Lose weight and build muscle…or do one, then the other?

I was speaking with a friend of mine last week who is trying to lose 15 lbs., get in shape, and then build some muscle.  His plan was to do a lot of cardio and minimal weight lifting to cut the fat from his body, and then hit up a gym to start putting on some muscle and getting some definition.  His heart is in the right place, and as long as this plan has him eating better and exercising I’m all for it.  However, there are a few things I suggested to my friend that I thought would be good information to pass along to you guys as well!

More lean muscle = faster metabolism – If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to get that metabolism of yours jump-started.  The faster your metabolism, the faster you process food and the more weight you’ll lose.  Did you know that the higher percentage of lean muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism will operate? How do you build lean muscle?  By lifting weights!  It’s a good cycle to get in.  When you lift weights, you build muscle, which speeds up your metabolism, which will help you burn calories better, which will make you lose body fat, which will increase the percentage of your body that’s lean muscle, that will speed up your metabolism more, and on and on.  Do not ignore lifting weights as part of a plan to lose weight.

Want to keep your metabolism working all day long?  EAT BREAKFAST (read here for the full reasons why you need to eat breakfast).

Muscle weighs more than fat – everybody knows this, but it’s important to think about when you’re trying to lose weight and only concentrating on the number on the scale in front of you.  Muscle does in fact weigh more than fat, which means you can weigh 185 lbs and look like Ryan Reynolds and have 3% bodyfat, or you can weigh 185 lbs and look like a slob with a big beer gut.  If you’re trying to lose weight, pay more attention to what you look like and less what your scale says.  That number doesn’t tell the whole story.

To summarize: rather than doubling your work, losing weight and then building muscle, work on being as efficiently as possible by doing both at the same time.  If you go with this plan, pay more attention to what you look like rather than what the scale says.  If the number stays the same but you’re noticing your shoulders and chest are getting bigger and your waistline is getting smaller, you’re doing something right!

-Steve

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  • Airrick

    The flaw with this plan is that you need a deficit in calories to burn fat and a caloric surplus to gain muscle. Your friend has it right doing cardio and eating clean to lean out, then bulk after. If you need 1800 calories to maintain weight, go for 1500 calories a day with cardio to burn fat. Then consume 2000-2200 calories a day with weight training to build muscle and definition.

  • Sara

    I really dislike the comment “muscle weighs more than fat”, mostly because it isn’t clarified that a pound of muscle TAKES UP LESS SPACE than a pound of fat. You get kind of close with the 185 lbs comparison, but it’s not completely clear.

  • Tabatha Panizon

    I’ve been overweight for 10 years and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 25 pounds in one month without exercise and it’s been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at oceanflowers82@gmail.com and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day

  • Marje Woodward

    I’ve been overweight all my life and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 22 pounds in one month without much exercise and it has been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at oceanflowers82@gmail.com and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day

  • Prger

    Since starting the program I’ve already managed to pack on 22lbs of pure muscle. If you want to experience explosive muscle growth, then this program is for you! See my review of it>bestfitnessandmusclebuilding(dot)com/14fl<.You will be reborn.Hope this help.

  • Jake Bertz

    Bit late to the party, but…

    While you do need a certain number of calories, those calories don’t need to come from an outside source. If you’re overweight, your body already has calories to burn in the form of stored fat. So as long as you eat enough calories to prevent your body from going into starvation mode, you can have a caloric deficit while still gaining muscle.

  • Another Fad

    Exactly Jake! Build muscle and the fat will burn off much more easily as well as won’t run out of energy starting from ground zero!

  • Another Fad

    Well…then you have a problem hearing the truth…shame!