Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Your Questions Answered By Tom Venuto

Question: What is a good diet to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time?

Answer: Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is possible, but it is the most difficult goal to accomplish and it is a very slow and inefficient process. It is common to see a large decrease in body fat accompanied by a small increase in lean body mass. It is also common to see a large increase in lean body mass accompanied by a small decrease in body fat. But one thing you will never see is a large increase in lean body mass and a large decrease in body fat simultaneously (especially if you are drug-free.)

Actually, the two goals are somewhat conflicting. In order to lose fat you need a calorie deficit. To gain lean body mass you need a calorie surplus. Therefore, there is a huge difference in the type of nutritional program you need to achieve these contrasting goals.

Charles Glass, one of the top trainers in the world for professional bodybuilders says, “While you are dieting and burning fat, you are not likely to add any more muscle. Burning fat and gaining muscle often do not go together. Concentrate totally on getting lean and defined during a pre-contest phase and forsake the thought of adding muscle to what should be an already prepared framework.”

While Glass was referring to bodybuilders preparing for a competition, the same holds true for anyone. The most efficient procedure is to decide which of the two is most important for you; fat loss or muscle gain, then focus all of your effort and energy on that single goal. Confucius said, “He who chases two rabbits catches neither.” I believe that is wise advice.

If you are determined to go after muscle gain and fat loss at the same time, probably the best way to do it is to cycle your calories up and down. Fred “Dr. Squat” Hatfield calls this the “Zig-Zag diet.” This way, you alternate periods of caloric surplus for muscle gain with periods of calorie deficit for fat loss.