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Building Muscle And Burning Fat Simultaneously: Is It Possible?

As summer approaches we all start thinking about getting lean. So why not just reduce calories and sacrifice the muscle? Because it's possible to build muscle while simultaneously burning body fat.

A ripped, muscular physique is the goal of most, if not all bodybuilders and fitness buffs alike. As summer approaches we all start thinking about getting lean after a long fall and winter of bulking and packing on real muscular bodyweight. But in the process of all that bulking we seemed to have let our abs fade in the place of strength and mass gains. So it is time once gain to shred up, lean down and turn into a ripped piece of art we all envision ourselves to be - but for you, this time will be different.

Do you often find yourself at a crossroads regarding keeping your hard-earned mass that you so tirelessly worked towards only to see it dwindle away as you diet down? Are you a "hardgainer" that has to fight for every ounce of muscle, scared to death of reducing calories to get a more muscular midsection? More calories in equals more mass and fewer calories in equals less body fat - and it's one or the other - right?

The age-old question if is it possible to gain muscle and burn fat simultaneously has been debated for many years. There are so many opinions from experts to people in the trenches that it is very difficult to sift through to the facts. Most will tell you that you must choose between the two in order to reach optimum success and that attempting both at the same time is futile. So why not just give up, reduce calories and sacrifice the muscle for better abs and more muscular arms. Because you are better than that!

You will find a way and put into practice a concise plan of action to reach your ultimate potential. The guidelines and plan included here are designed to help you not only keep, but build muscle while simultaneously burn body fat. It can be done with a little planning, discipline and hard work.

The Right Amounts

One of the single, most imperative principles in this plan is to eat the right amounts of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats). By manipulating these foods and staying strict with the guidelines your goals will soon be in range. Diet is so important that without adhering to these principles you will surely never reach your physique goals.

Protein: As the main source for building muscle, protein is absolutely necessary for your muscle-building strategy. Take in around 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight (this equates to 180-270 grams for a 180 pound individual). This will guarantee that your muscles will be getting the correct dose of amino acids for maintaining and building muscle tissue. Some prime sources are chicken, lean steak, fish, turkey, ground meat, eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and protein powders.

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Protein

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrate is a great muscle-sparing energy source. This particular macronutrient will be drastically manipulated as the diet plan goes along and will play a major roll in its success so be extremely mindful of your intake on a daily basis. Be sure to have an intake mainly of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Sources include brown rice, wild rice, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, wheat pasta, vegetables, some fruits and Ezekiel products.

Fats: Never count out a healthy fat. Certain fats are essential regarding maintaining hormones such as testosterone, increasing fat burning and aiding energy levels. Healthy fats will be utilized to replace carbohydrate on certain days to keep blood sugar levels steady and help with satiety. Good sources include avocado, walnuts, almonds, olive oil, natural peanut butter, some egg yolks and sunflower seeds.

Light the Furnace!

Now let's look at how we can implement these macronutrients and manipulate them in such a way as to build more strength and mass while torching our fat stores. Protein levels will stay somewhat the same throughout the plan. You need that steady stream of amino acids to feed to the muscles for recuperation and repair to take place. Try out one gram per pound of bodyweight and assess your progress. If you find yourself stalling, try to up it to 1.25 or 1.5 grams per pound and then reassess. That is about as high as you will want to go with protein - the rest is up to carbohydrate and fat manipulation. Give each change in protein amount about four weeks before reassessing.

Here is the tricky part. Now you will start to manipulate carbohydrate in such a way as to trick the body into delving into its fat stores for fuel. You will have high, medium and low consumption days. You will eat low carbs for two to four days followed by medium and high days. On the low days your body will burn fat for fuel and save muscle so as long as your protein intake is high enough. Before you starve your body of energy after so many days of low carbs (which if prolonged could lead to lower testosterone levels and metabolism) you will have a day of moderate carbs and another day of high carbs.

This will shuttle in fuel to the muscle, rev back up your metabolism and be burned without storing body fat. Carbohydrate intake will be approximately .5 grams per pound of bodyweight for low days (90 grams for a 180 pounder), 1.5 grams per pound on medium days (270 grams) and 2.25 grams per pound on high days (405 grams).

Fat intake should hover around .25 grams per pound of bodyweight or 20-30% of total calories. However, on low carbohydrate days it would be wise to increase your healthy fat intake slightly. This will ensure your hormone levels will stay steady and will supply you with ample energy for your grueling workouts. On the low carb days simply increase your fat intake by 50%. Remember that one gram of fat has over twice the amount of calories of carbs, so a little goes a long way. For example, if you had half of an avocado on a salad, now on low carb days you will eat 3/4 of an avocado.

Muscle-Building Fat-Torching Diet

Low Carbohydrate Days ///

Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 3
Meal 4: Pre-Workout
Meal 5: Post Workout
Meal 6

Medium Carbohydrate Days ///

Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 3
  • Turkey

    Turkey

    with two slices of white bread
    1 tbsp of mayonnaise
  • Salad

    Salad

    with 3 tbsp of Olive Oil dressing
Meal 4: Pre-Workout
Meal 5: Post Workout
Meal 6

High Carbohydrate Days ///

Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 3
Meal 4: Pre-Workout
Meal 5: Post Workout
Meal 6

Conclusion

So there you have it. Everything you need to build muscle and burn fat simultaneously. Follow this guide and prove to yourself once and for all that it really can be done.


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mozzilee

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mozzilee

I have hit a wall on fat loss and muscle gain. Time to make an adjustment....looks like a pretty good plan!

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Jan 2, 2012 4:46pm | report
RichardAbs

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RichardAbs

Carb cycling is the way forward. I have had tons of clients shredded off carb cycling over a 10-12 week period. (Depending on starting BF levels)

Aug 30, 2013 7:35am | report
alxed14

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alxed14

Has anyone had any success on this program? It's an interesting concept but Idk if I'm convinced...

Jun 15, 2012 12:16pm | report
RichardAbs

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RichardAbs

Carb cycling is the way forward.

I have had tons of clients shredded off carb cycling over a 10-12 week period. (Depending on starting BF levels)

It has also got myself to my current 3.5% BF 3 weeks out from show.

Aug 30, 2013 7:36am | report
Shenanigans4U

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Shenanigans4U

I'm doing this starting today. Though it will be awhile before I post again to comment on whether or not the carb cycling is working for me. My meal rotation is tweaked a bit to work around my job schedule. Lets see how this goes.

Jul 1, 2012 9:45pm | report
Shreav

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Shreav

Hey mate, did this work for you?

Jan 10, 2013 7:49pm | report
run87

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run87

How long should this be done? And do you repeat the meals?

Jul 10, 2012 6:44pm | report
RichardAbs

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RichardAbs

Carb cycling can be done for as long as you like. You are not restricting your body from anything it really needs to function, recover and grow.

You will feel great while carb cycling trust me.

Aug 30, 2013 7:37am | report
run87

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run87

How long should this be done? And do you repeat the meals?

Jul 10, 2012 6:45pm | report
Buffasian95

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Buffasian95

Such a helpful article! My diet maily consists of chicken breast and brown rice. I would highly recommend couscous for those who want little fat! It tastes great with chicken

Sep 30, 2012 12:38am | report
RichardAbs

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RichardAbs

DO NOT neglect fat intake. Fat is vital for hormone production and testosterone. Something very important to us guys looking to pack on mass and get shredded.

It will seem strange just how much you can eat while carb cycling and becoming leaner.

Aug 30, 2013 7:39am | report
TeddyK84

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TeddyK84

Awesome article. My whole diet and workout plan revolves around gaining solid muscle weight. I never tried the bulking method because I don't want to lose my abs. I've been experimenting with how I eat and wasn't sure if it made sense...even though I do see results. 30 mintues on the stairmill after every weight session helps me out as well.

Nov 6, 2012 11:11am | report
RichardAbs

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RichardAbs

Putting on mass is always a mind boggle when your constantly trying to hold onto your abs but the beauty of carb cycling is that you are not going to completely lose your abs simply because the food intake is all fresh natural foods. (No Junk) so your body processes the macro-nutrients to work with the body, not against it.

Aug 30, 2013 7:42am | report
omerfarukGRF

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omerfarukGRF

the whole 6 small meals... it 'aint for me FOR SURE! And after a while, the fatburning activity with just a caloric dificit, will stop, like so many people have experienced. Then you really need to think outside the box and try other methods. Me... I'M starting to GET RIPPED OUTTA MA MIND! For sure!

Nov 29, 2012 7:31am | report
deolpride

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deolpride

great help ,thx

Feb 6, 2013 10:29am | report
llmc

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llmc

Do they have a "small woman" version of this diet? I'm looking at the breakfasts, i.e 3 eggs and 4 egg whites etc..I'm going to be so full I won't even be able to walk after I eat all that food lol! Well, I'll tweak it somehow to make it work for me.

Feb 24, 2013 1:37am | report
pelzl1973

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pelzl1973

Ive cut it down to 4 meals plus a post work out, and omitted the 3 egg from the 3 eggs 4 whites...etc

Mar 23, 2013 7:58pm | report
Spottydog

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Spottydog

Calculate the macros in the article... adjust to fit those :)

May 31, 2013 6:12am | report
pelzl1973

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pelzl1973

Question-looks great and im all in for trying buy how to situate the meals when working out first thing in the day?

Mar 23, 2013 7:28pm | report
RichardAbs

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RichardAbs

If you are training on an empty stomach I would first recommend taking in a serving of free-form amino's first. Simply follow this with your post workout nutrition and then consume breakfast 1 hr later.

Aug 30, 2013 7:45am | report
Rickyraver

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Rickyraver

looks good. when is the best time to have the high carb and low carb days? high carb on big training days? what if you have a very fast metabolism do the amounts tsay the same?

Jul 3, 2013 5:12am | report
RichardAbs

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RichardAbs

I like to keep it basic and have my low carb days on my rest days which is a wed,sat,sun and my medium to high carb days on my training days. Leg day mainly being my highest carb day of the week.

Regardless of metabolism speeds just make sure your find your base metabolic rate over a three week period.

Aug 30, 2013 7:48am | report
Jaybo82

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Jaybo82

good question which days for higher carbs. I am guessing the day you start weights in your week to get some energy to lift heavier. I am going to try this before I cut and see if I can burn fat to keep all my muscle gains without starving 24/7 :)

Aug 6, 2013 10:24am | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 14'6"
  • wt: 174.16 lbs
  • bf: 16.0%
RichardAbs

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RichardAbs

obviously if you are resting on a non training day then you would have this as your low carb day. Its a simple case of calories in Vs calories out.

Aug 30, 2013 7:50am | report
GoHomeOrGetBig

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GoHomeOrGetBig

What days would I eat low amounts of carbs and high amounts?

Aug 10, 2013 1:49am | report
Showing 1 - 25 of 33 Comments

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