how to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time



The logic behind the system
There are two inescapable truths when it comes to gain muscle or losing fat:
  1. To increase muscle mass, you need to consume more calories than you consume.
  2. If you want to lose body fat, you need to consume fewer calories than you consume every day.

Obviously, the type of food you eat will have an important impact on the end result. If the majority of the calories you eat are from fast food, then you are likely to gain more fat than muscle. Similarly, a diet is more likely to lose more muscle if the quality of the food is poor.

So it's true that what you eat is as important as the amount you eat. Nevertheless, total food intake remains of paramount importance when either trying to gain muscle or to lose fat.

Another thing that needs to consider is the effect of nutrients on hormones, as well as the effects of hormones on muscle gaining and fat loss. example, Insulin is one of the most important anabolic hormones in the body. It has a direct influence on the amounts of amino acids and glucose that are transported into the muscle cells. It is the good stuff, and the more of it, the more you will grow.

Basically, insulin is responsible for transporting the "gaining materials" to the "construction site". Insulin also prevents the mobilization of nutrients that are stored in muscle cells either in the form of intramuscular glycogen or in the form of muscle tissue. In this regard, insulin promotes muscle gaining and at the same time, counteracts muscle loss. This is the reason that the use of insulin is widespread among professional bodybuilders.

Since the use of exogenous (externally supplied) insulin is out of the question for any natural athlete who is even remotely interested in preventing diabetes and premature death, it will have to stimulate the body to produce its own insulin. Insulin is released by the pancreas in response to an increase in blood sugar (which happens when you consume carbohydrates and certain amino acids). So if we want to stimulate endogenous (body's) insulin production, it is necessary to consume a mixture of carbohydrates and amino acids.

On the other hand, glucagon - the antagonistic hormonal antagonist of insulin - promotes the mobilization and use of stored nutrients, including glycogen and amino acids. When the diet is low in carbohydrates, the glucagon levels rise sharply and put the body in a mobilizing/degrading mode instead of an anabolic/anabolic state.

We also have to mention that it is harder to do intensive workouts without eating carbohydrates. While it is true that some amino acids can be converted to glucose through the process of gluconeogenesis and that after an appropriate adjustment phase, the body can switch to keto bodies (ketones) as a source of energy, but to tell the truth, a low-carb / carbohydrate-free diet is becoming an option cause you will lose your capacity to train hard in the gym.

You also risk losing muscle mass as the body may choose to break down muscle tissue into amino acids to generate new glucose. So you could actually burn the walls to keep the house warm!

Finally, the conversion of T4 / thyroxine (the relatively inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 / triiodothyronine (the active thyroid hormone) is severely impaired if insufficient amounts of carbohydrates are consumed. A low T3 level results in a reduction in the metabolic rate and this makes fat loss much more difficult.

For these reasons, eating carbohydrates is a necessity if you want to develop a muscular body. However, insulin also has a dark side: it can promote fat storage while reducing the mobilization and use of stored body fat.

Chronically elevated insulin level has a profound effect on the body's fat storage capacity. Excess carbohydrates can also be stored in the fat cells in the form of fat. So if you constantly consume large amounts of carbohydrates, then this can lead to a body development that is strongly reminiscent of the Michelin male!

So what can we do?

how to gain muscle


To stimulate maximum muscle growth, you need carbohydrates - a relatively large amount of them. Without plenty of calories and carbohydrates, even with high protein intake, it will be difficult to gain large mountains of muscle tissue. However, if you eat too much and too much of it, carbohydrates can also make you fat. This can be a lot of headaches.

The first method used by bodybuilders was to split the year of training into mass and diet phases. During the mass phase, tons of calories and carbohydrates were consumed, while when entering the diet phase, calorie and carbohydrate intake was reduced to levels below the maintenance level. It worked at least somehow.

This approach allowed many people to gain a lot of mass, but most of them lost a large part of this mass during the intensive diet phase. Not to mention that those who were punished with poor insulin sensitivity tended to gain significantly more fat than muscle during the mass phase. Plus, it's not healthy to put on 20 to 30 pounds and then lose that weight afterwards. This puts a lot of pressure on the body and can lead to some health problems.

Finally, from an aesthetic point of view, gaining 7 to 10 kilos of fat just to gain maybe 5 kilos of muscle isn't the best idea. Ideally, we want to look good nude most of the time - and not just for a select few months of the year. "Sorry honey, the light is off this month, I'm currently in the mass phase."

Then the cyclic ketogenic diets began to appear on the scene. these were based on a relatively long period of carbohydrate withdrawal (usually five days in a row), during which a maximum of 50 grams of carbohydrates per day is allowed, followed by a day or two of loading with carbohydrates.

While this procedure is very effective in stimulating fat loss, the long phase without carbohydrates is not exactly conducive to maximum muscle gaining. Indeed, on the second or third day of the low-carb phase, you are already in a severe catabolic state. Of course, there is an anabolic rebound during the loading days, but I'm not sure if this is enough to compensate for the rest of the week. I think this rebound effect is enough to prevent muscle loss on a weekly basis, but it shouldn't be enough to promote maximum muscle growth.

In fairness, I would like to note that I have used this type of diet several times in my life and that it has achieved very good results in terms of fat loss. I was even able to gain a small amount of muscle, but I was never able to gain much during this type of diet.

Finally, a third approach began, which was followed by people like Dr John Berardi has been propagated to gain popularity. This nutritional approach was based on not consuming large amounts of carbohydrates and fats together and eating carbohydrates mainly during periods of increased insulin sensitivity (morning and after exercise). Basically, you eat three carbohydrate meals and three carbohydrate meals every day.
This approach is close to being perfect for gaining muscle mass with minimal fat gain. Still, I thought that this approach could be further improved to get the best possible body composition results:

The Solution

The solution that I will finally present to the reader is called cyclical carbohydrate intake, but it could also be called cyclic calorie intake. This approach sticks to the basic theory that carbohydrates should only be consumed in the morning and after training. The only difference is that the amount of calories and carbohydrates varies from day today. What does this accomplish?
  • The user is able to integrate maximum fat burning days and maximum muscle gaining days into his training program every week.
  • A reduction in the metabolic rate is prevented by regular "calorie peaks".
  • Long-term success is more likely because this approach is relatively easy to follow, which is particularly true when compared to more restrictive ketogenic diets.

Cyclic carbohydrate intake: the basic structure

Cyclical carbohydrate intake is based on having three different levels of carbohydrate intake during the week: high / higher carbohydrate intake, moderate carbohydrate intake, low (re) carbohydrate intake. Ideally, these days are divided based on the training plan.


how to gain muscle and lose fat

  • You choose two training sessions with the highest priority. On these days the carbohydrate intake is high / higher.
  • The other day of training, you consume a moderate amount of carbohydrates.
  • For the remaining 4 days of the week, plan a day with moderate carbohydrate intake and three days with a low (er) carbohydrate intake.


how to gain muscle and lose fat

  • You choose two training sessions with the highest priority. These are the workouts during which you train the muscle groups that you need to improve the most. On these days, plan a day with higher / higher carbohydrate intake.
  • On the other two training days, you consume a moderate amount of carbohydrates.
  • On the three non-training days, the carbohydrate intake is low (er).

how to gain muscle and lose fat

  • You choose two workouts with the highest priority, during which you train the muscle groups that need to be improved the most. On these days, plan a day with higher / higher carbohydrate intake.
  • You choose two secondary workouts. A moderate amount of carbohydrates is consumed on these days.
  • The remaining training day and the non-training days are days with low (er) carbohydrate intake.
Basically, you could sum up the whole philosophy of cyclical carbohydrate intake in one sentence: "Eat for what you've done and what you have to do."

Calorie and carbohydrate levels

Once you have determined the basic structure, you have to plan your food intake appropriately. The first thing to do is calculate your daily calorie consumption: the amount of energy (in calories) you use each day. This base amount is used to calculate calorie and nutrient intake during the different types of days.

Steps to do: How to Gain Muscle and Lose fat


First step: calculation of the basal metabolic rate

The basal metabolic rate is simply the number of calories that the body consumes over a 24-hour period when there is no activity. In other words, you would burn that amount of calories even if you didn't do anything for 24 hours.

The basal metabolism depends on the size, gender and age. It is also influenced by the metabolic status (e.g. overactive or underactive thyroid). The basal metabolic rate can be roughly calculated using the following formulas (from Harris-Benedict):


how to gain muscle


  • Basal metabolism = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x size in cm) - (6.8 x age)
  • For a 30-year-old bodybuilder with 100kg bodyweight and a height of 178 centimetres you get:
  • Basal metabolism = 66 + (13.7 x 100kg) + (5 x 178cm) - (6.8 x 30)
  • Basal metabolism = 2122 calories per day


how to gain muscle


  • Basal metabolism = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.7 x size in cm) - (4.7 x age)
  • For a 28 year old figure class athlete with a body weight of 60kg and a height of 165 centimeters you get:
  • Basal metabolism = 655 + (9.6 x 60kg) + (1.7 x 165cm) - (4.7 x 28)
  • Basal metabolism = 1380 calories per day

Second step: inclusion of the activity factor
The amount of calories you get when you use the Harris-Benedict formula is the number of calories your body burns when you do nothing all day. Obviously, the more active you are, the more calories you will burn. So calorie consumption will increase as the level of activity increases.

In order to get an adequate estimate of the calorie requirement, one has to multiply the basal metabolism by the activity factor.

  • By idle I mean that you don't do anything all day long (sleep and watch TV)
  • By very light activity I mean that you don't do anything physical. An example would be a desk job or working on the computer, with no further physical activity during the day.
  • By light activity, I mean a non-physical profession (desk, computer, etc.), although some physical activity is carried out during the day (e.g. something that goes beyond simple walking), but not hard training.
  • By moderate activity, I mean a non-physical job, some physical activity during the day and a daily workout. This is where most readers are likely to be.
  • By high activity, I mean either training and a physical job or a non-physical job and two training sessions per day.
  • By extreme activity, I mean a very hard physical job and hard training.


If our 100-pound bodybuilder with a basal metabolism of 2122 calories/day is moderately active, then his daily calorie requirement increases to 2122 x 1.6 = 3395 calories per day. This is the amount of food he needs to eat every day to maintain his current body weight.

Third step: adjusting the calorie intake to your personal goal
To gain muscle, you should consume more calories every day than you consume. To lose body fat, you have to do the opposite. A 20% increase or decrease in calorie intake seems ideal for most people. This is not a drastic increase/decrease, so it should not lead to excessive muscle loss or unwanted fat gain.

Our example bodybuilder has a calorie consumption of 3395 calories per day. If you want to gain muscle, then you should increase your calorie intake to 4074 calories a day. And If you want to lose fat, you should reduce your calorie intake to an average of 2716 calories a day.

At this point, it should be pointed out that you may have to adjust these numbers depending on your body type and your individual metabolism. Ectomorphic people will need to increase their calorie intake by more than 20% to gain maximum muscle (around 30% is best for them), and they should reduce calorie intake less if they want to lose fat (by 10% instead of 20% ). Endomorphic people should only increase their calorie intake by 10% if they want to gain muscle, and a 20% reduction is adequate for them if they try to lose fat.
For example, if our example bodybuilder is endomorphic, he should consume 3734 calories a day (instead of 4074 calories a day) during the mass gain phase.

Fourth step: determining the nutrient intake for the "moderate days."
Protein intake should remain the same for all three types of days. At least 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is necessary, but I recommend 3.3 grams per kilogram of body weight (i.e. 330g / day for a person weighing 100 kilos).

If you are trying to gain mass, the carbohydrate intake should be equivalent to the protein intake on the moderate days. In the case of our example bodybuilder, this would be 330 grams.

He's already consuming 2640 calories a day (1320 in the form of protein and 1320 in the form of carbohydrates). Let's say it is endomorphic. If you want to gain muscle, your calorie intake should be around 3734 calories a day. So he still has 1094 calories, which must be added in the form of fat - preferably good fats. Since 1 gram of fat provides nine calories, this corresponds to 121 grams of fat per day.
In summary, our endomorphic, 100 kg bodybuilder, who wants to gain muscle mass, should consume the following amounts of nutrients on the “moderate” days:

  • 330g protein
  • 330g carbohydrates
  • 121g fat


If this bodybuilder wants to lose fat, the carbohydrate intake should be set at 2.75g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. For our example bodybuilder, this would be 275 grams of carbohydrates per day.

The protein intake remains at 3.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (330 grams in our example), and the rest of the calories are in the form of fat.

In the case of our endomorphic bodybuilder, who should consume 2716 calories a day to be defined, we come up with 2420 calories in the form of protein and carbohydrates, leaving about 300 calories to be added in the form of fat, This corresponds to a fat intake of 33 grams of fat per day.

In summary, our endomorphic bodybuilder, who weighs 100 kg and wants to be defined, should consume the following amounts of nutrients on "moderate" days:

  • 330g protein
  • 275g carbohydrates
  • 33g fat

Fifth step: determining the nutrient intake for the other days
Protein and fat intake remain constant throughout the week. Only the carbohydrate intake changes up and down. During the days with high / higher carbohydrate intake, the amount of carbohydrate is increased to 125% of the amount of carbohydrate consumed on moderate days. During the days with low (er) carbohydrate intake, the amount of carbohydrates is reduced to 75% of the amount of carbohydrates consumed on moderate days.

To continue our example, our 100 kg bodybuilder would consume the following on different days:

When he tries to gain muscle:
  • Days with high / higher carbohydrate intake = 330g protein, 412g carbohydrates, 121g fat
  • Days with moderate carbohydrate intake = 330g protein, 330g carbohydrates, 121g fat
  • Days with low (er) carbohydrate intake = 330g protein, 247g carbohydrates, 121g 

When he tries to lose fat:

  • Days with high / higher carbohydrate intake = 330g protein, 344g carbohydrates, 33g fat
  • Days with moderate carbohydrate intake = 330g protein, 275g carbohydrates, 33g fat
  • Days with low (er) carbohydrate intake = 330g protein, 206g carbohydrates, 33g fat

Sixth step: adjustment of nutrient intake during the diet
Warning: In my opinion, nobody who tries to become muscular should eat a restrictive fat loss diet for more than 16 weeks at a time. Most people would probably be better off with just 8 to 12 weeks of dieting.
If the diet lasts longer, then you will likely lose muscle mass or at least limit your muscle-gaining capacity. If you have not reached the level of slimming you are aiming for after 12 weeks, then you should take four weeks off from the diet (you continue to eat clean and healthy, but increase your calorie intake) and then start the next phase of the diet,

If you try to lose fat, you will eventually have to reduce your calorie intake further as the body adapts to the current calorie intake. With a cyclical carbohydrate intake, this is less of a problem because the amount of carbohydrates and calories fluctuate. Nevertheless, it will be necessary to slightly reduce your carbohydrate and calorie intake every 3 to 4 weeks in order to continue to lose fat at an optimal rate.

However, one should not cut calorie and carbohydrate intake too drastically as this is the reason why most people lose muscle during a fat loss diet. I recommend reducing your carb intake by 20 grams every 3 to 4 weeks. For example, if you consume 344g, 275g and 206g carbohydrates on the three types of days, you would reduce these amounts to 324g, 255g and 186g. If the fat loss has not slowed down, then no reduction is necessary.

When trying to gain muscle, there is no fixed schedule for increasing calorie intake. If you haven't gained weight after 2 to 3 weeks, then you should increase the protein and carbohydrate intake by 25 grams. First, add those extra calories to your post-workout meal. If there is no change after another 2 to 3 weeks, add the same amount to breakfast. If you still don't gain weight, add a few more calories to the post-workout shake, etc.

Distribution of meals
To maximize food absorption and promote muscle gaining versus fat gaining (or to maintain muscle mass during the diet), you should eat 6 to 7 meals a day. Three of these meals should contain carbohydrates and protein (breakfast, the drink immediately after the workout and the meal 60 to 90 minutes after the workout). The remaining 3 to 4 meals should consist of protein, good fats and green vegetables.

The ideal time for training is around 10:00 a.m. This results in the following meal plan:
  • Meal 1 (after waking up): carbohydrates + protein meal
  • Meal 2 (after training, around 11:00 a.m.): carbohydrates + protein regeneration drink
  • Meal 3 (12:30): carbohydrates + protein meal
  • Meal 4 (3:30 p.m.): protein, fat and green vegetables
  • Meal 5 (6:00 p.m.): protein, fat and green vegetables
  • Meal 6 (9:00 p.m.): protein, fat and green vegetables

Of course, not everyone can train at this time. For those who train in the evening, the following meal plan is appropriate:

  • Meal 1 (after waking up): carbohydrates + protein meal
  • Meal 2 (10:00 am) carbohydrates, protein and green vegetables
  • Meal 3 (12:30 pm): protein, fat and green vegetables
  • Meal 4 (3:30 p.m.): protein, fat and green vegetables
  • Meal 5 (after training, around 6:00 p.m.): Protein + carbohydrate drink
  • Meal 6 (9:00 p.m.): carbohydrates + protein meal


Those who train in the morning (around 8:00 a.m.) should follow the following schedule:

  • Meal 1 (after waking up): carbohydrate + protein drink
  • Meal 2 (after training, around 9:00 a.m.): carbohydrates + protein regeneration drink
  • Meal 3 (12:30 pm): carbohydrates + protein drink
  • Meal 4 (3:30 p.m.): protein, fat and green vegetables
  • Meal 5 (6:00 p.m.): protein, fat and green vegetables
  • Meal 6 (9:00 p.m.): protein, fat and green vegetables

As you can see, in this last situation, we are using a morning carbohydrate and protein drink. This is because it is necessary to absorb the added nutrients as quickly as possible so that digestion does not interfere with subsequent training.

Nutrients per meal
Because protein is included in every meal, total protein intake should be split equally between meals. For example, if you eat 330 grams of protein a day and eat six meals a day, you should aim for each of these meals to contain about 55 grams of protein.

Fat is consumed with 3 of the six meals and should be divided equally among these three meals. So if you eat 100 grams of fat a day, each of these meals should contain about 33 grams of fat.

Carbohydrates are also consumed with only three meals a day. Approximately 50% of the amount of carbohydrates should be consumed immediately after training, 25% in the morning and 25% around 60 to 90 minutes after training. For example, if the daily carbohydrate intake is 250 grams of carbohydrates, you would consume 125g immediately after training, 75g in the morning and 75g 60 to 90 minutes after training.

Food selection
We've been talking about quantities for quite a while now, so it's time to talk about quality. A calorie is not a calorie, and not all foods are the same. To maximize results, you have to do the right things to your body. Here is a shortlist of the right foods for every type of meal.

  • Breakfast (carbohydrates and protein)
    • Protein sources: egg white, protein powder, tuna, poultry
    • Carbohydrate sources: Fruit (1-2 pieces to fill the liver's glycogen stores), oatmeal, corn grits, sweet potatoes, high-fibre breakfast cereals, buckwheat pancakes (without syrup)

  • After training (carbohydrates and protein)
    • A protein + carbohydrate shake plus rice to cover the remaining carbohydrate needs

  • 60-90 minutes after training (carbohydrates and protein)
    • Protein sources: poultry, fish, shrimp, lean meat, protein powder
    • Carbohydrate sources: sweet potatoes, brown rice, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, corn grits

  • Protein + fat meals
    • Sources of protein: meat, fish, poultry, tuna, protein powder, eggs, ham, cottage cheese
    • Fat sources: the above-mentioned protein sources, fish oil, flax seeds
    • Green vegetables: 100-200g
Conclusion: "how to gain muscle"

If this article was a bit more complex than my usual remarks, I apologize. However, if you want to make the most of your diet, unfortunately, you cannot achieve this with one or two small modifications. It is important to pay attention to the details, and this will definitely pay off in the near future.

This type of diet has proven effective for most people. In the long run, this approach will lead to a more muscular and lean body. And it takes some work, but the effort will be rewarded!



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