Can I Gain Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time?
Gaining muscle while keeping fat low is the dream!
Who wouldn’t like to have their cake and eat it and look amazing all at the same time?
But first of all, we need to get this out of the way: fat cannot be converted into muscle.
It is not an ice turning into water situation. Pikachu does not evolve into Charizard, Clark Kent is not Batman, and a tofu, mushroom and pea protein patty is not a beef patty, no matter how much some may like it to be.
Fat and muscle are two different things.
While being obese is not the best thing for your health, having a body fat percentage in the low single digits isn’t either.
Fat is necessary for hormonal functions in the body.
If you’re a man or a woman, fat is absolutely essential for both testosterone production and menstruation (look it up), and these two processes are indicators of healthy humans.
Bodybuilders look great, and so do most athletes with low body fat percentage, but if you ask many of them, they’ll tell you that this isn’t a look that they maintain all year round.
The weight cuts you see athletes perform prior to their competition aren’t great for the body.
Most athletes in Weightlifting, Boxing, Powerlifting or any sport that requires weight categories train at a bodyweight higher than they compete in, because the additional fat they carry for most part of the year is crucial for healthy bodily functions, that in turn, help them build the strength they need for peak performance.
These athletes need to perform at a high level day-to-day, and they’re going to need their bodies to not screw up as much as possible. That means good sleep, good food, good sex; happy, hungry and horny.
A layer of fat during training is going to help with this— it signals a time of growth and recovery, and their bodies respond by repairing muscles torn in training and sending nutrients and chemicals to where they need them.
When competition season comes, something clicks. The beast awakens and the time of growth is over. Survival mode is on. Their fat is lost and their bodies become leaner as they shed what they don’t need in competition.
Ask any athlete what goes on here and here’s what you might hear: Nerves, Stress, Not Feeling Hungry, “Not Tonight Honey”.
Elite athletes work at an intensity that best suits their current training goals, and to the layman, the work capacity required to do that might be unthinkable.
But in order to get to that stage, that same athlete might have started with a base strength and aerobic capacity much less than they’re expressing. The gap is filled by intelligent programming, lifestyle choices and a great coach or team of coaches who catalyse that inching toward greatness.
Most of us aren’t athletes, and we deal with enough stressors in life already. Office work needs you to get into awful positions that humans weren’t made to do, and ‘parenting’ is another word for ‘superhero’.
So “can I gain muscle and lose fat at the same time” isn’t really the right question.
The question should be what is the optimal condition you need to be in to perform your day-to-day function.
Find a community and people to support those parts of your physical expression, because there are bigger things in life than “gaining muscle and losing fat simultaneously”.
When you work on the engine, the body comes free!
This article was written by John Cheah.
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