Gaining mass and fat loss simultaneously: how possible?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 03, 2007 8:39 PM GMT
    Okay, so I constantly try to think of different ways to engage myself in my workouts and I like it when I get results. Now, I'm not in any hurry, but I was wondering if anyone had any PLAUSIBLE theories regarding simultaneous muscle mass gains and fat loss?

    Would it be more plausible to alternate between a mass building phase and fat loss phase?

    My original thinking would be one week for each one, alternating back and forth, but that might be too taxing on the body, so I was also thinking of every two weeks. Adjusts the workouts (times, frequencies, workloads, instances of cardio), adjust the caloric consumption, and any other variable that I cannot think of at the moment.

    What are people's thoughts?
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    Jul 03, 2007 11:19 PM GMT
    I honestly don't know for sure, but I'm trying to to the same thing. My trainer has me heavy on weight training (six days a week, one to one-and-a-half hours a go) and on a 2,500-calorie-a-day diet (10% fat, 50% carb, 40% protein). I get cardio in by biking to and from work, and I get extra activity by walking throughout the day as well. What I've found so far is that I'm putting on some mass and slowly, slowly taking off extra weight.
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2613

    Jul 03, 2007 11:48 PM GMT
    I`ve been on an exercise program of three running sessions a week,up to eighty minutes a session;and two weight training sessions,up to eighty minutes as well.Mostly this has been done off my own back,some of it learned from exercise manuals,or from internet websites.Since last August I`ve lost substantial amounts of fat from around the stomach area;my whole lower body has lost fat and gained muscle/become more toned;and my upper body has gained muscle,definition,shoulders have broadened out,arm muscles got bigger,more defined;my abdominals have become more defined as well;calves have got bigger,etc.My times have improved,weights lifted/repetitions pulled have gone up,etc.Overall,I`ve lost a stone in weight at least.To explain this...?The running has burned off the fat.I`ve actually pushed my body into frequent,repeated ketosis.It`s also strengthened/developed muscles in my lower body.The upper body has been strenghtened/developed muscle due to the weight training;the abdominals have emerged due to exercises like sit-ups and the fat burning of the running.My protein intake is substantially higher now than before last August,so that`s the muscle source.The overall changes are a leaner,more muscled/toned,aerobically fit body!Sorry for the lenghthy description,but to me,doing the exercises simultaneously,or daily alternation worked for me.Now I`m at my ideal weight,I`ve increased my calorie intake to prevent further weight loss.Hope this is some use to you,ChicGymGeek?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 04, 2007 1:51 PM GMT
    I think it really all depends on your body type. I am between an Endomorph and a Mesomorph. I tend to carry stubborn belly fat (i.e., Endomorph), but am otherwise mostly/naturally lean-to-normal (Mesomorph). My decade plus of serious running (including a marathon, half-marathons, 10Ks and 20-30 miles of running per week) never resulted in killer abs, despite the fact that I did a ton of ab work during that time. In fact, after my marathon, I was down to 181 lbs. but I still had a bit of a paunch.

    Take this simple body type test and then formulate a regimen based upon the suggestions for your particular body type:

    By the way, the Body for Life guys don't really recommend a lot of cardio for building mass. 20 minute interval training 3x per week is probably appropriate for mass building.
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Jul 04, 2007 2:52 PM GMT
    The answer is: It depends.

    When you first begin training then it's usually possible for a brief period.

    If you have the right body (one that puts on muscle easily) then you can, to a limited extent.

    Mostly though, the answer is no. And here's the reason why...

    Building muscle requires building mass. It's very difficult to build mass in one part of your body while you're trying to lose mass in another part. For the most part, if you want to gain muscle, you have to eat more than you're burning, so there's some left over to build those muscles with. If you want to lose fat, you have to eat LESS than you're burning, so your body has to go into reserves. The problem being, our bodies are jealously protective of fat reserves, so the first place they look for fast energy is... your muscles. That's why you have to pump protein hard when you're trying to lose weight in order to not lose muscle mass. You have to make sure there's tons of broken down muscle (the protein you're eating) around so that your body uses that in combination with the fat stores, rather than those biceps you've worked so hard on.

    Biology is fun.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 04, 2007 6:41 PM GMT
    Yes, biology is fun, at times.

    And I do realize that simultaneous, at the same time, the body cannot gain muscle mass and lose body fat to a very pronounced level, but here's what I was suggesting.

    Dedicate a period of time, say two weeks, to building muscle mass, so you are consuming more calories than you are using, then the next two weeks switch over to a fat loss regimen of consuming less calories than you are using. From a biological viewpoint, DiverScience, is this something on the average person be too taxing on the human body and systems, or not?
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    Jul 05, 2007 2:34 PM GMT
    What you're asking about is certainly possible. Practically my whole client roster is doing it. In fact, building muscle helps you lose fat.

    Are they on an all-out program to gain muscle? No. Not at all. They're after moderate gains. But by close attention to nutrition and a well-structured and well-paced exercise program, they can and DO burn off body fat while building muscle.

    The bulk-up (with fat) and cut-down (with muscle loss) approach to bodybuilding is pretty dated, if taken to extreme. Most analyses I've seen suggest that taking that approach costs you so much muscle on the down side that you're better off keeping your overall body fat level no higher than about 12-14%. Bompa, for example, contends that 12% is plenty high enough to be anabolic.

    Geek, I suggest you go back to some of the basic authorities in the sport - Bompa, Hatfield, etc. and read what they've written.

    Good luck!

  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Jul 05, 2007 3:19 PM GMT
    Ah, yes, what you are describing is a "Bulking and Cutting Cycle."

    However, mostly the cycles are longer than the two weeks you're suggesting.

    Check out:

    Neither definitive sources, but both have good info.

    Mostly people do bulking and cutting by setting specific goals for each. X pounds of gain or x inches on their chest and then x poounds of loss or "until I can see my hams again."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 05, 2007 3:38 PM GMT
    Thanks guys. Yeah, usually bodybuilders cutting and bulking phases last for longer periods of time, like an entire season, all of winter or summer.

    Do you think that a two week, or even a four week, period, going back and forth between phases would be too much on the body?
  • DiverScience

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    Jul 05, 2007 6:44 PM GMT
    Four weeks is conceivable.

    The real question is, why would you do it that way? Personally I opted for a longer bulking cycle (almost a year) to bulk more slowly so I could make sure it was more lean muscle and less fat.

    From my own experience I wouldn't suggest less than a 6 or 8 week cycle because it takes at least 2-3 for your body to get into any given workout regimen, and you don't usually reach peak efficiency at that workout for 3 or so more (as you get used to the motions and such).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 05, 2007 9:02 PM GMT
    Just curious as to how to take full advantage of my time. That's all. I figured if the stress to induce growth and fat loss was constantly being changed up between the two, the body would react in a more pronounced fashion.

    If that makes sense to you....

    It did in my head.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 14, 2007 6:15 PM GMT
    I think it is a common misconception that you decrease your gain in muscle mass by doing cardio, lifting light, etc. Losing fat and gaining muscle are two completely different body processes and burning calories doesn't keep your body from gaining muscle. The fat loss portion is determined by your diet and how many calories you burn; and the muscle gain is directly related to how much you lift as well as how your body responds to lifting. Everyone is different.
  • dionysus

    Posts: 420

    Jul 14, 2007 10:58 PM GMT
    ive found that if you maintain the workouts you're doing and then also throw in a nice cardio session of sprints, you activate the cardiovascular workout without enough time based on endurance running to actually cut down on the muscle mass you've been gaining. that's worked for me in the past.

    But in all honesty, there's too many variables dependant on your size and genetic make-up. some people don't even have to workout and turn around with the body of a roman god. but, worse comes to worst, you can stick with the bulking and cutting phase, makes life easy.
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    Jul 14, 2007 10:59 PM GMT
    The answer to that question is anabolic steroids.
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    Jul 15, 2007 3:08 AM GMT
    Sorry but I don't see any fantastic results coming out of these really small mini-cycles you are talking about. You won't even give your body enough time to get used to being in an anabolic state for any real mass to come on before you go into a cutting phase again. Bodybuilders typically take a longer approach to bulking and cutting, even if not taken to the extreme and a clean bulk is used with minimal cutting phases.

    That being said, there are a couple ways to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. One, as stated above, is anabolic steroids. There are ways to do it naturally, too. John Berardi, a nutritionist/trainer/scientist has based his whole business around the optimization of metabolism. He calls his principle "G-Flux" and it involves increasing both energy output (exercise in any form) and input (healthy, clean food). He believes that by increasing your metabolic rate through both exercise and large quantities of clean food, you can ramp up your rate of tissue turnover to the point that you will build muscle and burn fat simultaneously. He has hundreds of successful clients and it has worked for them.

    He recommends at least 5 hours of exercise per week, with 8+ being more optimal, to begin getting into this state of "G-Flux". And his caloric recommendations are ENORMOUS. He has a website with articles about it, if you are interested just run a google search on it.

    Hope that helps.
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    Jul 15, 2007 8:51 AM GMT
    Here's my opinion..... Nobody really mentioned diet.You have to eat alot of protein and your meals should b every 3 to 4 hours. As everyone stated you need to limit the cardio to 30 min and only 3 times a week max. the metabolism is revved up with the food every couple hours thats the key.

    Also, I have to say the guy who started the forum, it's ok to have a fit athletic body, that is a bigger turn on to me than a big bodybuilder.... You should train for what you enjoy not for what others want you to look like. Be yourself.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 15, 2007 4:09 PM GMT
    The answer to the original question posted depends on what kind of body type you are and whether you have a fast or slow metabolism.

    If you have a fast metabolism and find it hard to gain muscle weight, stop doing all cardio and concentrate on heavy weights, low reps. When you get to the size you want to be, then return to cardio to get definition. It's almost impossible to bulk up and cut up at the same time. Even if you're on a strict diet, when you bulk up, some of the weight goes to your waist. Accept the waist increase until your bulk up, then resume cardio and start cutting up.

    If you have a slow metabolism and have to watch your weight, do LOTS of cardio and light weights and high reps. You can get big doing light weights. It just takes more time than doing heavy weights.

    Here are more tips from another one of my web sites:

    "People often ask me for workout tips on line and in person. Here are two that will transform your body. I promise.

    I used to be thin and found it impossible to gain a pound no matter how much I stuffed myself. Here are my "Before & After" pix. The "Before" pic is scary!

    Then I read Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1978 autobiography. It was mostly inane drivel, but the last chapters contained incredible workout routines. I found his "forced reps" especially useful. Before I started doing forced reps, people told me I had a swimmer's body. A few months after I started doing forced reps, guys at the gym would ask me if I were getting ready for a contest!

    This is what forced reps are: For your last set of bench presses, ask a passerby to spot you. Pack on so much weight you can only do one rep by yourself. Then have the spotter "force" or help you do an additional three or four reps. Then look in the mirror! The pump is so dramatic after even one set of forced reps you won't recognize the stranger staring back at you in the mirror. I am not exaggerating. You can also do forced reps with the military press, preacher bench curl (the best exercise for bulking up AND defining your biceps), lat pull-downs on the machine and my personal bete noire, squats. (yechh!)

    Conversely, if you have to watch your weight and merely looking in the refrigerator seems to add five pounds to your frame, THE best way to speed up your metabolism, burn fat and NEVER diet again is kickboxing or any other form of martial arts. You will also never spend another boring minute on the treadmill or Stairmaster either. And you won't run to your car on a dark street, clutching your keys so you can jump in fast, afraid of muggers.

    Kickboxing is an incredible cardio workout. Martial arts (boxing, Tae Bo etc.) are a big yuppie fad right now and many gyms offer free classes. Check out the gyms in your area.

    I punch and kick the bag on the second floor of Gold's Hollywood twice a week for an hour each time without taking a break. That's like doing 10,000 reps with a light dumbbell. No amount of light weights/high reps will cut you up like that. Every so often, I see competitive bodybuilders staring at me at the gym. I'm certain they're asking themselves, "What steroid is he doing that I'm not that makes him so ripped?" Sometimes, they come up to me and ask me that question in a roundabout way!

    I'll get off my soapbox now. See you at the gym!"


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 16, 2007 1:22 AM GMT
    Hey CGGeek. As a PFT, I tell my clients the same thing, if you want to lose weight, you are advised to do cardio. It's all related to your MHR, or more particularly, exercising at about 80% of that. You really need that intensity for 30 minutes or more / day otherwise you are just fooling yourself. That does not preclude pumping iron, it is in addition to it. I also suggest that if time is at a premium, skip the weights and do the cardio. Your body will thank you for it later.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 16, 2007 2:10 AM GMT
    Everything here is pretty good, however, one thing was missed: you need to go see your doctor about anti-aging meds and get your testosterone bumped up. That'll make a world of difference. Besides preventing Alzeimher's and Parkinson's, have increased mood, and better recovery, you'll protect your heart and live longer. Now is the time.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 20, 2007 5:49 AM GMT
    Last I heard, Testosterone is an anabolic steroid, so we are back to that as one meaningful way to simultaneously achieve both goals. Eating right is essential, but also the problem. Without A/S, the way to gain mass is to eat a lot of the right foods. However, excess calories required to put on muscles do not lend themselves to losing fat at the same time. Steroids allow you to put on muscle without the surplus of proteins and calories, as the make the conversion to muscle mass much more efficient.
    I'm not advocating everyone take A/S, I'm just proposing the only real solution to how to gain mass and loose fat simultaneously.

    I concur that if you are Test deficient, as I personally am, it is essential to get the "hormone replacement" therapy, namely injections of Test, for all the stated reasons. This, unfortunately, is not a bodybuilder dose, so probably wouldn't be enough to allow for mass gain/fat loss at once.