate your calories (primarily by fluctuating carbohydrate intake, hence â€œcarb cyclingâ€) in order to intentionally zig zag your way through periods of surplus and deficit and create specific hormonal responses.
The end result: muscle gain and fat loss during the same time period!
I know that someone out there is having a hissy fit because Iâ€™ve only talked about calories: deficits and surpluses. Rightfully so. Calories matter but thereâ€™s more to it than calories – most importantly, hormones and â€œnutrient partitioning.â€
If youâ€™re in a calorie deficit you are going to pull energy from your body.The question is: From WHERE? If your hormones are out of whack and youâ€™re eating crap, you could lose more muscle than fat in a deficit and gain almost pure fat, not muscle, in a surplus!
But WHAT IF you could manipulate within day energy balance, use nutritional periodization AND control your hormones with food and lifestyle strategies?
Make no mistake – concurrent muscle gain and fat loss is a difficult goal to achieve. The good news: difficult does not mean impossible. Or as George Santayana said, â€œThe difficult is that which can be done immediately, the impossible, that which takes a little longer.â€
The Holy Grail Body Transformation Program: How to Gain Muscle and Lose Fat at The Same Time
You can learn more about gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time in Tom Venuto’s new e-book called, “The Holy Grail Body Transformation System.”
Youâ€™ll learn all about nutritional periodization, cyclical dieting, hormonal manipulation, within day energy balance, nutrient partitioning, AND the all the X factors, including the 5 â€œX2-Factorsâ€ – which are the keys to gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time.
Youâ€™ll also get Tom’s new â€œTNBâ€ training system, as seen in Menâ€™s Fitness magazine (the complete, expanded version that Menâ€™s Fitness didnâ€™t have room to print).
At the moment, The Holy Grail ebook is not for sale separately.
After May 13th, 2010 at midnight PST The Holy Grail will be taken off the market for a period of time while Tom is collecting case studies and getting feedback from users, to include in the final edition – which WILL be released for sale separately later this year.
Visit the Burn The Fat website now and jump on this deal while you still can.