There’s an ever-constant argument in the fitness industry. Should you lose weight before building muscle? The argument centers around you having to choose one before the other. You either choose to lose weight first before starting to build muscle, or build muscle and then shred the pounds. You just can’t do both at the same time! Some experts in the fitness world have countered this theory. Some believe both can be done simultaneously if you follow science.

Although, they admit gaining muscle while losing weight isn’t easy to achieve. As with anything you set your mind to, you can accomplish this if you’re truly dedicated!

Let’s look at the science

Basic science tells us you can’t turn body fat into muscle and vice versa. It’s simply impossible. Why? Because fat and muscles are two different types of body tissues. And if we probe further, we’ll notice one can’t be converted into the other, just like apples can’t be converted into mangoes.

That’s why it’s seen as problematic to gain muscle while you’re losing fat. To lose fat, you have to be calories deficient, and your body uses already stored calories for fuel to support the process. To gain muscles, you need to have a calorie surplus. You need extra calories to build bigger muscles. You’re beginning to see where the problem lies, right?

Building muscles while trying to lose weight can be achieved, but it requires discipline and determination. It involves putting yourself on a strict diet. This means what you consume needs to have fewer calories than the energy you expend building muscles.

When your body is calorie deficient, and you’re continually lifting weights, the body will look for an alternative source of energy, which is the fat you have stored in your body. But you have to be careful when trying to build muscles like this. This works best for people with too much fat in the body and new to heavy weight lifting.

According to medical and fitness experts, the best way to go about this dilemma is to do one before the other. It’s either you’re training to lose weight, or you’re training to build muscle. Doing both can be too complicated. You’ll often see this done in phases called ‘bulk up’ and ‘shredding.’ When you’re bulking up, you’re putting on weight to build muscle. In the shred phase, you’re lowering calorie intake to shred the extra fat to reveal the muscles underneath. For someone without a trainer, this is the best way to tone up, although it may be scary for some to go through the bulking phase.