Can I burn fat and build muscles at the same time?

Dozens of contradictory theories have been created about the alleged possibility of simultaneous building muscles and reducing fat. On the one hand, there are individuals who exemplify this two-way transformation of their figures, on the other hand, even professional bodybuilders who support themselves with high doses of pharmacology divide their preparation periods depending on priorities among which there is no room for "massreduction". So let's take a look at this issue from the physiological side. This is what this article is going to speak of.

What conditions must occur to reduce the amount of body fat?

Anyone who ever undertook the fight against excessive adipose tissue knows that although reduction of its amount is possible, it requires both a good method and a lot of determination. Slimming down is in fact a bit like running uphill. This is due to the fact that your body sees fat reserve as something of a bank deposit set aside for harder days. Taught by years of evolution, it is not willing to reduce the stocks without reason. Your body reaches to fat reserves only if you force it to, and you can do that through the introduction of appropriate nutritional strategies, and a caloric deficit is its integral part. Simply put: by limiting the supply of energy from food or by increasing calorie expenditure (without increasing calorie intake), you switch on the mechanism mobilising fat acids stored in adipocytes. As a result, there is a loss centimeters and weight. Of course, caloric deficit is not the only characteristics of dieting, but this is not the place nor time for unfolding this issue. The idea is to realise that negative energy is a factor in mobilising the body to reaching for its fat reserves. With this in mind, we may now move on to the circumstances related to muscle mass building.

What conditions must be met to be able to build muscles?

Building muscle mass is neither simpler nor less time-consuming than body fat reduction. Not only that: often the pace of muscle development is disproportionately slower than the rate of fat burning. This is inter alia because your body is not willing to expand its muscle tissue, the tissue which is known for its high energy demand. In addition, the body is aware that the amount of energy put into the development of every gram of muscle is not recoverable in the event of any crisis (quite unlike fat). In other words: protein catabolism does not provide as much energy as anabolism absorbs. So, the body is investing in the development of muscles only if two conditions are met, namely:

  • there are circumstances which prove that strengthening of muscles is necessary (in this case the stimulus can be regularly repeated strength training which constitutes a kind of stress triggerring adaptive mechanisms),
  • availability of energy, building and regulatory components will be so high that will cover with a vengeance the needs of other tissues, organs and systems.

In other words, what is needed to build muscle is, among others, surplus energy. In a situation where the energy is too low, the body will consume the provided substrates on more priority objectives without engaging in risky and energy-intensive investments.

What does it all mean?

Taking into account all these aspects, it is easy to conclude that the reduction of body fat and building lean muscle mass do not go hand in hand. The former process requires the deficit, the latter: caloric surplus. So the idea of "massreduction" can be compared to the idea of running in two different directions. Theoretically that's the way it is but does practice show the same thing? Well, this is where the real fun begins. It turns out that when it comes to the human body, simple arithmetics may not always be enough. Of course, mathematics cannot err, but a mathematician - can. You should know that the anabolic and catabolic processes constantly occur in your body, and the final balance within individual tissues and organs may vary.