Lose Fat by Concentrating on Gaining Muscle

Fat Loss Must Be Fed

One of the greatest sources of confusion for my weight loss and fat loss clients is how to conceptualize fat loss. Many of my clients say, "I don't want to gain muscle, I just want to burn fat." That's like saying, "I don't want to make money, I just want to pay off debt." Good luck with that.

The reality is that gaining muscle and losing fat are two sides of the same coin. Most of the time our body is either burning fat to supply energy or burning muscle to supply energy. And breaking down muscle (also called being in the "catabolic state") is the energy source of choice for our body.

Here is the cool thing about our body: we cannot grow muscle and burn muscle at the same time. Another way to say this is, "If we are growing muscle we are forcing our body to burn fat." Ah ha! As long as we concentrate on muscle growth, our body will be forced to respond with fat loss (except in extreme cases of low body fat %, rare diabetes cases, etc.).

Here are three sure-fire ways to grow more muscle....I mean burn more fat...by concentrating on gaining muscle.

Burning Fat and Gaining Muscle Tip #1: Sprinkle Protein Throughout Your Day

Protein intake and digestion triggers a muscle tissue repair process in our body. The quicker the absortion of protein (whey protein is fastest, for example), the quicker muscles are fed and repaired. By consuming protein throughout the day (a whey protein shake here, a serving of cottage cheese there, a few handfuls of almonds now, a casein protein shake later), we constantly feed our muscles, which keeps them from being broken down for energy, which increases the body's fat burning mechanism to supply energy.

Burning Fat and Gaining Muscle Tip #2: Focus Workouts to Optimize Muscle Gain

Most "fat loss" workouts are long (40 minutes on treadmill, yikes!) with a weight-training focus on high repititions (you're killing me, Smalls!). There are several factors to implement for optimizing muscle gain (and hence fat loss). First, read my previous blog titled How to Burn Fat: 3 Key Ideas to Fat-Based Weight Loss and apply fat loss tip#1 regarding the 10 sec/15 sec cardio interval (and hard-core interval cardio, as it turns out, majorly helps on the hormone side of fat loss/muscle gain...stick with me ladies and gentlemen...I'll get you where you want to go!). Second, stick mostly to 10 rep / 3 sets when weight training...and have the 10 be heavy. Third, fit your workouts into 40 minutes to optimize growth hormone (natural GH made by your body, that is). If you apply these three ideas to your workouts, you wil set yourself up for more muscle gain and a lot more fat loss!

Burning Fat and Gaining Muscle Tip #3: Do Anything and Everything to Fight Off Stress

When our minds are stressed our bodies are stressed. The more effectively you can handle stress, the more effectivley you will handle the fat-causing, stress-induced hormone called cortisol. I can't dive deeply into all of these stress fighting strategies right now, but here are some important ones: deep breathing at a 1:3:2 ratio (inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 15, exhale for 10...any 1:3:2 ratio), laughing as much as possible, getting a workout in during a stressful day, consuming a B-vitamin complex (time-released, preferably), get 8 quality hours of sleep, eat slowly, and be in control of your time (don't run late!).

If losing fat is your goal, make sure to focus on ways to gain muscle. If you focus on gaining muscle, I can guarantee your body will respond by burning fat.

Adam Erwin is a personal trainer who travels the world working with people who want to change their body now! Adam follows good weather, which means he is currently training clients in Minnesota…anywhere within a 10 mile radius of Wayzata, MN. When fall and winter arrive, Adam will be headed toward Florida, Arizona, Australia, Malaysia, and other warm climates. Visit www.keepyourbetterhalf.com to learn more about his work and how he can help you lose fat, keep muscle, and keep your better half.