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Who doesn’t want to live a lifestyle that allows them to lose fat and build muscle at the same time? To achieve this, a specific diet, exercise and guidance from experts is required.

When the movie “300” hit the theaters, what impressed the audience – more than Zack Snyder’s direction – was Gerard Butler’s body. Not that the man was overweight and unfit before, but in the film his body looks almost double in volume, perfectly toned, without the slightest trace of fat.

It goes without saying that a bunch of conspiracy theories popped up on the internet back then, alleging that the actor was given steroids and various other anabolic that helped him “bulk up” in no time. However, when asked, he described a much more arduous, but targeted and effective program:

“I worked out 6 hours a day: Two hours with the stuntmen, two hours with the rest of the cast and two hours with my personal bodybuilder. I also did 25 pumping exercises before each shoot. At the same time, of course, I was surrounded by a group of experts (nutritionists, physiotherapists, doctors) who did their own work regarding my practice”, he had said in an interview he gave at the time.

Is it possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time?

Gerard Butler in the movie “300”  © 2007 Warner Brothers/Alamy/

How to burn fat and build muscle at the same time

To the average exerciser who wants to lose weight, most exercisers will tell you that the process goes like this: first they need to lose weight and fat through diet and aerobic exercise, and then they will gradually begin to build muscle with weights. However, Amy Kwan , a physiatrist who specializes in counseling patients with orthopedic and neurological problems, will tell you how to achieve both goals at the same time through a process called body recomposition . It is not easy at all, as the body is asked to do two completely opposite things, while to achieve it safely you certainly cannot do it without the help of experts.

How to build muscle mass

Increasing muscle mass is essential as we age, so naturally muscle tissue declines. Muscles enhance our overall health and well-being, help us carry out our activities, improve mobility and increase our longevity .

To build muscle, Kwan says, you need to watch how much protein you eat and what kind of exercises you do. Research has shown that resistance training not only increases muscle mass but also reduces body fat. It can even improve a person’s metabolic rate.


Is it possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time?



A person now starting resistance training should start slowly, building a solid foundation that will ensure good physical condition and joint stability. From there, he can focus on endurance and strength. In the end, he’ll need to switch to moderate-intensity weight training that challenges the body.

The expert emphasizes that it is not safe to do resistance training every day, because the muscles need time to rest and recover. On the days in between you can try other forms of exercise, such as cycling , walking, running, yoga or high-intensity interval training.

Additionally, notes Kwan, “take care of your sleep and reduce stress as much as possible when trying to build muscle. Adequate sleep keeps your anabolic hormone levels high, improving muscle recovery and growth. Likewise, if you suffer from chronic stress , this affects your muscle growth because catabolic stress hormones remain elevated .’

How to lose fat

The key to safe body fat loss is to be in a calorie deficit while eating nutritious foods that keep your body fueled and your energy levels at their optimum. This, says Kwan, is no easy feat, especially when people underestimate how much they actually eat.

To lose fat, therefore, you should focus on how much protein , carbohydrates and fat you consume. Body rebuilding typically requires you to increase protein and decrease the rest. In particular, research shows that eating more protein while trying to lose weight helps the body maintain its muscle mass. This, combined with resistance training, will support your effort to lose fat while building muscle.


Is it possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time?



Everyone’s nutritional needs are of course different but, as we have said before, experts insist that in order to achieve the above goal we should consume at least 3 g. of protein per kilogram of body weight per day . This does not mean that we should completely cut out carbohydrates and fats.

Your diet, even in the process of body reconstruction, should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocado. You can also choose fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, sardines and trout, which are not only good sources of protein, but also provide good fats to the body.

As for the rate at which you should lose weight, the CDC recommends no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week . Greater weight loss may not be easy to maintain and may hinder your efforts to maintain muscle mass.

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