The topic of building muscle and burning fat is often debated among fitness enthusiasts. Can you build muscle and burn fat at the same time? This article is going to break it down and I want to offer my insight and clarify a few things relating to this. I have been a fitness model and worked in the fitness industry for over 5 years and believe I have a great amount of insight relating to this subject.
After all – part of my job description is to maximize my lean muscle gains while minimizing fat storage – so I’m always battling to build the muscle and burn the fat.
Why its difficult to Build Muscle AND Burn Fat
The concept of building muscle and burning fat at the same time is tricky. You need to have a calorie surplus to maximize lean muscle gains and initiate maximum muscle protein synthesis. This means that losing body fat becomes tricky because to lose body fat requires that you burn more calories than you are consuming.
This is why many fitness experts argue that you can’t build muscle and burn fat at the same time. The goals are actually opposing to each other. What is my take on this? Let me break it down!
Can You Build Muscle and Burn Fat?
You can’t build muscle and burn fat at the same time, but I can assure you that with precise nutrition and intense workouts you can accomplish both in the SAME DAY. Let me repeat, you can’t build muscle and burn fat literally at the same time – but with my advice you can certainly achieve this in the same day. I call this the holy grail of physique building. How do you accomplish this? Let’s take a look.
In order to achieve the desired goal of building muscle and burning fat in the same day you need to understand how low insulin and high insulin relates to building muscle and burning fat.
High insulin levels will help you initiate protein synthesis and build muscle – although keep in mind that insulin can be anabolic for both muscle and fat.
Low insulin levels are needed for optimal fat burning. Remember – we want to build muscle and burn fat, so we need to spike insulin levels post workout and keep insulin levels low the rest of the day.
When you consume fast digesting carbohydrates you spike your insulin and this creates an anabolic atmosphere in your body. Now – when it comes to building muscle and burning body fat it is truly all about timing and ratios.
For maximum muscle building you will want to consume the majority of your daily carbohydrates post workout. High glycemic carbohydrates such as dextrose, white rice, potatoes, raisins, watermelon, grapes, and cantaloupe are perfect for achieving this. Pair these carbohydrates with protein and you have the perfect storm of amino acids and insulin to build lean muscle mass.
Now – remember that pesky little goal of also burning body fat in the same day? This means that at all other times of the day you want to make sure your insulin levels are low but you have a steady supply of amino acids entering your body from protein. The best combination for “non post workout” meals is lean protein, healthy fats and fibrous veggies.
Now – we will cover macro counting in other posts, but it is vital that you don’t get carried away with your post workout insulin spiking. I would recommend that you do not consume more than 1 gram of carbs per 1 lb of bodyweight in the 2 hour post workout anabolic window. I usually have a post workout shake that has about 80 grams of dextrose and a post workout meal that has about 80 grams of carbs coming from white rice.
It’s actually not rocket science. If you want to build muscle and burn fat, it comes down to intense training and macronutrient timing. Consume the majority of your carbs post workout where the insulin can help you build lean muscle mass, and make sure the rest of your meals are low glycemic in the form of lean protein, healthy fats and veggies! That’s the magic formula to building the body of your dreams.
Let me know if you guys have tried this in the past and if you were able to build muscle and burn fat at the same.