Is it easier to add muscle mass when you have reached your weight loss goals or while you are overweight?

Adding muscle will enhance your fat loss results, while giving you great definition and shape.

Muscle mass accumulation is very much part of your genetic disposition. We all have a muscle building set point, at which it is very difficult to build more once that threshold has been reached. You may notice that a lot of people who find it easier building muscle than others. We can in fact, do our best by using different strength training methods, combining that with the recommended amount of macros, supplements, rest and sleep. Of course, this all counts for something, and you will get results by doing this over time. It takes discipline, hard work and willpower to keep up the momentum, but it’s not impossible.

In saying that, basing this from my own experience and years of training, competing and dieting, I must point out how hard it was for me to diminish body fat whilst trying to build muscle. Being a female, there is also issues with hormone fluctuations, which doesn’t help the progress much either. In my case, the body fat decreased, but the strength and muscle size stalled. This is mainly due to the amount of fat that had to be eliminates, macro depletion, overtraining and life getting in the way. It’s completely normal. In an ideal world, training full time would allow progress to happen with ease. Unfortunately that’s not realistic for most people (but we can dream a little).

To answer your question knowing what I do about strength training and weight loss, you could basically strength train as your method for weight loss. That way, you won’t need to wait until your so called weight loss has happened. It can happen at the same time as your muscle building phase.

Fat loss is achieved through the creation of negative energy balance (calorie deficit). This is through burning more calories than you consume.

The total amount of calories you burn during the day are dependent
on 3 factors:

  • Resting metabolic rate (RMR) being the calories burnt at rest
  • Activity Expenditure Thermogenesis (AEE) which are calories burnt during exercise
  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the calories you burn from all the activities other than your exercise, during the course of the day.

Most people resort to the fact that aerobic exercise is they key to weight loss. What cardio does is increase activity energy expenditure more than weight training, due to the fact that weight training is intermittent and includes rest periods.

In saying that, weight training substantially increases the other two factors above, Resting Metabolic Rate & Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, so that you are burning more total calories over the course of the day, every day!

3 reasons why it’s important to use strength training as a means for weight-loss:

  1. Lifting weights increases your metabolic rate. When you train with weights, it will significantly increase your metabolic rate. To give you an example with a study, when older adults did a 12 week weight training program, they gained 1.4kg of muscle and the average energy intake required for body weight maintenance increase by about 15 percent.

    Weight training also preserves muscle mass when cutting calories to lose body fat. When on a strict diet, using cardio as a means of fat loss, you actually have potential to drastically decrease your metabolism because of the amount of muscle mass that is lost in the process. Muscle mass is being used as fuel for your work out, due to lack of calories. This is one thing you need to be aware of, and keep an eye out on your progress.

  2. Lifting weights raises your metabolic when in recovery. When you use high intensity exercises with weights, it leads the body to burn energy at a faster rate during the next 24 hours after exercise. This is what is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. The body requires more oxygen in order to aid the recovery process. This can include restoration of muscle energy stores, and the repair of damaged tissue.
  3. The increase fat burning of strength training. Over the long term, fat burning will increase as a result of weight training.
    As the body begins to start store and synthesize glycogen, fat burning will become elevated. Your body will also become more metabolically flexible. This means improvement in the bodies metabolic flexibility. Studies show that overweight people who ate high-carb diets have a very low rates of fat burning, Intense exercise is the best way to improve metabolic health and promote the best body composition.

As you can view from this information, that strength training is key to weight loss without endless streams of cardio. Being overweight, cardio would cause a lot of havoc on your knees and maybe your ankles. Keep this in mind long term, because wear and tear does occur. Strength training properly and with a suitable technique and range of motion, will bypass this.

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