Should I go for a fat loss program or build muscle? Or do both. What approach is best?
First off, I want to thank everyone who stopped by my blog. The feedback I have received is very encouraging.
I want to talk about this ‘casue I went through the exact same thing when I first started. What is the right approach?
A lot of people have this question. Let me start with clearing a few things first.
- Fat does not convert into muscle
- Muscle does not melt and become fat
- You cannot build muscle and lose fat simultaneously. At-least naturally you cant. If anyone has told you this, they are probably a different species from another planet.
Now, there is another school of thought backed by science where some say losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is achievable. Well so is living beyond a hundred years. If you learn how to control your environment and optimize your body’s resources it is possible to delay the process of ageing. The human body’s potential to optimize its internal resources enables it to accomplish incredible feats. However, you and me have a very slim chance as we have many other things to get done in life. Achieving this naturally is not possible. There is a minority of people, around 2 percent in the whole world who can do this. They are the Mr Olympia contestants. An international bodybuilding competition that is held annually by the International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness (IFBB). The big daddies in bodybuilding and all of us know how they do it. Any athlete at a world class level is likely to be using some sort of performance enhancement drug. However, this article is for people who have realistic goals when it comes to fitness.
Now back to the topic of discussion. Let’s understand this!
Before asking yourself whether you should go in for fat loss or muscle gain, you must ask yourself how active are you? If you are someone who has a fairly active life and go to the gym 3-4 days a week and is looking to progress from there, then there are two pathways.
If you’re someone who just wants to lose weight but does not like the idea of going to the gym, then, all you need to do is engage in a physical activity. I don’t mean running on the treadmill. This can be done by engaging in a sport 3-4 days a week or simply running in the park and maintaining a controlled diet. Mind you, running alone gets a bit boring after a point so engaging in a sport will keep you motivated as I am assuming you enjoy playing the sport. While staying active and managing your diet (you need to know your macros and record your food) you will be able to shed weight. We will talk about macro-nutrient and how to track your food in another article.
Now, for those who want to transform-Assuming you’re a fairly active person who goes to the gym 3-4 days a week. You could be doing regular weight training or Cross-fit or a combination of both or even cardio and weight training. If your goal is to transform, first you need to identify how much body fat you carry. When I say transform, I mean gain muscle or lose fat.
As per a lot of coaches and I agree with this as it helped me in my transformation- For a Man- anyone below 12% body fat should opt to build muscle. Anyone over 15% body fat should go in for a fat loss program.
Women- If you’re between 15%-22% body fat, you’re doing perfect and are absolutely healthy. In my opinion you do not need to cut any further. If you want to build muscle, you certainly can opt for it at this body fat. If you’re over 25% body-fat then you should go in for a fat loss program.
We can learn how to measure body fat with the help of body fat calipers. I always use a caliper as it is relatively cheap and easy and more or less accurate than all of the expensive machines in the gyms. There are various methods one can follow.
I want to add here that learning about body composition is a good starting point, however, having low body-fat percentage is not the only indicator of a healthy lifestyle.Different people look completely different even if they are at the same body-fat percentage, however, It’s an important metric to understand when you’re planning a transformation. I will recommend taking a lot of pictures of your progress along with this as pictures never lie.
You can be a healthy male with over 15% percent body fat. As long as you’re active and eat healthy you’re on the right path. If your goal is build a six pack then body composition becomes an important subject. And yes, this whole desire to build a six pack should not be your only motivation to get into the sport.
Lets talk more about six pack abs and how its misleading in terms of an indicator of a good physique in my next article.