How to build muscle and lose fat at the same time

All of us who are overweight and understrong have to address the same question: should I focus first on building muscle, or shall I first focus on reducing fat? After all – the summer comes along quickly, and we need results by then. But what if we had an eating strategy that would build muscle and consume fat at the same time?

The opinions on this topic are varied. Some say it is impossible – those are mainly proponents of the traditional “Calories-In/Calories-Out” (“CICO”) view of nutrition who state that either you eat more than you need and then you build muscle (and some fat), or you eat less than you need and then you burn fat (and some muscle).

There is however a different paradigm in weight-loss/muscle-building land, which is what I want to call the “Its the Insulin, stupid!” (“ITIS”) school of though, and where I’d put amongst others the proponents of the Atkins, GI, Southbeach, Zone, Paleo/Primal diet.

Whilst impossible for CICO’s, it seems to me that in the ITIS world squaring the circle is indeed possible: just eat very few (if any) carbs, enough protein, and loads of fat (or loads of protein and enough of fat if you are of the Atkins school).

I think I might give it a go in my next powerlifting cycle, with the following parameters (at ca 100kg bodyweight)

  • 150-250g proteins (100g absolute minimum) [UPDATE: someone somewhere floated numbers as big as 400g]
  • 50-100g carbs (150g absolute maximum)
  • overall 4000-6000 calories per day, the balance being provided by fat

I will also experiment with the timing of the carbs, ie I will see if it makes a difference if I am eating them in the 30min window after a workout.

Any views / experiences / sources with this?


UPDATE: stumbled across this article on exactly this topic. The gist here is to cycle the insulin during the day as you need it to build muscle. So do your post-workout shake, and do maybe one more carbs meal, and do no carbs the rest of the day.

3 thoughts on “How to build muscle and lose fat at the same time

  1. I think that diets should combine a lot of these eating lifestyles together. I believe in the calories in vs calories out but I also think that eating clean (unprocessed foods) and getting enough protein and where you place your carbs makes a difference. For example, cutting your carbs at night, why do you need them for energy, you’re just going to sleep. Consuming carbs within 30/45 min post workout (much more effective practice) vs waiting til dinner or lunch. And, seriously?…….4000-6000 cal/day, wow lucky you!

  2. lucky, donno. if you follow the powerlifters though this is what they say. rippetoe had a pretty funny blog post on it recently – his point was essentially “if you want to get strong then eating is a sport – if you think eating that much is easy / pleasure, then you are eating too little” (I am paraphrasing from memory here). gotta see how it goes

  3. Pingback: Serious Weight Training & Nutrition Question... | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page

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