Most ‘professionals’ will tell you it’s impossible to build muscle & lose fat at the same time. This is true… Your body can’t be anabolic & catabolic at the same time. However, there are certain things you can do to manipulate your body into storing excess calories as muscle tissue rather than fat, as well as burn fat rather than muscle. Many people try this, but just end up skinny fat. Here’s the trick.
Fasting. Obviously, right? I always talk about this. But, let me explain why this will specifically manipulate your body into achieving your fitness goals. Most people think, wrongfully, that fasting will lead to muscle loss. Actually, your body won’t tap into muscle tissue during a fast until after around 72 hours. In the mean time, it’s all fat loss. Your body will use fat as fuel vs. glucose. So, intermittent fasting, fasting for 14-16 hours every day, will be perfect for this. You sleep for 6-8 hours & spend another 6-8 fasting. During your fasting window, your body will be using stored body fat as energy. Also, don’t forget about all of the other muscle building & fat shredding benefits which come with fasting, such as a drastic increase in testosterone, HGH, insulin sensitivity & more. Now, let’s talk about what to eat during your feeding window.
Feasting. In order to build muscle, you need to be eating at a caloric surplus. This means you need to eat a lot! The trick is eating foods that won’t flip your biological switch to fat storage mode. Immediately consuming carbs or sugar will induce an insulin spike, flipping you into fat storage mode. So, when you do eat, try to eat a primarily ketogenic diet, consisting of foods higher in fats & some protein, with little to no carbs. This means lots of eggs, cheese, meat, fish, avocados, nuts, etc. Don’t be afraid to eat these foods, your body is in fat utilization mode, thanks to fasting.
BUT. Your muscles do need glycogen to refuel & pump up. So, what I have found works best is consuming carbs at the end of the day. Right before bed or during your last meal, load up, but don’t go too crazy. Have a bowl of cereal with some protein powder & some blue berries (one of my favorites). Remember to stay within your feeding window.
Eating at a caloric surplus will lead to fat storage… right?! Wrong. Since you are intermittent fasting, your body is now becoming more & more efficient at using fat as fuel & it has more time to better partition nutrients.
Workout. Yeah, you still need to workout… For the workout, you need to spend time under tension. This is crucial. It isn’t all about going super heavy or pumping as many reps as you can, but performing exercises with optimal form & concentrating on the negatives. Let’s take a pull up, for example, you pull up, squeeze at the top, hold for a couple seconds, lower down (ALL THE WAY) twice as slowly as you pulled up, & repeat. Keeping your muscles under this type of tension will induce the most growth.
Lastly, you must give your body rest. No need to train every day, only 3-4x a week is necessary to see results. In fact, doing more will most likely lead to overtraining. When you do hit your workout, stay within your set & rep ranges. I used to chase the pump, which leads to overtraining. It is not about going in to get the biggest pump you can. It’s about going in & doing just enough. Not too little, not too much. Stick to a plan, & you will see the best results.