The Two Keys For Eating To Gain Muscle While Simultaneously Shedding Fat
I’ve found two specific eating habits that are essential if you want to gain muscle and shed fat at the same time.
Before I share them, and conclude this series, let’s get some assumptions on the table:
- You are not fat now, but still want to get leaner
- You want to gain muscle AND lose fat at the same time
- You are willing to have each of those goals progress more slowly in combination than if you focused on only one at a time; but you still want good progress on both
- I assume you are using a decent lifting routine
- I assume you are eating healthy food, in a good mix of proteins, carbs, and fats; if you don’t know the basics, then refer to Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle or 3 Months To A New You.
Ok , so rather than tease you, I’ll state the two keys upfront:
a) Gradually increase your overall calories to a point far above what you think you should be eating
b) Use the zig-zag calorie method
Last week I shared a 5-step strategy about how to gradually increase your caloric intake.
Now let’s talk about that “zig-zag method”… (more…)
Why Skinny Guys Stay Skinny
This is Part 2 of a series on how to eat right to gain muscle. Click here for part 1. This article (part 2) has three sections
- one about why skinny guys stay skinny,
- another about how to get yourself to eat more, and
- the real secret to gaining muscle fastest from your diet.
Then next week I’ll share the advanced eating technique to actually gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, plus I’ll include a few sample menus!
The biggest mistake skinny guys make, when starting to lift, is not eating enough. Oh, they think they are eating enough. But they aren’t. They think they are in Case 5 above but really they are in Case 4 (see last post).
Look at a skinny guy who isn’t lifting. He’s currently skinny, right, so that means he’s not eating excess calories.
Now start him lifting on a decent muscle building program. Lifting heavy weights burns calories during the activity and also burns more after the activity. If he’s still eating the same amount as he was before, then he’ll actually lose mass!
This is compounded by the fact that the skinny guy isn’t happy about his muscle size, but he likes being able to see his abs. (Yeah, but you can see his ribs too!) So he absolutely doesn’t want to get fat. He just wants more muscle. As we’ll see, this constraint comes back to haunt him.
Of course he’ll have heard from his buddies that he needs to eat more. Plus, he’ll naturally be more hungry. So chances are he would increase how much he eats, right?
But most skinny guys only end up eating a little bit more. They eat enough to prevent muscle loss, but not enough to really grow muscles.
An Example Might Help
Let’s take an example of a skinny guy: 6 feet tall, 150 pounds, 10% bodyfat. So he’s not too skinny, he’s got a thin layer of muscle because he’s an active guy, but he’s now going to start lifting. His target is to get to 180 pounds and stay 10% bodyfat. (6 feet tall, 180 pounds, and 10% bodyfat looks really good at the beach.)
And let’s say he wants to get there within 1 year. That’s 30 pounds (27 pounds of muscle and 3 pounds of fat) in 12 months. Breaking this down, we get to an average of 0.5 pounds of muscle a week. That’s tough to do but not impossible for the skinny guy who’s never really lifted before. [And it won’t be linear – in the beginning, if he does things right, he’ll gain faster than he will towards the end.]
It’s pretty universally accepted that (more…)
I’m starting a series today on how you should eat in order to gain more muscle mass. This will be a 3-parter that I’ll finish throughout the month. Here’s the outline:
- Why your eating habits are more important than your lifting habits if you want to get bigger (naturally)
- Why skinny guys stay skinny – plus, the fastest way to gain muscle from your diet
- How to eat more to gain more muscle and actually lose fat at the same time – plus, I’ll also include some sample menus ( keep in mind that entire books are written on menus so I’m only offering some examples!)
Today let’s tackle the importance of eating habits compared to lifting habits. Next week we’ll dive into #2 and the week after that we’ll conclude with the third topic.
Why Eating Is More Important Than Lifting
You want to get bigger, huh? Join the crowd.
You might just be thinking “a little” bigger. Or maybe you are thinking “a lot bigger”. And maybe you just want bigger shoulders, or pecs, or glutes, or whatever.
The point is, we’re talking physique here and we all have different ideal images of what our target physique should be. If you are reading this, then chances are high that part of your desired physique means bigger muscles.
So weightlifting is the most important part of getting bigger muscles, right?
Now before you start writing me hate mail, I’m saying “most important”. That’s a relative term. Meaning, that of course lifting matters! If you want to get bigger muscles, instead of just a bigger gut, then you’ve gotta lift.
But I’m saying that a great eating plan with a mediocre lifting routine will do more for your physique than a great lifting routine and a mediocre eating plan.
(I’d like to write that previous sentence in all caps, but that would just annoy you, right?)
A Simple Example
Let’s walk through a very simplified analysis of 5 cases…
Muscles need stimulation, nutrients, and rest. That combination triggers growth. How much growth depends on the quality and quantity of the stimulation, nutrients, and rest.
No stimulation, no growth. Ditto for rest. And of course, no nutrients (food), no growth.
Since this article series is about how eating impacts muscle growth, let’s assume for now that you are on a pretty good lifting routine. It’s not the best, but it’s not the worst. (So, you can extrapolate from this and assume that results will be better/worse in relation to your lifting routine.)
Case 1: Let’s say you are doing your “adequate” lifting routine, but not eating at all. What would happen? Your body would go into starvation mode, burning muscle first, then fat, and then you’d die. Obviously, no muscle growth in this scenario.
Case 2: Now, instead of eating nothing, imagine you eat a small quantity of junk food. Let’s assume total calories are just enough to prevent starvation. But your muscles need protein (in the form of amino acids) to heal after you’ve stimulated them with your adequate workout. And so just junk food doesn’t give the muscles what they need to grow. Result: no muscle growth.
Case 3: (more…)
Sometimes we think we are so clever.
We think we can just fool our bodies into looking the way we want it to. It’s funny what people are willing to try just so that they can lose fat without having to exercise.
This is the lazy way to try to (more…)
Ever heard somebody say that you better watch what you eat? Watching what you eat is very important, but you’ll also need to pay attention to what you’re not eating if you want to keep muscle on your body.
I’m sure you’ve already heard that you need to eat plenty of protein to keep your body in good shape and build muscle, so I probably don’t need to repeat that to you.
But if you’re wondering how much protein you should get with each meal, when to eat it, and how to eat it… I might be able to help you out there.
Protein Every 3 Hours
First, let’s talk about the when and the why. Imagine, for a moment, that your body is a factory. This small factory works each day to produce the materials that it needs to keep its own walls and floor in good shape.
Imagine that the bricks in the factory walls are constantly wearing out, so a conveyor belt is needed to bring new materials into the factory. This is pretty similar to what’s going on inside your body as your cells are constantly being replaced. Just as the bricks in the factory wall need to be replaced, your body needs protein to rebuild it’s cells.
Your body is good at storing all those excess calories that you eat as fat cells, but protein isn’t really stored in your body for long periods of time. Protein only stays in your body for about 3 hours.
So, going along with the conveyor belt analogy, if more bricks end up on the conveyor belt than are really needed, they just fall off the end of the conveyor belt and are swept away to another place. They aren’t stored or used to build the walls. If you eat too much protein, it isn’t stored for later. (more…)
Just when you thought we couldn’t climb any higher…
Let’s be honest with ourselves, we’re getting fatter year after year. With every sugar drink and super-sized soda consumed, we hobble yet another step higher up the fat chain. Staying lean and toned from our workouts becomes more and more of a distant dream.
But climbing up the fat chain represents more than the expanding state we are in. The fat chain not only shows us that we occupy the very top of this top-heavy hierarchy, but it also tells us how we arrived there. The fat chain is also a chain of events that leads us to arrive at the state we are in. It’s a repeating cycle, or a chain reaction that only becomes harder to stop with time.
This is because getting fat isn’t something that “happens” to anybody. Nobody rolls out of bed in the morning to suddenly find themselves overweight. Instead, we slowly climb the chain link by link. Whenever it seems that the top of the chain is reached, we add another link and climb a bit higher.
These tiny links accumulate slowly, day by day, over time. We can add these links in so many ways, but we are hardly conscious of the links we add through what we drink. And most people aren’t aware of the triple hit that our system takes when we drink soft drinks. And even fat-loss types of workouts (such as FatBurnFurnace) can’t overcome these liquid calorie surpluses. (more…)
Others deal with protein.
And of course, we recently dealt with eating for muscle gain vs eating for fat loss.
But one question that (more…)