How To Lose Fat And Gain Muscle At The Same Time – Forbes Health
“It's possible to gain muscle while losing fat, also known as body restructuring,” says Chavez. According to Chavez and La Felice, resistance training and protein intake are the keys to successfully retooling your body. Eating a maintenance number of calories or staying in a slight calorie deficit is also key, Chavez said.
Best protein for fat loss and muscle gain
Research shows that most adults should consume 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day and combine this dietary lifestyle with resistance training to effectively build muscle. However, this amount may vary based on an individual's age, calorie intake, and weight.
It's important to include high-quality protein sources in your diet, advises Iafelice, adding that leucine, an amino acid typically found higher in animal proteins, can help stimulate muscle growth. According to Lafelice, protein sources high in leucine include:
- dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese
For those following a plant-based lifestyle, Iafelice recommends consuming a variety of plant-based proteins, adding that plant-based protein powders, such as pea-based products, are often fortified with leucine. Plant sources of high-quality protein include:
- Legumes, such as fava beans, chickpeas, lentils, and soybeans
Consult a healthcare provider before increasing protein intake. Too much protein or a macronutrient imbalance in a person's diet may worsen the symptoms of certain diseases, such as kidney disease and diabetes.
Best workouts for fat loss and muscle gain
Chavez and Iafelice say resistance training, which increases muscle strength and endurance by exercising muscles against external resistance, is critical for both fat loss and muscle gain. Resistance training can be done by using elastic exercise bands, which are rubber elastic bands that you stretch through force, strength training machines, and weights such as barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells.
“The key is repetitive muscle fatigue,” notes Iafelice. He described muscle fatigue as the point where it was impossible to repeat. For example, when doing chest presses on a machine, if you push out the handles on the eighth rep, but you're already a third of the way out, you've reached muscle fatigue and done seven reps, says Iafelice. “[By practicing reps]you engage the greatest number of muscle fibers,” says Iafelice, explaining that this exposure stimulates muscle growth and insulin sensitivity, which promotes fat loss.
In addition to resistance training, Chavez notes that any form of activity can help with fat loss by burning calories. However, he recommends choosing an activity that won't impede recovery, since the body needs time to fully repair itself between resistance sessions. “Physical activity, in addition to resistance training and a low-calorie diet, reduces recovery,” Chavez says, meaning muscles can take five days to repair instead of the usual 72 hours.
Muscle recovery and getting enough sleep can help improve body composition, Chavez said. He recommends taking periods of rest to recover from exercise and getting seven to nine hours of sleep a day. “Rest days prevent overtraining and injury,” Chavez points out, explaining that a rest day can be a day of complete cessation of any activity, or a day in which resistance training is replaced with low-intensity cardiovascular exercise.
Intermittent fasting, which restricts eating to six to eight hours per day, may also help, Iafelice noted, but further high-quality clinical trials are needed to confirm the effectiveness of this approach. “By fasting, you go into repair mode [where] Damaged muscle fibers are recycled into fresh new muscle fibers,” he explains. “Fasting also increases insulin sensitivity, which promotes fat burning.you also [often] When creating a calorie deficit [combining intermittent fasting] With exercise,” he added.
Staying hydrated is also important, Iafelice says, especially during and after a workout. He explains, “Muscles are approximately 75 percent water, and proper hydration increases circulating blood volume, which can enhance the delivery of water and nutrients to working and recovering muscles,” he adds , the water also helps to remove waste accumulated from exercise and prevents overheating due to sweating. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends that women drink 2.7 liters (about 11 glasses) of water per day and men drink 3.7 liters (about 15 glasses) of water per day. Iafelice recommends drinking 16 ounces of water pre-workout and 16 ounces post-workout as a basis for your normal fluid intake throughout the day.
Also, patience is key when aiming to lose fat and gain muscle. Chavez says it will take longer to address both issues at the same time, rather than just focusing on building muscle or losing fat.