How can I gain muscle on a calorie restricted diet?

This is possibly one of the most debated issue in the industry. Can you gain muscle and lose weight via a restricted diet?

From a psychological standpoint, it’s not possible to lose fat and gain muscle ‘at the exact moment’ because losing fat stores is catabolic (it breaks down) and building muscle is the opposite – anabolic. It’s virtually impossible for your body to do these two tasks at the same time.

In saying that, it’s possible over the course of a few months, it’s very much a possibility to gain muscle and lose fat if you spend more time in the anabolic state than the catabolic alternative.

Now, this is really challenging to achieve! As soon as you start to reduce your calories, the body begins to burn a combination of fat and muscle tissue. Did you know that anywhere between 30–60 percent of weight lost during the diet phase, comes from lean tissue. Muscle burns a whole lot more energy than fat, and when you lose muscle mass, your resting metabolic rate will drop. That means you burn fewer calories during the day. You may also notice a drop in your strength, as well as lethargy.

The only way to succeed in burning fat stores and increasing muscle mass, we have to make sure that our diet, exercise and nutrient timing are carefully controlled (which is challenging, but with experience it is a possibility) you can in fact lose a high amount of body fat and build muscle in a shorter period of time. What we need to do is look at a few key points which will successfully transition us towards this goal.

4 of the most effective ways to gain muscle and diminish body fat – at the same time

  1. Higher protein consumption will consistently trigger protein synthesis, whilst reducing the rate of muscle catabolism. That means, you are encouraging an environment that will allow your muscles to be in a constant anabolic state.
  2. Nutrients must be well controlled and timed. That means, eating the necessary macronutrients with every meal, and not including any foods that would be detrimental to both their fat loss and muscle gaining goals.
  3. High intensity bursts increase the levels of fat burning enzymes and boosts your post exercise consumption (the rate in which you burn calories after a workout). HIIT is also effective at retaining muscle mass, whilst decreasing body fat. Make sure you keep your HIIT training within a 20-minute window and no more
  4. Train hard Always aim to overload your body with weight training. Don’t focus on long duration cardio workouts. Overloading your body with weights has a more profound effect on building muscle mass and burning fat, leading you towards a successful body transformation

Now, these points above are just some of the basics. We could go into much intense details, but it gives you a good starting point in which to begin. Please keep in mind that there is no set rule for this – we all benefit from these points in different ways. The aim is to try and keep altering until the results become favourable for you.

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