Burn fat and build muscle with this new ___________!!!
It's the promise we've been hearing for years (decades?) yet many of us are still (unsuccessfully!) chasing these elusive results we hear promoted in every magazine, website, and TV/Radio station known to man. The advertising hype has us all wishing, hoping and searching high and low for this holy grail of diet and exercise where we accomplish two results in one fell swoop.
So…why isn't it happening for many of us?
*What we already know about multitasking – it doesn't work. Multi-tasking typically equates to doing more than one thing, inefficiently at best.
*Our metabolism is not built to (or efficient at) burning fat and building muscle at the same time. They require two completely different metabolic actions, and hormonal signals.
*Muscle building requires significant levels of insulin (a building hormone).
*Fat loss requires lowered insulin levels.
*When you strive to do both (while actually hoping for/focusing on weight loss), you end up burning through muscle stores rather than building them. This leads to the “skinny-fat” look. On the flip side, hoping/focusing solely on muscle gain can lead to feeling “fat” or puffy. The key lies in finding balance between the two.
*Understand that you need muscle in order to have the toned, tight look — and you need to reduce fat in order to see the muscle. Ultimately the look that most are striving for requires individualized focus on accomplishing both.
1) Cycle phases dedicated to each: Increasing cals (above TDEE) for muscle building phases, and lowering cals (below TDEE) for fat loss phases. This means that you do NOT look to see fat gains during your muscle phases, or muscle growth during fat loss phases. The results within each phase are fastest with this option, but you may experience mental/physical turmoil of “feeling fat” during muscle gain phases, or missing your muscle gains as you cut fat (many people underestimate how much muscle they have under their fat layers). The best way that I've found to do this is to work with your natural times of month/year that you tend to eat this way (most people naturally eat in a cyclic manner without realizing it).
2) Body recomp(osition): Eat at maintenance, utilizing a periodized workout plan, nailing your basic macronutrient goals. This is the the only safe way to multitask, and as stated before it's means that you are not looking for drastic changes in one way or the other. This is a much slower process because you will essentially not see huge jumps in muscle gain OR fat loss at any one time. This can be a pro/con depending on your mentality and thought process. If you are happy seemingly at a standstill for a few years — knowing mentally that you ARE making changes — then this is the best route for you.
Non-stop dieting for a “look” should NEVER be an option, as it will never achieve the results that you want long term. Whether you choose to dive headfirst into fitness cycles, or take the slow and steady route – understand what your end goal is and accept that a lifestyle of perpetual dieting just won't get you there, no matter how amazing the results look at first. With exception to newbie gains (which ultimately come to an end), metabolic multitasking is often severely over-touted and misunderstood. Instead of spinning your wheels, eating and exercising in a way that will do neither process efficiently, take the time to understand how to match your eating and exercising to your workouts and take charge of your journey again.