get lean fit build muscle

Can I get lean and build muscle at the same time?

Get lean build muscle. That is normally the answer when a PT asks their clients what they’re looking to do.

“I want to build muscles and get ripped”

So you want to build muscle – and lose fat at the same time? But, but, but…

If you’ve tried any of these, or both, you’ll understand how hard it is to do any of them on their own, let alone both at the same time. If you search online you will also find contradictory answers for this and you might come out feeling more confused.

So, how do you find out if you can effectively “get lean build muscle”?

Well, let us look at the facts. In theory, the answer should be “no”. Getting lean requires burning body fat (becoming catabolic) and gaining muscle requires working out, lifting weights, to gain weight (anabolic). To gain you need a surplus of calories for your body to use in building, to lose you need to be in deficit, consuming less than you burn.

However, if you read between the very fine lines there are factors that can work in your favour to achieve these results.

If you are controlling your macronutrient intake consistently (protein, carbs, and fats) you should be aware of the calories it takes to maintain your weight and you cna stay within that fine line of catabolic and anabolic phases by monitoring it closely. Staying in a slight deficit should allow your body to maintain or slightly grow lean muscle tissue whilst dropping body fat levels.

People with higher body fat levels can do this more easily as there is a lot more “bad weight” to come off initially. The addition of this weight results in muscles having to adapt to the added load, supporting physical exertion.

If you are new to resistance training, or back after an absence, you have the advantage. The law of conversion energy can be slightly adapted here because the likelihood is that your protein will now be much higher in relation to your goals. Now the P-ratio (calorie partitioning) can take place – this is where the extra protein intake is directed to replenish muscles that are being newly torn and worked resulting in growth. When you lower the intake of other macronutrients (carbohydrate and fats) it should allow for minimal storage of fat so you should also find a leaner body surrounding muscles too.

The downside?

There’s always a downside, isn’t there? When we speak to clients we’ll take their goals and work out an optimal route to reach them. We are more likely to take clients through a round of higher calorie, muscle building then cycle on to lower calorie fat burning so we effectively cycle clients through these in longer cycles.

We’re then more likely to work on an 8-12 week cycle of lifting heavy, consistently to build muscle before then reverting to maintaining weight and strength levels but focussing on diet to lose weight and body fat.

So when you want to “get lean build muscle” what you should be asking is, “what is my optimal route for my number one goal”? Then choose.

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