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Can you burn fat & build muscle simultaneously?

  • Posted by Catherine Tumelty
  • 22 July 2015

Q: Can you burn fat & build muscle simultaneously?

A: In a word? No


Building muscle & burning fat are at opposite ends of the nutritional spectrum.

Building muscle requires a surplus of calories (MORE calories than your body requires to maintain it's weight).

Burning fat requires a calorie deficit (LESS calories than your body requires to maintain it's weight).

Which means to build muscle you need to consume more calories than you burn, whilst you need to burn more calories than you consume to burn fat.

See how they're kinda the opposite thing?

This means trying to do both at the same time will only hold you back - because how is it possible to eat less AND more!?

Think of it this way...

Building muscle requires a surplus of calories. It is an extra bodily function/ process, which means you need extra energy/ calories to carry it out. 

Burning fat requires a calorie deficit. Essentially, you need to force your body to use fat as energy by eating less of it/ less calories.


It's important to understand that whilst it is very unlikely that you'll ever be able to achieve this utter wizardry naturally, there ARE various scenarios in which it might happen.

1. You pharmaceutically enhance.

2. You are new to resistance training.

3. You are very overweight.

4. You've had an extended period away from resistance training.

5. You are a genetic freak.

So - best to focus on one, THEN the other just in case genetics aren't on your side. E.g. bulk, then cut, because chances are (very unfortunately) that you AREN'T the genetic anomaly. 

You are more than welcome to try...

BUT you are more than likely going to do nothing but spin your wheels, become super frustrated at your lack of progress and maybe even get a little bit angry.

So I'd stick with what works - what science tells us.

Written by 

Michael Lucas
Personal Trainer at Liverpool Fit n Fast 

0413 161 163