Can You Build Muscle And Burn Fat At The Same Time?

build muscle and burn fat

Ah, the age old question.

Can you build muscle and burn fat at the same time?

Today I will answer this for you.

Because in the many years I’ve been a trainer, 99% of people don’t just want fat loss or muscle building.

They want both.

Let’s start by addressing the obvious issue.

  • In order to focus more on fat loss, we must be working in a calorie deficit
  • In order to focus more on gaining size, we must be working in a calorie surplus

This news often leaves most guys marooned and unsure what to do first.

They don’t like the ultimatum that we must “pick a team” and it leaves us panicking, “But I want gains”… “But I want rid of my belly too”…

So we end up spending a few months mixed between both approaches.

It’s pretty common to meet guys in the gym who are training for fat loss but paying no attention to their diet. Likewise, it’s also pretty common to meet guys who are training to get bigger but eating nowhere near enough food.

So here we go.

how to build muscle and burn fat

To Build Muscle And Burn Fat, Nail Down The Basics

If you are just starting out in the gym and wondering whether you do both at the same time, the answer is yes.

You can build muscle and burn fat at the same time.

But only to a certain extent.

If you are brand new to training, read this post regarding the ideal starting program.

By hitting your body with regular resistance training, you will promote lean muscle growth and fat loss.

If you clean up your diet, too, you’ll notice that you can reap fantastic rewards from both “sides” of the training perspective without overly focusing on one.

I highly recommend you start using a tracking app to set out your current daily calorie intake, then focus on cleaning up those macronutrients to promote more results in the gym.

I recently wrote a post showing you how a simple tracking app can completely overhaul your diet, change a 2000 calorie intake from an average diet to a good diet.

Because training is all about the numbers, and diet is the same, and if you have no idea how many calories you are eating each day on average, then you have no idea whether you are eating correctly regarding losing weight or bulking up, right?

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Decision Time

After a few months of consistent training and dieting, you will already be in pretty decent shape.

Heck, I know many folks who reach this stage and then simply carry on training with weights and maintaining a healthy macro-based diet.

They’ll still continue to build muscle and burn fat, and they’ll be happy with their progress.

However, many people reach a crossroads where they want to focus more on one aspect over the other.

This is where we go back to the golden rules.

  • to focus more on fat loss we must be working in a calorie deficit
  • to focus more on gaining mass we must be working in a calorie surplus

So at this stage we would begin to switch up our diet accordingly.

Of course, you could also make changes to your training program by incorporating methods like HIIT for fat loss or a full bodybuilding plan to gain size, but believe me on this one – diet is king.

You can grind away for hours in the gym in a bid to pack on size, but if you are not eating enough calories per day then you are not going to put any significant size on.

build muscle burn fat

The good thing is that by this stage, you will have an exact idea on how many calories per day you are consuming in order to maintain the weight you are at right now, because you’ve been tracking them.

So in order to gain size you know you must go above this target, and in order to drop weight you must come in under this target.


But wait, it gets even better.

Not only do you know your maintenance calorie intake by now, but you’ve already cleaned up your targets for each individual macronutrient – protein, fat and carbohydrates – and fit them inside your daily calorie target.

So now can you increase or decrease your daily calorie total in a way that allows you to maintain adequate levels of protein to retain lean muscle while you drop weight.

My work here is done.

how to build muscle and burn fat at the same time

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