TrainingNutritionHow to lose fat & gain muscle Written by Nicola Joyce1st March 202225th January 20235 minutes It sounds like the holy grail of fitness, but is it really possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time? On the face of it, losing fat and gaining muscle are opposing goals. You can be doing all the right things – hitting the gym often, eating healthier foods – but if you’re tracking your goals and still don’t seem to be hitting those magic numbers it can feel disheartening. There’s a lot of information out there when it comes to building muscle and losing fat fast, and it can be tough to work out the fact from the fads. Join us as we discuss how to reduce body fat through small changes to your gym routine, and how this can help you achieve a lean body mass. How to lose fat Let’s start by revisiting what you need to effectively lose fat first. Losing body fat is pretty simple (if not always easy!) and comes down to a calorie deficit. Ultimately, if you are burning more calories than you are taking in you will enter into a calorie deficit, which will result in weight loss over time. This can be achieved by: Reducing your calories “in” from food and drink Increasing your calories “out” from exercise Or ideally from a combination of the two. There’s helpful apps on the market to help you get started with working out and tracking your calorie deficit, and many of these link to smart devices so all of your activities can be tracked to help you with your fat loss journey. How to gain muscle But what about gaining muscle? Somewhat conversely, to increase muscle you actually need to be in a calorie excess, which means taking in more calories than you burn. You can do this by increasing your calories from food, or by reducing your activity levels. It’s important to note that this isn’t the only factor in gaining muscle. You should be consuming the right amount of protein so that your body can create new muscle tissue, as well as completing regular weight training to provide the necessary stimulus for muscle growth. The protein you intake should be high quality and taken at regular intervals to keep hunger pangs at bay – Our Smart Breakfast protein is the perfect way to start the day with a formula that’s high in protein but low in sugar. Smart Breakfast can help you hit your protein goals on the go in a tasty and easy to blend shake. Can you lose fat and gain muscle at the same time? This brings us to the main question: can you lose fat and gain muscle at the same time? Logic would tell us no, but many bodybuilding athletes would tell you yes! It’s a clever process which needs you to tick a lot of boxes: healthy nutrition, macronutrients, training, and rest. And the secret to all of this? Body recomposition. What does body recomposition mean? Body recomposition, or body recomp, is what happens when you lose body fat and gain muscle at the same time. This is different to just losing weight or just adding muscle tissue. Body recomposition means that you literally change the composition of your body, so it is made of less body fat and more lean muscle tissue than before. You can measure a successful body recomp by lean muscle and body fat percentages. Resistance training is more commonly referred to as weight training by gym goers, and it’s key to body recomposition. Whether you prefer free weights, resistance machine or even a functional fitness class, regular strength training that positively stresses the muscles will not only help with muscle growth but fat loss too. Resistance training has also been shown to increase Resting Metabolic Rate (1) when performed regularly. RMR is the number of calories your body will burn whilst resting, so increasing your RMR can provide a more passive way of burning calories – all through starting your weight training journey! Our top 3 tips to losing fat and gaining muscle PRIORITISE PROTEIN When looking at any diet changes, try to prioritise your protein intake keeping this at around 2.2g/kg of body weight. This will help your body access the Amino Acids it needs to repair and rebuild muscle tissue after training. A great way to hit your protein goals whilst keeping calorie intake low is by using our Diet Whey protein. Diet Whey protein powder is specially formulated to build and maintain lean muscle in a High Protein – Low Calorie blend, helping you hit your macros without sacrificing calories. TRAIN WITH INTENSITY Training intensity is really important if your goal is to build muscle and lose fat. Sticking to a programme and recording your progress is key – make sure you stick to your sets and reps, and progressively overload as your body adapts. Lifting weights should always focus on form and technique, but if you’re not increasing the load you won’t see the muscle gains and your progress will start to plateau. Don’t be afraid to mix up the tempo and keep a close eye on your rest periods to stay on track and always make sure that you are gradually building in load and volume. If you’re looking for a fat-burning performance boost, try our Burn Pre-Workout Powder. Designed to boost your energy levels whilst targeting fat loss, Burn is perfect to help get you through those heavy sessions. A SMALL CALORIE DEFICIT You can’t burn fat without a calorie deficit, but you can’t build muscle if you don’t eat enough. The best way to manage this paradox is to keep your calorie deficit small so you have enough energy to train hard and recover well. So what macros do i need to lose fat and gain muscle? The most important macronutrient to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time is protein. Keep protein between 1.8g-2.2g per 1kg body weight throughout your recomp diet. Your carbohydrates and fats are up to you. Many people will choose to keep them balanced, with a 40/40/20 split between protein, carbs, and fats. But if you know you do well on a higher carbohydrates diet, or you want to follow a high fat or keto way of eating, you can still lose fat and gain muscle. Just remember, the most important rule is to be in a consistent small calorie deficit. The second rule is eating in a way that gives you enough energy to train hard. And finally, make sure you eat a macro balance that helps you feel full. Here’s an example of a balance macro split for a 70kg person wanting to lose fat and gain muscle: Maintenance calories: 2000 kcal Body recomp diet calories: 1800 kcal Macros: Protein: 155g (2.5g per 1kg body weight) = 620 kcals Carbohydrates: 155g = 620 kcals Fats: 62g = 560 kcals What to eat to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time Focus your diet on high protein foods and healthy, natural carbohydrates that will give you plenty of energy to train. And don’t forget to eat plenty of low calorie green vegetables and leafy greens to keep your body healthy as you lose fat and gain muscle. Good sources of protein: chicken and turkey, lean red meat, fish, seafood, canned tuna, tofu, seitan, edamame beans, Greek yoghurt, skyr, whey protein, protein bars Good sources of healthy carbohydrates: oats, rice, buckwheat, couscous, potatoes, beans, lentils, root vegetables Healthy fat sources: oily fish, olive oil, nuts, seeds, peanut butter Sources: 1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11283427/ Written by Nicola Joyce Nicola is a specialist freelance copywriter for the fitness industry @thefitwriter Read Next Training The Benefits of Exercise on Brain & Mental Health Physical exercise has long been celebrated for its positive effects on physical health, but its impact on mental and brain health is equally significant and increasingly recognised. 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