Can you lose fat and gain muscle at the same time?

Body re-composition

What is it? Basically, fat loss/muscle gain.

Is it possible to do simultaneously? Typically, no, you would want to periodize your plan and either create a deficit for fat loss or a small surplus for muscle gain, but under the right circumstances yes you can see recomp.

For newbies, we see it all the time. You have never committed to a structured exercise program, you have never dieted down before, you are basically every coach and trainer’s ideal client, a fresh canvas. In this scenario, it is possible to simultaneously lose body fat and gain muscle, assuming your new exercise routine involves weight training. So, if you are considering a new exercise routine, start with strength training!

When it comes to more experienced individuals who have been exercising for years it gets more complicated, but under certain conditions it is doable. Your training HAS to be dialed in and geared towards lifting first and foremost, and it does work best when the training method is somewhat new, without that it’s just not going to happen. As far as nutrition you wouldn’t eat in a calorie deficit nor a surplus, you would work to find your maintenance calories.

You would then cruise there eating your “maintenance” for 2-3 months. During this time with deliberate full body strength training you CAN see fat loss and muscle gain. During this time, the scale may not move much at all, but you may appear smaller. Measurements will drop, and clothes will fit more comfortably.

I have few clients who have been able to achieve this recently and I have been working on it myself since October. My original plan was to drop into a fat loss phase right away this fall, but after finding maintenance and seeing results while staying there, I switched gears and leaned in hard on new programming.

Eliminating all CrossFit or HIIT, or basically any cardio with weights. Going for more traditional body building upper/body split and completely separating my cardio from my strength training. Sticking to the bike as my sole source of cardiovascular exercise a couple times a week. You don’t necessarily need cardio during this time, but I include for health and because I do enjoy having it apart of my program. With a little patience, I saw 2.5 inches come off of my waist, the scale only dropped 3 pounds during this time. I am assuming that is mostly if not all water weight as most of it came off in the first two weeks of being full on back with tracking and weighing after a summer off.

This is a great example of how progress is not dictated by the scale, had I used the scale as my only measure of success I would have quit. Less food is not always the answer, especially if you have been chronically dieting. The scale may not move but that doesn’t mean you are not making good progress!

I finally started a fat loss phase two weeks ago and since then dropped another 3 pounds. Arguably giving my body that time to feel safe and well fed will make this cut that much easier.

Have you had a successful recomp? Questions? Drop them below or reach out.