Can I build muscle and lose fat at the same time (aka get shredded)?


Losing body fat and gaining muscle at the same time is not easy and it will require some work. In fact, all of our CrossFit and Sports Performance Athletes are able to do this month after month!

Losing Body Fat

In order to lose body fat, you need to be in a caloric deficit (fewer calories in and more energy out). Doing so will enable you to burn body fat and lose weight. 

However, you need to be careful!

If you go too far into a caloric deficit by following an extremely low-calorie diet or you over-exercise you will begin to lose your well-earned muscle mass!

Gaining Muscle Mass

In order to gain muscle you need to be in a caloric surplus (more calories in then you are burning off). 

To build muscle mass your body needs energy from the food you are consuming.  Your food gives your body the nutrients needed to build up and repair muscle. 

Again, you need to be careful!

Too many calories and not enough exercise will cause you to gain body fat!

Gaining Muscle and Burning Fat

As you can see burning fat and gaining muscle requires two different caloric needs. This should not stress you out!

To do both you need to do the following: 

Determine your caloric needs

Eat whole food

Follow a strength and conditioning program

Determining your caloric needs: Everyone’s caloric needs vary depending on their current activity level, body weight, current body fat level, and goals. You can determine your needs by using an online calculator such as this one from Precision Nutrition.

Eat Whole Foods: Changing up your eating habits will help tremendously on your quest to “get shredded”. 

Start with the plate method. For each meal, your plate should consist of veggies, protein, and a carbohydrate.

Here is how you set up your plate: ½ of your plate is vegetables, ¼  of your plate is protein, and ¼ of your plate is starchy carbohydrate (potatoes, rice, squash). 

Follow a Strength and Conditioning Program: Get yourself on a plan! Following a well-designed strength and conditioning program will set you up for success. In order to build muscle, you will need strength train. This means lifting moderately heavy weights for 6-12 repetitions. 

Putting it all together

Gaining muscle mass and losing body fat is not as complicated as it sounds. Consuming the right amount of calories to support your goals, cleaning up your diet, and following a great strength and conditioning plan will help you achieve your goals!