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Thread: Nutrition for simultaneously gaining muscle and losing fat page

  1. #1
    Heth's Avatar
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    Nutrition for simultaneously gaining muscle and losing fat

    Up until the last couple of weeks I have been focusing on fat loss, but now that I'm getting closer to a healthy weight, I am starting to focus more on fitness and toning up/building muscles. So what do i need to do nutritionally to ensure that I both gain muscle and lose fat? Can I still run at a caloric deficit (usually I run at about a 500 calorie deficit) but build muscle by making sure I eat enough protein?

    Thanks!
    Primal since May 2012. Loving life and down 50lbs.

  2. #2
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    Make sure your eating enough protein to maintain or increase your muscle mass and play around with the other ratios to see what suits you for your exercise regime!

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    Considered following a leangains approach with intermittent fasting and a calorie surplus on training days, and a deficit on resting days. I still eat as I did all along, except with more carbs around workouts. Not nearly as many as leangains otherwise says to, though.

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    Are you talking about actually increasing muscle size - or just increasing tone and definition?

    If it's the former, you can't do that and lose fat at the same time. To increase muscle size, you need a calorie surplus.

    If it's the latter, you can do that by eating sufficient protein (you'll hear ratios from 1 g/lb lean weight to as high as 2g/lb - but probably not a lot of the latter number on this site!) and continuing to lose fat. Your muscles will appear to get bigger and harder, but they won't actually be bigger - the fat around them will just be less.

    For what it's worth, having lost a lot of weight, you might want to consult with others who have done that and then tried to add muscle. In my experience, after losing a significant amount of weight (80 lbs, almost 1/3 of my mass), trying to put muscle on was very difficult. One of the reasons for this is that the body reacts to the reintroduction of excess calories as a sign to put the fat back on (at least, that's what I've read - and there seems to be an increasing amount of research in this area). I would advise being very cautious about it - particularly after going to all the trouble to lose the fat.

    You might have more success trying to solidify the gains you made at the weight you end up at. It will be a very slow and grueling process, with only minimal gains over a long period of time. Of course, if you are younger (in your 20's), it will be easier than in your 30's or 40's. But I would be cautious about programs selling you on reducing fat and adding muscle after a big weight loss.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
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    heatseeker is offline Senior Member
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    Adding muscle while losing fat is notoriously difficult to do. I'd say Leangains is the closest people get, or some form of cyclical ketogenic diet + IF. I've never had success with it, though. If I'm trying to lose fat, I just make peace with the fact that I'll either maintain or lose a little strength for a few weeks, because the only way I lose fat is by eating at a caloric deficit.

  6. #6
    Heth's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone! I do want to build muscle as well as tone up, because due to being completely out of action due to illness a couple of years ago, and gaining heaps of weight during that time, I got quite out of shape and lost a lot of muscle mass. I'll have a better look into Leangains, although I did try IF in the morning and I found it very difficult - I'm much more comfortable with skipping dinner. If I have to settle for just toning up for now and wait to gain muscle when I have lost all the flab I need to, I guess that's okay. Because I use to be not very active on the PB plan my protein needs were only about 70g, but now they're more like 100g, which is going to be difficult for me to get in. I just punched in today's foods into cronometer and although I would have considered today a high protein day I was actually only at 85g (high protein foods today = 4 large eggs, a can of oysters, and 200g homemade chicken liver pate).
    Primal since May 2012. Loving life and down 50lbs.

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    Yeah - that's not a lot of protein. I would up the eggs and add some more meat and fish. It does take some getting used to, though - particularly if you were big grains person.

    If you still have a lot of weight to lose, you'll probably actually end up losing muscle, too. This happened to me. When I was at my most obese, I needed more muscle to just move my big self around. When I lost the weight, a lot of the "fat" muscle went with it.

    Good luck!

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    Heth's Avatar
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    Lately I have been off eating red meat. Probably because it's summer here and I want 'light' foods so am more into cold eggs, raw or hardboiled, and seafood. I actually ended up eating all the pate I made so am at 120g protein for today. Now that I have found a source of chicken livers I will be making that regularly (are chicken livers red meat?). I don't often track my food intake but I looked at the last day I tracked and that was only 50g protein! Mainly cutting out grains (I do have the odd feed of rice) was easy but I had been a vegan for a long time so am still adjusting to eating protein. I'm also a little concerned about the 'misery zone' idea. I have been feeling great on not much protein, but if I need more to improve my fitness and gain muscles I will increase my intake.

    I think I still have about 15-20lb of flab to lose (by flab I mean mostly fat but inevitably there'll be some water in there too). At the rate I'm going that should take me around 4 months. Of course this is just an estimate and I'm not really sure because before I quickly gained weight I was very underweight (90lb at 5 6"). This is more or less how I look now (think I might have lost 3-4 lbs since that photo) 29_12_2012 (395x500) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    Primal since May 2012. Loving life and down 50lbs.

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