Eugene Thong: Unless you’re a novice exerciser or someone’s who’s lost a lot of muscle and is regaining it, I’m afraid not. The reason for this, while physiologically complex, is logically simple – the body can’t make an apple into an orange.
In order to lose fat, your body must perform lipolysis – the breakdown of fat into its constituent parts – fatty acids and triglycerides – for utilization as an energy source by the cells of the body.
In order to gain muscle, your body must synthesize new muscle tissue from its constituent parts – amino acids. You can’t build muscle tissue from fatty acids, ergo, you can’t gain muscle and lose weight at the same time.
Here’s another way to think about it (again, greatly simplifying the very complex metabolic science) – think of your body as an ATM machine: Calories in vs. calories out. To build muscle, you need to take in more calories than you need in a day to run your body’s basic processes (since you can’t build muscle from fat). So, your bank balance must be positive.
To lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you need in a day to run your body’s basic processes (so your body is forced to withdraw the deficit from your “savings” – energy stores in your fat cells). In this scenario, your bank balance must be negative.
How can your bank balance be both positive and negative at the same time? You’re right; it can’t – and that’s why you can’t lose weight and gain muscle at the same time.
The novice exerciser seems to defy this basic law, but he really doesn’t. All that’s happening in this person is that they are so deconditioned that nearly any activity will cause the person to stimulate muscle gain in the absence of enough raw material to build muscle tissue.
Odd, but true. While this is a true scientific phenomenon, it doesn’t last long, and without enough calories (especially from protein sources), the novice’s gains will soon stall.
We go much deeper into the science of how this all works in our newest book, Mastering Metabolism. It’s in the editing stages now and should be ready for purchase soon. If you’re interested in how these mechanisms work, and more importantly, how to manipulate these processes for maximum fat loss and muscle gain, then consider taking a look at it. Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org for pre-order information.
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