Building Muscle and Losing Fat Simultaneously: Debunking the Myth


In the realm of fitness, the common belief has been that building muscle and losing fat at the same time is nearly impossible. Many individuals advocate for separate phases of bulking and cutting to achieve desired results. However, recent scientific evidence challenges this traditional notion. This article aims to shed light on the possibility of body recomposition and provide practical steps for achieving this goal.

Dispelling the Myth

Traditionally, bodybuilders believed that a significant caloric surplus was necessary for muscle gain, followed by a cutting phase to reduce body fat for competition. However, a 2013 study by Garth and colleagues found that even when subjects were overfed by 600 extra calories per day, they gained minimal muscle but experienced significant fat mass increase. This challenges the idea that a massive surplus is required for muscle growth.

The Possibility of Body Recomposition:

While bulking and cutting have their merits in specific circumstances, it is essential to understand that muscle and fat are separate systems in the body. Therefore, it is possible to build muscle without a large caloric surplus or any surplus at all. This opens the door to the concept of body recomposition, where individuals can simultaneously build muscle and lose fat.

Realistic Scenarios for Body Recomposition

Contrary to the belief that body recomposition is limited to a few specific and obscure situations, it can be a realistic goal for a broader population. Several scenarios make body recomposition achievable:

  1. New Lifters: Beginners have the advantage of being highly responsive to muscle growth stimuli. With proper progressive resistance training and a reasonable diet, new lifters can build muscle while losing fat effortlessly.
  2. Overweight Individuals: Those with a high percentage of body fat can create a caloric deficit and still have sufficient energy reserves in stored body fat to fuel the muscle-building process.
  3. Detrained Individuals: People who previously had significant muscle mass but stopped training due to various reasons can leverage the muscle memory effect. They can quickly regain lost muscle, making body recomposition a common outcome.
  4. Anabolic Steroids: While not recommended for everyone, the use of anabolic steroids can accelerate muscle gain, allowing the body to tap into fat stores to fuel muscle growth.

Moreover, even individuals who have been training for years but have not optimized their efforts or nutrition may fall into the category of sub-optimized trainees. Body recomposition is still possible for these individuals with improved training and nutritional strategies.

Steps for Achieving Body Recomposition

To achieve body recomposition effectively, follow these essential steps::

  1. Prioritize Progressive Training: Progressive resistance training is the driving force behind body recomposition. Without a proper training stimulus, optimal diet alone won’t lead to significant muscle growth. Focus on progressive overload, technique, and effort to maximize results.
  2. Determine Your Primary Goal: While the aim is to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously, it is crucial to establish which goal takes priority. Based on your current body fat percentage and individual preferences, determine whether muscle gain or fat loss should be the primary focus.
  3. Adjust Caloric Intake: Set your caloric intake around maintenance calories, the amount required to maintain your current weight. If building muscle is your primary goal, enter a slight caloric surplus (5-25% above maintenance). For fat loss, enter a slight caloric deficit (10-20% below maintenance). The deficit or surplus can vary based on individual factors.
  4. Optimize Macronutrient Intake: Protein intake plays a crucial role in body recomposition. Based on lean body mass, adjust your protein intake accordingly. Additionally, set your fat intake at a minimum of 20% of caloric intake and fill the.


Contrary to the traditional belief, body recomposition, the simultaneous process of building muscle and losing fat, is a realistic goal for many individuals. By following the steps outlined in this article and staying consistent with your training and nutrition, you can achieve the body composition you you desire. If you need help finding the right training program or nutrition progam feel free to contact me.

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