Ask The Trainer #136 – Build Muscle While Losing Fat

Ask The Trainer #136 - Build Muscle While Losing Fat

QUESTION:

Hello I’ve been lifting on and off for a few years now and have experienced mild gains, but in the spring I tried to shed a lot of fat too quickly and lost most of my muscle gains. This year I am wanting to try and do it the right way by gradually build muscle while losing fat. What would be the best supplement stack for me?

Shane


ANSWER:

Hi Shane. There are a few supplements on the market that I think will help amplify your objectives.

But before I get into that, I’ll start with this: It’s absolutely possible to simultaneously build muscle and lose fat. People tend to get off course when they go to extremes. For example, by over exercising and/or cutting calories too quickly. Yes, you must lift weights to build muscle. But, most people unwittingly merge into an “all or nothing” approach, thinking this will expedite the muscle building process.

What they don’t understand is that exercise is beneficial ONLY up to the point their body can recover from it. An intense 45-minute weight training session will generally be very productive for most people. Anything longer will likely be overkill for most trainees, resulting in overtraining syndrome. This is a condition where Muscle protein breaks down faster than it can recover in this condition.

The only exceptions are those rare individuals blessed with an extraordinary recovery ability or chemical enhanced trainees. When you continually overtrain, you eventually begin losing muscle and strength as your cortisol levels surge. Your testosterone and growth hormone levels also plummet. This muscle loss results in a slower metabolic rate, which makes it more difficult to lose fat. That said, going from little or no weight training to 2-3 hour lifting sessions is a very BAD idea! Limit yourself to no more than 1 hour per session.

Cutting Calories

Obviously, you must cut calories to lose fat. But, cutting calories too drastically is self-defeating. Where a lot of people mess up is going from 4000 calories per day diet to only 1000 calories. Often times they will simultaneously over-exercise, which sabotages their goals even faster. Most people can cut their calories by 1/3 and still consume enough to support muscle growth while losing fat. However, many people use extreme diet protocols that create a calorie deficit too drastic to gain any muscle.

So, if you’re consuming around 3000 calories per day, it would be reasonable to eliminate 700-1000 calories out of your diet each day, in conjunction with a consistent, daily exercise regimen. At this rate, you should be able to lose 2 pounds of fat each week, give or take, depending on your metabolism. If you begin to consistently lose more than 3 pounds each week, you’re likely losing some muscle and will want to increase your daily calorie intake a bit.


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There are many sports nutrition supplements on the market targeted at consumers looking to lose fat and build muscle. In this modern day, it seems everyone and their uncle has some new, so-called “cutting-edge”, miracle supplement they’re trying to launch into the industry. Many of these products seem appealing and exotic at face value, but from a scientific perspective, they offer little to no value to consumers.

Base Supplements

This is why I always recommend beginning with a base of supplements I know have been thoroughly researched and have also withstood the test of time to demonstrate their value and safety to the consumer. That said, these are the first supplements you should consider: branched chain amino acids, creatine, a quality metabolic enhancer, and whey protein.  Since I know EFX Sports is a reputable brand of exceptional quality, I’m going to suggest a few popular supplements on their roster I feel confident recommending…

  1. Training Ground BCAA:

    Branched Chain amino acids activate a catalyst known in the biochemistry world as – mTOR, a protein complex that works as a signaling mechanism to increase protein synthesis in the body. These means more sufficient recovery, which in turn leads to more productive muscle gains. BCAAs also support numerous other functions in the body the body like transporting oxygen, producing energy, and stabilizing blood sugar levels. Free-form BCAAs produce the greatest benefits when taken on an empty stomach before, during, and after workouts.

  2. Kre Alkalyn:

    This is a buffered form of creatine monohydrate. It has been formulated to be compatible with the pH of the human body so it will assimilate more efficiently and won’t result in bloating or gastric distress the way a lot of other creatine supplements do. Creatine supports the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s primary energy chemical that is most significant to athletes, or people looking to improve their physical performance. Research demonstrates creatine can improve strength and anaerobic power output. Moreover, creatine serves an important role in boosting protein synthesis to enhance lean muscle gains, increasing cellular hydration levels, preventing the decline of ATP synthesis, and preventing mitochondrial damage to DNA caused by reactive oxygen species, or ROS.

  3. Lean Fix:

    This has been my favorite metabolic enhancer for the last 6 years. Lean Fix contains a blend of herbal ingredients that help increase your metabolism, stabilize blood sugar levels to keep hunger in check, and also eliminate excess water retention in the body. Lean Fix does have a mild stimulant effect which is welcomed by most consumers looking for an energy boost. But, this product doesn’t contain exorbitant amounts of potent stimulants the way that many other metabolic boosters do, which often times result in unwanted side effects like a racing heart rate, lightheadedness, anxiety, or gastrointestinal discomfort.

  4. Training Ground Pure Whey:

    Since whey protein digests more rapidly than other sources of protein. This trait makes it a great protein source for increasing protein synthesis. Pure Whey protein shakes are ideal to use to bridge gaps between your main meals when you’re feeling hungry, or even craving something sweet. Besides supporting muscle growth, quality whey protein such as Pure Whey also contributes to the synthesis of L Glutathione. It’s known as the master antioxidant in the body because it helps detoxify the body and liver. Additionally, whey protein concentrate contains naturally occurring lactoferrin and immunoglobins, which contribute to maintaining a healthy immune system.

I could throw many things related to diet, training, and supplements at you. But, people have much greater success when you keep things simple and lay out the basic fundamentals of any subject. I hope this information helps shed some light on your question.

I wish you all the best of success in actualizing your fitness goals!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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