“Suns out guns out”.

That’s the mantra that most of us go by, but if you want to be able to get your whole birthday suit out all year round, here are 3 key points for how to lose FAT and gain MUSCLE.

Before we talk about the three key points, let’s cover some basic terminology so we ground the conversation. To lose fat and gain muscle isn’t easy, but can be done. More commonly, however, gym conversations centre around bulking and cutting.

Bulking and Cutting

If you’re a regular to the gym or participate in any weight training-based sports such as bodybuilding or powerlifting then chances are, if you haven’t done so yourself, you’ve heard of people bulking or cutting.  Bulking refers to the process of eating in a calorie surplus and lifting weights with the goal of increasing your muscle mass. For many people on a bulk, a degree of fat gain also occurs. A cut refers to the process of eating in a calorie deficit, with the goal of decreasing fat mass, to reveal the muscles below that have resulted from the hard work you put in during your bulk.

Body recomposition is how to lose fat and gain muscle

Building muscle while decreasing fat mass, otherwise known as body recomposition, is possible although it does require a good amount of nutritional and exercise knowledge. Recomposition is easier to achieve if you are untrained or have a higher body fat percentage, but it can be achieved by anyone with the right know-how and importantly, self-discipline.

Simon Stockton, is the owner of Ironclad Fitness based in Brisbane and is an expert in body recomposition. He explains the three most important things you need to do lose fat while gaining muscle.

The three best ways to achieve body decomposition:

1. Maintain a calorie deficit.

Eat at a slight calorie deficit in order to draw energy from your fat tissue and become leaner.  Those with a higher body fat percentage and achieve recomposition with a more aggressive deficit. The leaner you are to begin with, the smaller your calorie deficit can be, as you have less fat to burn. The leaner you are, the better knowledge of nutrition either you or your coach need to have, and the more disciplined you need to be.

Think practically. If your body wants to build and repair, it needs energy to increase muscle mass. If you want to reduce your body fat, your body must burn more calories than your intake. The balance you need to strike on these two fronts is real. Too high a calorie deficit and your body will metabolize muscle to make up the difference if your calorie intake is too low.

2. Have a high protein intake.

Keep protein intake high – Consume least 1.7g / kg of body weight per day, and up to 2.4g per kg of body weight if you are very lean. A high protein intake will help you maintain, if not build muscle mass, when you are in calorie deficit (1). High protein intake will ensure that your consumed calories have less risk of being higher than you need as well.

3. Maintain and push your training intensity.

Stay on top of your progress in the gym. Lift heavy, and keep the intensity if your workouts high for maximum stimulation of muscle synthesis. Brad Schoenfeld is an expert in body recomposition talks more about training for increasing muscle mass in this article. There is no way around it, to build muscle you constantly need to either increase the weight your body can move or reduce the time it takes you to shift a certain weight. These two training methods are employed by your big three mechanisms of hypertrophy; mechanical tension, metabolic stress and muscle damage. You can read more about these three mechanisms and how to train with them here.

Hitting your optimal protein target

For some people, especially those who have a higher body weight, hitting their protein target can be tricky, and this is where VPA can help. Our WPI comes in 14 flavors and will help you easily add protein to your diet without adding to your carbohydrate and fat intake.  We have vegans and dairy intolerant nutrition covered too with either our Pea Protein or our certified vegan Premium Plant protein which provides you with all of your essential amino acids.

Gaining muscle and losing fat is doable

If you can hit your optimum calorie intake at a slight energy deficit, keep your protein intake up and keep adding to your muscles workload over time, shredding fat and gaining muscle mass is doable, its just lots of hard work. But so is anything that’s worth doing.