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Build Muscle Mass to Lose Body Fat

It is a common misconception by fitness experts that you can’t build muscle mass and lose body fat simultaneously. However, this isn’t entirely true. Although it’s a good idea to have a solid and achievable goal when developing your fitness plan, it is still possible to lose body fat while gaining muscle mass too. It may surprise you, but it’s learning how to do this that sets some personal trainers apart from the rest.

In terms of setting a goal, it actually works better to choose building muscle mass – rather than losing body fat – as your main goal. You’ll find that you will get a better result for both goals when you choose to build muscle. In fact, here are 10 reasons why building muscle mass helps to lose body fat.

Don’t Cut Back on Calories

The first trick people try when trying to lose body fat is to simply cut back on the calories. This can cause misery as you eat foods you dislike simply because of the low calorie count. However, by doing such a thing you will probably find that you lose muscle mass too and create a worse body composition in the process. In short, you should eat more to gain less fat.

Not only can doing that increase the risk of developing various conditions, but it also means your body burns fewer calories at rest. By reducing the effectiveness of your metabolism, your body saves on burning calories and actually halts fat loss, rather than increases it. 

Furthermore, by forcing yourself to use willpower whenever you get hungry, you are more likely to increase levels of cortisol in your body. These high cortisol levels will throw other hormones out of balance, which will only make the situation worse.

Working to build muscle means you work on consuming enough calories and lean proteins to grow. The amount of 1.6g/kg of body weight of protein is recommended for people of a normal weight who want to lose weight but protect their muscle mass during intense training. For those who want to build muscle mass, then a greater sum would be required. There are countless articles out there about how to raise your protein intake through various meal plans.

Training Protects Muscle

Training well leads to metabolic and functional changes in your muscle tissue. These changes protect your body from injury, as well as prevents fat gain and muscle loss. As a result, performance training is what you should aim for – safely adding more weight to your lifts with each work out. By doing this, you work on your motor units – a collection of muscle fibres and the neuron in the brain that controls it. The more these motor units get trained, the less risk of muscle damage you will have.

What is this leading to? Well, eventually all the physiological functions of your body should be working to their full potential. As a result, when you kick your training up a level and factor in an improved nutritional plan your metabolism will be ready to respond. With balanced hormones, you may notice that you have more energy, more motivation, and you physically feel ready to get things done.

Strength Training for Faster Results

In nature, being a strong animal means you can protect yourself better from danger – you’d be faster and stronger to fight off attackers. Obviously, for humans nowadays this is less essential for survival. However, being stronger means that your body will become more efficient and the changes to your physique will become faster.

In fact, studies have shown that greater back squat strength was linked to being faster and more powerful afterwards. Weaker trainees did not get the same effect. This is, in part, due to the fact that by becoming stronger your levels of testosterone and other growth hormones are increased. So, when you get into your strength training, your body is prepared and primed metabolically. Training should feel easier, and you will be able to fully zone in on body composition with quicker results.

Get Better Insulin Sensitivity

Strength training can be seriously beneficial for insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels. It isn’t well known that good insulin sensitivity really helps with fat loss and body composition. Insulin is anabolic – a hormone that promotes the utilisation of energy used to synthesise complex molecules. As a result, nutrients are better guided into the cells – this includes fats, too. A more insulin resistant body will find this more difficult. In fact, it is more likely to store the food that person eats as fat.

So, being more insulin sensitive increases your chances of better body composition and makes it easier to lose body fat. To be the opposite means that you’ll likely be chasing your goals for a lot longer. With weight training, you increase your muscles’ receptiveness to insulin as well as their demand for glucose, improving your body composition, lessening the risk of getting diabetes, and helping your metabolism work like clockwork.

Weight Training and Hormones

For many people, the process of losing body fat is a stressful one. It is commonly something nagging at the back of your head – are you losing enough fat? This mindset as well as the willpower to change your diet and you’re looking at high stress levels. This leads to higher levels of the hormone cortisol.

Although cortisol is required for the body to release energy when blood glucose levels drop, there is still an optimal level. Cortisol should act like a wave – increase in the morning, before reducing over the day, ebbing and flowing regularly. However, worrying about fat loss, diet, and skipping meals elevates cortisol levels instead.

Through weight training, you will be focussing on eating more protein and nutrient rich foods that promote recovery, which ensures you can digest and metabolise food effectively. It also shifts your focus. You may find you start asking yourself “how much can I lift?” instead of “how much fat have I lost?” Instead of worrying about calorie counting, you’ll be counting your speed records and personal bests.

How much cardio is too much?

Along with the obsession of losing fat comes other unhealthy habits that could actually do more harm than good. Overdoing cardio is one of those ways. Steady-state cardio isn’t the best method of losing fat, but it is the most common. As a result, it is very easy to get sucked into a fabricated mindset. Of course, it is great to get outside and get your heart pumping with hikes, jogs, and so on, but it isn’t going to get you to where you need to (metaphorically) go.

In short: cardio should never be the primary method of losing fat and getting lean. Weight training is the better option for that.

Diet for Building Muscle

We’ve already discussed how simply eating less won’t help with fat loss. Similarly, eating the wrong foods won’t help either. It has to be food that helps your muscles to recover and won’t be turned into excess fat. However, another aspect of food that needs to be addressed is the fact that most people who undertake exercise to lose fat often reward themselves afterwards with food. It doesn’t need much explaining to show you that this is counterproductive.

Alternatively, people who do weight training or exercise to build muscle mass, become lean, or for fun, tend to avoid the additional calories after a workout. At least, they avoid the bad calories. By shifting your focus onto muscle gain and performance goals, you will find that your goals with food change as well. Instead of wanting to reward yourself with extra calories, you will start wanting to eat well at breakfast to become more energised for the day. You become more tuned in to your body’s needs. Furthermore, your post-workout diet will help to benefit your exercise regime instead of hindering it.

Benefits of Weight Training

Whether you’re male, female, or anything in between, once you start weight training you may discover a hidden strength within yourself. Once it’s discovered, it is something that could transform your life. Your sleep may improve, your mood might be elevated, and your cognitive abilities should improve. You may even feel more confident as you keep setting and beating your own personal records.

In fact, setting those personal records keeps you excited. Weekly or monthly goals to aim for gives you focus and helps you to get excited about your training. This, in turn, will make keeping lean seem effortless as you keep on track with your exercise and nutritional routine.

Bone Strength and Weight Training

One aspect of weight training that really benefits you is how much it can help your bone strength and the connective tissue surrounding it. As a result, bone fractures and other risks of damage are less likely to occur. Furthermore, developing the connective tissue can also improve your muscle power, which can help you move faster and more effectively. However, if you are using a class that uses fast reps but lighter weights, then this could have a detrimental effect on your bone ligament strength. The fat loss programs that include this method also tend to miss out on correcting structural imbalances between muscles. This is what can lead to a higher risk of injury.

Of course, not all fat loss programs are bad, but following a muscle strength course tends to improve your body both now and further down the road. You will find that you won’t be making yourself susceptible to training mistakes that lead degrade your health in the long run.

Best Training Methods for Fat Loss

By doing strength training and working on your all-round athletic performance, you are actually getting the best training methods for fat loss that are out there. When you want to lose fat, your first goal should be to raise your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) by building up lean muscle mass. The more of this you have, the greater number of calories you will burn every day.

In addition to that, by training in a way that creates a larger metabolic disturbance – training that favours anaerobic exercise that will increase post-workout energy expenditure – your body will burn more calories during the recovery process.

Furthermore, the hormone balances that come with strength training, like insulin sensitivity, covers all your metabolic bases. All in all, you begin to create a calorie deficit in a way that keeps you healthy, which in turn helps you lose fat while creating a better body composition and a healthier lifestyle too.
So, what are you waiting for? Start your strength training program today at Primal Life Gym and work toward the body you’ve always wanted.

Primal Bite

It is a common misconception that you can’t build muscle and lose body fat simultaneously – that isn’t true. You can do both.

Working to build muscle mass can improve your chances of losing body fat by changing the way you live instead of following a fad diet.

As well as losing body fat and gaining muscle mass, many of these methods can improve bone strength, insulin sensitivity, and mental health (as well as an array of other health issues).