Brad Borland takes a closer look at building muscle while burning fat and whether it really is possible to do both!.
A ripped, muscular physique is the goal of most, if not all bodybuilders and fitness buffs alike. As summer approaches we all start thinking about getting lean after a long fall and winter of bulking and packing on real muscular bodyweight. But in the process of all that bulking we seemed to have let our abs fade in the place of strength and mass gains. So it is time once gain to shred up, lean down and turn into a ripped piece of art we all envision ourselves to be – but for you, this time will be different.
Do you often find yourself at a crossroads regarding keeping your hard-earned mass that you so tirelessly worked towards only to see it dwindle away as you diet down? Are you a “hardgainer” that has to fight for every ounce of muscle scared to death of reducing calories to get a more muscular midsection? More calories in equals more mass and fewer calories in equals less body fat – and it’s one or the other – right?
The age-old question if is it possible to gain muscle and burn fat simultaneously has been debated for many years. There are so many opinions from experts to people in the trenches that it is very difficult to sift through to the facts. Most will tell you that you must choose between the two in order to reach optimum success and that attempting both at the same time is futile. So why not just give up, reduce calories and sacrifice the muscle for better abs and more muscular arms. Because you are better than that! You will find a way and put into practice a concise plan of action to reach your ultimate potential. The guidelines and plan included here are designed to help you not only keep, but build muscle while simultaneously burn body fat. It can be done with a little planning, discipline and hard work.
The Right Amounts
One of the single, most imperative principles in this plan is to eat the right amounts of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats). By manipulating these foods and staying strict with the guidelines your goals will soon be in range. Diet is so important that without adhering to these principles you will surely never reach your physique goals.
Protein: As the main source for building muscle, protein is absolutely necessary for your muscle-building strategy. Take in around 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight (this equates to 180-270 grams for a 180 pound individual). This will guarantee that your muscles will be getting the correct dose of amino acids for maintaining and building muscle tissue. Some prime sources are chicken, lean steak, fish, turkey, ground meat, eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and protein powders.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrate is a great muscle-sparing energy source. This particular macronutrient will be drastically manipulated as the diet plan goes along and will play a major roll in its success so be extremely mindful of your intake on a daily basis. Be sure to have an intake mainly of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Sources include brown rice, wild rice, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, wheat pasta, vegetables, some fruits and Ezekiel products.
Fats: Never count out a healthy fat. Certain fats are essential regarding maintaining hormones such as testosterone, increasing fat burning and aiding energy levels. Healthy fats will be utilized to replace carbohydrate on certain days to keep blood sugar levels steady and help with satiety. Good sources include avocado, walnuts, almonds, olive oil, natural peanut butter, some egg yolks and sunflower seeds.
Light the Furnace!
Now let’s look at how we can implement these macronutrients and manipulate them in such a way as to build more strength and mass while torching our fat stores. Protein levels will stay somewhat the same throughout the plan. You need that steady stream of amino acids to feed to the muscles for recuperation and repair to take place. Try out one gram per pound of bodyweight and assess your progress. If you find yourself stalling, try to up it to 1.25 or 1.5 grams per pound and then reassess. That is about as high as you will want to go with protein – the rest is up to carbohydrate and fat manipulation. Give each change in protein amount about four weeks before reassessing.
Here is the tricky part. Now you will start to manipulate carbohydrate in such a way as to trick the body into delving into its fat stores for fuel. You will have high, medium and low consumption days. You will eat low carbs for two to four days followed by medium and high days. On the low days your body will burn fat for fuel and save muscle so as long as your protein intake is high enough. Before you starve your body of energy after so many days of low carbs (which if prolonged could lead to lower testosterone levels and metabolism) you will have a day of moderate carbs and another day of high carbs. This will shuttle in fuel to the muscle, rev back up your metabolism and be burned without storing body fat. Carbohydrate intake will be approximately .5 grams per pound of bodyweight for low days (90 grams for a 180 pounder), 1.5 grams per pound on medium days (270 grams) and 2.25 grams per pound on high days (405 grams).
Fat intake should hover around .25 grams per pound of bodyweight or 20-30% of total calories. However, on low carbohydrate days it would be wise to increase your healthy fat intake slightly. This will ensure your hormone levels will stay steady and will supply you with ample energy for your grueling workouts. On the low carb days simply increase your fat intake by 50%. Remember that one gram of fat has over twice the amount of calories of carbs, so a little goes a long way. For example, if you had half of an avocado on a salad, now on low carb days you will eat ¾ of an avocado.
The Muscle-Building Fat-Torching Sample Diet
Low Carbohydrate Days
Medium Carbohydrate Days
High Carbohydrate Days