What’s Most Important: Building Muscle or Losing Fat?
The first step in any fitness strategy is to determine what your goals are. Building muscle, getting shredded or maintaining what you have achieved. Regardless knowing your body composition is the right way to start your journey. It’s important to understand that body weight and body composition are not equal. You could be on what you think is an awesome diet plan and in the meantime your weightless is truly water and muscle loss, a worst case scenario.
So you need to answer the question, “What’s more important to me, losing as much fat as possible, or preserving the muscle that I have, or building new muscle?” If you decide that losing as much fat as possible is your priority, you’re likely going to lose some lean body mass. If you’re focused on building your lean body mass, you will likely add some fat mass.
Focus on your First Fitness Goal
As you begin your fitness training plan, focus on the health and fitness goal you want to achieve first: either losing fat mass or gaining lean body mass.
Losing Fat Mass
Ready to burn some fat, you will need to put your body in a caloric deficit state in order to burn more calories than you take in to help transition to a catabolic dominate state. The combination of reducing calories and increased exercise via resistance training and cardiovascular exercise is the fastest and safest way to cut extra fat.
Once you begin dieting and exercising properly, body composition testing will allow you to monitor fat loss and to determine you are losing fat and not lean body mass. If your results show you are meeting your goals, you know you want to continue with the program.
Unfortunately, with being catabolic for long periods of time, you’ll start to see losses in your lean body mass as you continue to lose weight. If you have been performing strength training before cutting, you’ll likely experience some loss in strength.
Gain Lean Body Mass
In contrast to losing fat, if you want to gain lean body mass, you need to have a caloric surplus. Each day you will need to have additional calories beyond what you need for the day. In order to convert those additional calories into muscle, you’ll need to work hard by lifting heavy and often.
Unfortunately, gaining muscle is a slower process than losing fat. Because of this it’s important to not “bulk’ too fast. If you are doing it properly, you should see a gain in lean body mass, with little to no gain in Fat Mass. If your results show what you are looking for, continue to train. Similar to dieting, you’ll eventually start to get the unwanted effects – this time by adding fat during the bulking process. Don’t panic, as long as the bulk of your gains is in lean body mass. Additionally this cause your body fat percentage to decrease, despite your fat gains, as body fat percentage is a ration of fat to muscle.
Remember adding fat mass is easy, muscle mass is hard. However, both can be accomplished independently, or at the same time – depending on how fast you want results!