Top Reasons To Lose Fat First Before Building Muscle
1. Gaining Any More Fat Is A Slippery Slope
Gaining muscle without gaining fat is very difficult even if you count every calorie you eat meticulously. If you don’t count calories then it’s highly improbable.
In order to gain muscle our bodies need to be in an anabolic state which is fed by an ample amount of protein carbs and calories. If you are attempting to build muscle it is expected that you will add some fat. This is keenly understood by fitness models and bodybuilders who “bulk up” with both muscle and some fat during the off-season when attempting to build muscle.
Now let’s say you are 5’10” and 185lb with 15% body fat. You end up putting on 12 pounds of weight with 6 pounds being muscle and 6 pounds being fat. Your new body fat is 18%, which is close to the 20% level you definitely don’t want. If you do get up to 20% body fat you will need to lose around 20 pounds of pure fat without losing muscle to get down to a lean 10% body fat which is when you’ll have the killer beach body.
I must disclose I have a bias against muscle building, I think most guys have more than enough natural muscle once they reach maturity and after putting in a few good years of quality lifting and eating. Following this line of thinking most guys can have a seriously awesome physique if they just lose enough fat without losing muscle to get lean. Easier said than done of course but it’s a lot easier than building muscle and a much faster way to get a beach body.
If you are above 15% body fat, I highly recommend focusing on losing fat first.
2. You Look Bigger When You Are Lean
If you are not lean then you have body fat that is hiding your hard earned muscle mass. Even more importantly the fat is hiding the shape of your muscles.
For example your shoulder muscle is a round teardrop shaped muscle that is involved in all pulling and pushing movements. If you have body fat over your shoulders they will appear flat with little roundness.
The more round your shoulders and the leaner they are the more striking the shape will be. When you can see the actual muscle and it’s shape it creates an illusion that they are bigger than they actually are. A chiseled physique generally will look bigger fuller and more impressive than a soft physique of a similar size.
In the photo of me to your right taken a few years ago, I have 155 pounds of lean body mass and I weighed around 167 pounds. When I went to the gym people thought I was 190 to 200 pounds. Interestingly, I have the same amount of muscle as a guy who is 200 pounds with 22% body fat.
Why is this important if you are trying to build muscle? Well you may find when you lean out that you already have the muscle mass you want you just couldn’t see it before.
Can You Build Muscle On A Calorie Deficit?
1. How Does Muscle Building Work?
It’s important to understand the basics. Muscle building is a process called muscular hypertrophy a term that means to grow larger muscles. How does this work? When you strength train microscopic tears occur in your muscle tissue which stimulates growth. To repair these tiny injuries new cell formation occurs and your muscles become larger and stronger as a result.
This process is fueled by three macronutrients that are responsible for muscle growth protein carbohydrates and fat. If any of these nutrients are too low or too high then muscle growth will be minimal.
2. What Is A Calorie Deficit?
A calorie deficit occurs when you eat fewer calories than your body needs to function. The number of calories it takes to maintain your weight varies depending on age gender height activity levels etc., but breaks down roughly like this:
To lose 1lb per week you should eat 500 less calories each day. So if you are following a 2,000-calorie diet plan changing the caloric intake to 1,500 would create the needed deficit to drop one pound per week. Many people are under the assumption that they need to eat an extreme amount of food in order to build muscle but this is not true. Eat too much and you will be gaining fat rather than muscle.
3. How Much Protein Do You Need To Build Muscle?
Protein is essential for neck-breaking gains and should make up at least 1/4 of your daily caloric intake if you want to maximize muscle growth. Aim for 0.8 grams per pound of body weight as a general rule of thumb which means that if you weigh 80 lbs then you would consume 64 grams daily.
4. How To Build Muscle On A Calorie Deficit
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your weight training programs while in a calorie deficit.
5. Maintain A Slight Calorie Deficit
It’s not always about eating less food but choosing the right foods at the right times so that your muscles get what they need to grow and nothing more. That means foods with macros like proteins fats and carbohydrates should be kept at a low enough ratio that you still lose weight each week if needed. You can do this by adjusting up or down just 100-200 calories per day depending on how quickly you’re losing fat. As long as you’re still making progress towards your goals then stay where you are!
The calorie deficit for muscle building should not be so high that you don’t have the energy to lift. Rather it should be enough to force your body into a caloric deficit but not so much that you’re losing weight too quickly and do not have the energy needed to work out and recover.
When should I start?
You can do it right now if you want to reap all the said benefits. However experts recommend that the right time to do it early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun’s not too hot.
Also a proper work-out diet plan is essential before embarking on track. Here is a list of our top picks on what you should eat before a run.
You do not want to pass out during your first run. Should you also experience some discomfort such as back pain here are some known reasons and remedies. Remember consistency is key for the best results.