Can You Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time?

Can You Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time?

For a long time many have believed that simultaneously building muscle while losing fat is impossible or only achievable by the highest tier of body builders. However, A recent study that was conducted by the McMaster University has revealed that the key to gaining muscle while losing fat may have been right in front of us all along. 

A handful of professors from the McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario set up a study in which 40 overweight men were put on a rigorous 4-week diet and exercise program. The men were split in half and made to consume either 1.2g or 2.4g of protein per kg of bodyweight each day. All of the subjects also had to consume 40% fewer calories than the amount needed to sustain their starting weight, while following a 6-day (per week) high intensity interval training regime.

At the conclusion of the study, the group of men consuming smaller portions of protein had lost an average of 3.6kgs of fat while the group consuming more protein lost 4.8kgs. This is actually quite a substantial loss if you consider that this took place over a 4-weeks period. If the men consuming 2.4g continued this regime for another 4 weeks, they would've lost almost 10kgs (not factoring homeostasis). On top of losing 4.8kgs of fat, the group consuming more protein gained an average of 1.13kgs of muscle during the study, while the other group did not lose or gain muscle. This means that the 2.4g protein group made back 24% of their lost fat in muscle.

So based on these findings, we may be able to achieve concurrent fat loss and muscle gain through cutting calories while upping protein intake. Obviously this diet will need to be supplemented with a fairly intense training regime (if trying to achieve a similar rate of fat loss/muscle gain). Other factors such as starting weight and body fat percentage are likely to produce different results for individuals that wouldn't be considered 'overweight'. Therefore, once more individuals of varying body types attempt and record this fitness program; we can then determine whether its a universal fat burn/muscle growth strategy.



T, M, Longland., S, Y, Oikawa., C, J, Mitchell., M, C, Devries. S, M, Phillips. (2016). Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

By Xavier Wills

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