There’s an polemic in the fitness life that you are able to choose to lose overweight or you can choose to gain muscle.

You only can’t do both at the same meter.

The claim exits something like this 😛 TAGEND

To lose fatten, your body needs to be in a caloric insufficiency. This deficit allows your organization to use up pre-existing solid supermarkets. To addition muscle, your figure needs to be in a caloric surplus. This surplus provides the energy your form requires to fixing and improve large muscles.

How could one possibly do both?

Great question.

Let’s answer it.

Today we’ll discuss losing mas solid and building muscle at the exact same experience. To see if one can stiffen their region, while simultaneously constructing persuasivenes and gaining muscle.

To help on our journey, we’ll rely on science, studies, and Harry Potter references.

This is Nerd Fitness after all.

First, we’ll talk about the social sciences of losing person fat.

Second, we’ll discuss ways you improve muscle.

Then, we’ll relationship it all together with a bend and chitchat about if you can lose organization overweight while building muscle, both at the same season( spoiler notify: you totally can ).

Let’s vanish!


There is a simple answer and a a little less simple react when it is necessary to losing load.

The simple-minded ask: “consume fewer calories than you outlay or burn.” Eight statements, and one or two of those is likely to be be propelled out.

When your body necessary more calories than the amount you are eating, you are in a “caloric deficit.” Your figure doesn’t have enough calories to go around, so it’ll start breaking down parts of itself for exertion requirements.

The hope is that your mas will mainly draw from fatty accumulations, though depending on how “youre gonna have to” drilling it will also break down muscle too.[ 1 ]

Said again: when you are eating a caloric lack, your form will pull from both its fatten storages AND existing muscle for vitality.

From a physique and health position, plainly we’d prefer that your person doesn’t break down muscle when in a caloric lack, and instead really focuses on using overweight stores.[ 2 ]

I make this point for a reason: your goal in fitness shouldn’t merely be “weight loss.”

Who cares what the scale says, right? The point instead is losing overweight while at the same time retaining the muscle you have( or even improving more muscle ).

That helps lead to a better physique and a healthier torso.

This is the reason why there are such things as moving “body solid percentage.” By reducing your total obesity on your person, or increasing muscle mass, you’ll end up with a lower torso overweight percentage.

And lower body overweight percentages are where “toned arms” and “6-pack abs” hang out.

We’ll talk about tips to remember and thrive muscle while in a caloric deficiency further down. For now, remember it is necessary to fewer calories “in” compared to calories “out” for weight loss to come, from either solid supermarkets or muscle.

If you’re inquisitive about fat loss, you may be asking, “Steve, what’s easier to do? Burn more calories or devour less? ”

Good question.

Numbers will help tell the story: 3,500 calories peers approximately one pound of fatty. The committee is seven days in a week.

So, if you want to lose one pound of figure overweight in a week( a worthy, sustainable point ), you would need to create a caloric lack of 500 calories a epoch: either through expending 500 fewer calories, burning 500 more calories, or a combination of the two.

Which half is easier to affect?

Here are both halves of that equation. 500 calories equates:

The number of calories found in a Big Gulp of Mountain Dew. An approximation of the calories required to run five miles.


That’s why when it comes to maintaining a caloric deficit, it genuinely comes down to diet. It’s significantly more effective and time-efficient to devour 500 fewer calories than it comes to burn 500 additional calories.

As Time magazine controversially point out here that- with tons of cited studies- “exercise alone won’t induce you thin, ” It’s too easy to add more calories in, and requires too much work to effectively influence “calories out.”

Which wreaks us to our slightly less simple reaction on how to lose organization solid:

You need to watch what you eat, and do so in a sustainable way.

Here at Nerd Fitness, we are conglomerate adherents that 80 -9 0% of the fatty loss equation comes down to diet( check out Rule# 4 ).

Here’s another idea we focus on: EAT REAL FOOD.

Food that stretched in the ground, on a tree, rolled on the ground, swim in the sea or ran through the air.

Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, outcomes, seeds are all huge examples of REAL food.

This type of food is very nutrient dense and often low in calories compared to its processed counterparts. Which means you get filled up without overeating. Win-win-win.

Have you ever seen the difference between 200 calories of broccoli and 200 calories of a bagel? WiseGEEK does a great place of exposing this, so we’ll acquire a couple of their photos.

200 calories of broccoli 😛 TAGEND

200 calories of a bagel 😛 TAGEND

That’s why REAL food is the answer to creating a sustainable caloric deficit.

Most people can eat an part bagel no problem. Sheets of broccoli, with all of the fiber, are much tougher to overeat.

We lay it all out in our Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating. It’ll render tips on how to gradually establish garbs that get you to a “REAL food” action of ingesting. We advise to take it gradual, so new dress of healthy ingesting grown permanent, something you can do for the rest of their own lives.

Because again, what you eat will be 80% -9 0% of the equation on losing person overweight.

The other 10 -2 0 %? Exercise.

Of course it’s exercise.

Which is a pretty good segway into…


If you want to build muscle, you’re gonna is therefore necessary to elevation ponderous things and devour such that your figure has enough calories left over for muscle building.

This acquires logical gumption.

In our Beginner’s Guide to Building Muscle and Strength, I summarize it as follows 😛 TAGEND

Lift heavy things Devour a diet based on your goals Rest so your torso can rally.

Let’s chat about each one quickly.

1) Lift ponderous things. I will always be on Team Strength Training. If you’re looking to build muscle, you’re gonna is therefore necessary to elevation ponderous things.

When you face-lift an object( or your own bodyweight) enough times, your muscles contact the moment of failure. Which will cause it to tear and dislocation. When your muscle rebuilds, it’ll be bigger and stronger than before. Then you do it again. And again. And again.

As long as you are eating enough to rebuild your muscle, you’ll preserve progressing in backbone.

2) Eat a diet based on your goals. If your muscle should still be rebuilt after utilization, the calories are gonna need to come from somewhere. I’ll talk a lot about suitable diet in the next section( with a Harry Potter analogy ), so I won’t deplete too much duration on it here.

Just is recognized that eating the right nutrients will be a big part of gaining muscle.

3) Rest. Your body rehabilitates itself while you sleep. So make sure you get plenty of remainder every night. I’m talking 8-9 hours. This will help ensure your torso has the time it needs to grow stronger. If you’re strength training and only getting six hours of sleep a darknes, you’re actually doing yourself a disservice. Become to bed.

That’s the short-lived gist of how to build forte: challenge your muscles, eat well, and get some rest.

Let’s restricted in on our second point, “Eat a diet based on your goals.” It’ll become very important when balancing both losing torso solid and gaining muscle.

To do that suitably, grab your owl, and let’s chat about Hogwarts.


To answer the question of losing organization fatten and gaining muscle at the same term, I’d like to introduce an analogy from the nations of the world of Harry Potter.

Recall the “Sorting Hat.” The Sorting Hat’s job was to determine which of the four lives kids will call their home.

It’s almost like a congestion lead: “Harry, you will go to Gryffindor! Draco, you will go to Slytherin! ”

Your body operates on a VERY similar running: every day it receives brand-new calories( when you munch ), and it needs to decide what to do with them!

For example:

You gobble a chicken parm sub, with fries, and a 20 ounce soda. Your form then has to know where to route all those calories.

To retain things simple, it has three selections. It’ll sort those calories into one of three rooms:

A. Burn for Fuel.

B. Rebuild Muscle.

C. Store as Fat.

Right now, when you snack meat, your organization styles most of those calories into “Burn for Fuel.” There’s a number of calories your mas involves every day precisely existing: to keep your liver run, your nerve pumping, your intelligence operating, to adjust your body temperature, and so on- it burns a good glob of calories merely keeping the beacons on.

There’s also “B. Rebuild as Muscle” and “C. Supermarket as Fat, ” which I reserved part parts to above.

When you overeat calories and your body doesn’t motivation anymore to fuel itself, it takes those extra calories and places them as fat.

However, our goal is the OPPOSITE of this! We want to keep the muscle “were having”( or flourish it) while getting rid of the solid!

So let’s envisage a situation where we pull all this together:

You fortitude qualify regularly, and your muscles break down and need to be rebuilt. You don’t ingest enough calories to both rebuild muscle and gasoline itself. Not enough to go into the “Burn for Fuel” and “Rebuild Muscle” houses.

Does your person time shut down?


Your organization has been preparing for this, by collecting any extravagance calories over the years in the “Store as Fat” house.

This means your body will draw from “Store as Fat” to make sure all the work still gets done, including your daily affairs as a human rights and rebuilding the muscle you tore apart.

Said another way: if you have fatty places on you, you do not need to be in a “caloric surplus” to rebuild muscle. The calories stored in your fat cells act as this required vigour.

There is also proof that muscle can even be germinated while in a caloric deficiency. Meaning large muscles with a lower belt size.[ 3 ]

However, as has already been stated, you need to have reasonable overweight places on you for this to work. There needs to be something in “Store as Fat” to draw from.

If you don’t got a lot of person overweight AND you are trying to build muscle, being in a caloric deficit will most likely result in you not coming big( this is the biggest mistake I see skinny people oblige trying to bulk up– they don’t eat fairly)

Because you aren’t dining fairly, and you don’t have much in accordance with the rules of fat modesties, your torso will have trouble build muscle because there are no extra calories left over for its creation.[ 4 ]

There’s time not enough calories in the total organization to go around.

However, for the average person was seeking to do fit, this shouldn’t be an issue. Which means that most people can develop muscle and lose body fatten at the exact same era.

There are some finer details though, that we should discuss.


Let’s bring this all together and form some actionable the measures taken in order to losing body overweight and building muscle at the same time.

1) Maintain a caloric inadequacy. You need your figure to burn more calories than you deplete. Retain the Sorting Hat analogy. If you’re eating too much, your extravagance calories are being transmitted to the “Store as Fat” house. We want to pull from this house instead. So eat less than you burn. Which granted, is direction easier said than done.

I have two resources available to you. The first, to mention, is our Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating. If you demand tips-off and stunts to generate garbs based on REAL food, that navigate will be contributing got to get there.

The second is our article “Determining the Perfect Diet for You.” I talk about the benefits of creating a Mental Model on nutrition like Intermittent Fasting, Paleo or Keto( or Paleolithic Ketogenic) to cure steer all the food picks you need to make.

You don’t have to follow some predetermined blueprint like “low-carb.” You can create your own diet( which is what I do ). Learn all about it right here.

2) Strength train. If you are able sell a lozenge, that could be prescribed to every single person on Ground to represent them healthier, it would look something like a concentration exercise rehearse in a bottle. It is one of the best things you can do for your body.[ 5 ]

And truly, if you’re after construct muscle, you’re gonna need to raise something. You need to challenge your muscles in order in order to be allowed to do stronger. Now, as we discuss in our section on the correct number of reps and specifies, the committee is variou ways to go about this. You can elevate light but put in a lot of reps. Or run ponderous with fewer reps.

The important thing: select a strategy and should be going. Even if you only start with your own bodyweight. Formerly you’ve picked up the garb of concentration teaching, you can work on adjusting it to the next level.

3) Prioritize protein. Outside of being in a caloric deficit and lifting weights( or yourself ), gobbling enough protein is one of the key components of both losing person fat and construct muscle. Protein is the number 1 nutrient for creating brand-new material. So when you cut out calories to create a caloric deficit, don’t chipped them from protein generators.

Studies have shown that participates can gain muscle, even while in a caloric lack, as long as they snack enough protein.[ 6 ]

It’s important fairly that I’ll say it again: if you don’t want your torso cannibalizing it’s muscles while you are in a caloric lack, you need to eat batch of protein.[ 7 ]

How much protein? Roughly 1 gram for every pound of your weight. [8 ] Or a half gram for every kilogram you weigh, if “were living” across the pond.

The gist: don’t skip out on protein. It should be on your plateful for every meal.

If these extrapolated recommendations stress you out, and you want to know exactly what to do, we were able! We offer a 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program to assist purchasers lose organization solid, increase muscle, and level up their own lives. We can provide tailored and specific recommendations based on your figure and life-style, plus accountability and mindset changes to help ensure your new attires stick.

Want to learn if we are a good is suitable for one another? Learn more by sounding below 😛 TAGEND


We started such articles inviting a question, “can you lose weight and gain muscle at the same meter? ”

We switched “weight” to fatten loss, as a more standard purpose for health. However, I want to address the question on losing load and gaining muscle at the same time.

Can it be done?

The answer is “yes.”

Research has shown that if you have a lot of form overweight to lose, and are strong qualify, you are able to construct muscle while the scale of assessments drops.[ 9 ]

The cited study demonstrates that both torso flab and total load can descend while muscle is produce.

Don’t assume that the scale has to go up “if you il” gaining muscle.

It’s a common misconception I construe people utter: “I started backbone instruct, and the scale of assessments proceeded up. I probably gained 10 pounds of muscle and lost 5 pounds of fatty, that’s why the scale is up .”

Maybe. But maybe not. Body composition can be complicated. For sample, as this study points out, even if you are losing muscle mass during a caloric lack, you could still be maintaining or increasing your strength.[ 10 ] There could be a lot of different factors at play.

For example: it’s important are well aware that muscle length, while correlated to strong, does not exist in a 1-to-1 relationship.[ 11 ]Muscle can grow stronger without coming large. So even though they are the scale of assessments is falling because you are losing fatty and muscle, “if you il” forte practise, you could still be coming stronger.

Sigh …


Okay, okay, I hear you.

I would encourage you to follow the three gradations above to lose person solid while gaining muscle: maintain a caloric inadequacy, elevate heavy-laden, and prioritize protein.

Those three stairs will help you keep the muscle you currently have, and potentially grow more, while burning through your overweight stores.

As indicated though, this will exclusively succeed until a pitch. You’ll reach a status where there just isn’t enough fatten on you to help with “Rebuild Muscle.” At the present stage, you can no longer stay with a caloric insufficiency. You’ll need to flip-flop to “caloric surplus.”

Which means you’ll have to eat more.

It’s doubtful when this will actually pass, and we are all different. Reaching 8% mas fatty for men and 16% form solid for women could be a good rule of thumb.

Once you are that low-spirited in organization flab, and you miss more muscle, you’ll need to increase your calories. There’s no way around it. For a lean person to put one over muscle, you’ll involve enough calories to get the job done.

I talk about this extensively in our article A Beginner’s Guide to Bulking Up. It embraces ways to increase your calories for muscle addition, from chewing plentiful quantities of Paleo foods to imbibing enough milk to draw Santa Clause wary.

I encourage you to read it if you are plateauing in length.

I highlighted the fact that “if you il” face-lift heavy, and not gaining muscle, diet is likely the perpetrator. It was my problem for years, and I’ve construed it amongst countless books of Nerd Fitness who have trouble gaining muscle.

Let’s end this article by offering some gratuities to make sure everything is going according to plan.


If you’re trying to improve something, it’s important to track it. This also holds true of person composition.

Most parties do this by jump-start on the scale. This are likely to be “Ok, ” but it’s exclusively going to tell one of the purposes of the tale.

As I showed muscle weighs more than overweight, so if you are losing figure overweight and gaining muscle at the same hour, you might actually weigh the same. Or even more! Despite weighing more, you could potentially have a better physique.

That’s why in addition to leap on the scale, I would also encourage “youve got to” take some selfies.

Take front and back photos in your reflect, wearing underwear or a swimming trunks. Each week, take new photos, and record the digit on the scale of assessments under the same scenario. Two forms of tracking now allow us to get the complete picture. The proportion sometimes lies!

If you chew for a caloric inadequacy, strength set, and prioritize protein, see what happens. You may find yourself losing some fat and gaining muscle. If not, move each category.

Are you really in a caloric lack? Track your calories to identify areas. Are you promoting enough? Track your comply with never missing a exercising and whether or not your progressing in increased weight or redundancies. Are you prioritizing protein in your snacks? Track your macronutrient breakdown every time you snack.

Data can help tell the story.

…I was thinking of detailed mentions. But an android would be helpful too.

Oftentimes if you’re not verifying wanted answers , tones and record obstructing will be assisted extent us in the direction to make adjustments. Measure your expectations if things don’t appear to be on track.

I believing that about does it for me and such articles.

Did I miss anything? Do you have any tip-off and tricks when it is necessary to shedding figure fat and build muscle?

Share it with us!


PS: If you miss more personalized advice on how to lose figure fat while building muscle, I’ll again remind you of our Online Coaching Program. We work with hectic beings just like you to help implement complete life renovations. If you want to see if we are a good is suitable for each other, click right here to learn more.


All photo generators are right here.[ 12 ]

Footnotes( returns to verse)

Check out this study on exertion deficits and fatty loss and read a study on calorie lacks starting muscle loss right here and here. Here’s research studies on the important role played by lean muscle right here. Check out this interesting study on gaining muscle while in a caloric deficit. It should be noted that conference participants drank milk. We’ll touch on macronutrient breakdown being key to muscle expansion below. Here’s an interesting case study on bodybuilders trying to build muscle right here. A study on opposition learn benefits can be read here. There’s studies on protein and muscle retention right here, here, here, and here. Here’s a systematic asses on protein being crucial to muscle retention. Here’s an interesting study on protein and muscle growth. Check out this study on obese cases losing an average of 16 pounds of fatty while gaining 9.5 pounds of muscle. Muscle Evo has a great write up of it. Check out this interesting study on losing muscle sizing but not strength This is a study presenting strength independent of size. Venting Off, Jeff Albertson, Hulk Angry, On the best ways toHogwart, good dog, It’s time to eat, Muchacho Robin, Ole, jump