Burn Fat & Gain Muscle – All You Need to Know

On average, you can build noticeable muscle in as little as 6-8 weeks with consistent training. Noticeable fat loss can take as long as 6-12 weeks on the slow range, or 4 weeks on a faster protocol.

This is assuming that you are optimizing everything you can for fast results.

After reading this post, you will learn:

  • What factors determine how quickly you can build muscle and lose weight
  • How to optimize the speed in which you see results
  • The best strategies to transform your body in 12 weeks

Losing weight can be great, but what’s the deal? Is it possible to lose fat and weight and gain muscle at the same time?

Essentially yes, people are capable of doing both, but it’s not a very easy thing to do.

For the Average Joe, when it comes to weight loss and muscle gain, it will take a lot of discipline, which can be difficult—even painful (think self-discipline kind of pain)—but it is possible to have the best of both worlds. The science behind accomplishing this feat should be understood so you don’t get confused.

Fat Loss vs. Muscle Gain

First two important concepts to understand: how you lose weight differs from how you gain muscle—these goals often conflict with one another.

In order to lose fat or weight, your body needs to be in a caloric deficit, meaning you are taking in less calories per day making it more difficult for your body to maintain its current weight.

What is difficult here is that in order to then gain muscle, your body needs to be at a caloric surplus. This surplus provides the energy your body requires to repair itself and then build muscle mass.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are constantly at a caloric deficit, your body then may start to break down other parts of itself for energy requirements. This can unfortunately put you in a situation where your body starts breaking down muscle instead of fat for energy.

Ugh, say it isn’t so! How can you gain muscle while still losing weight when science is working against you?

Protocol for Shedding Pounds While Building Muscle

1. Remember: You Are What You Eat

The first thing to remember is that exercise in of itself isn’t going to help you lose weight but then also gain muscle mass. It really comes down to what you are eating. “You are what you eat,” and when it comes to losing weight and gaining muscle this is especially true.

It is important that certain individuals identify foods that will be low in caloric intake but also high in nutritional value to allow your body and cells to be fed appropriately but not swing you out of your caloric deficit. In weight loss, food choices are roughly 80-90% of the equation and exercise is generally 10-20%.

On any given day, you’ll consume a number of calories. Your body at that time has three choices for what to do with those calories: burn as fuel, rebuild muscle or store as fat. Our bodies need a regulated caloric intake for it to just operate. This is known as our basal metabolic rate.

If you don’t take in enough calories, it can mess with your metabolic rate. Your body thinks it’s starving and to help you survive, your metabolism shuts down. Not eating enough calories can also make your body cannibalize muscle and hold onto fat—not exactly what you’re hoping for.

A nutrition expert at marinafarook.com can help you calculate your metabolic rate and develop a meal plan that allows you to eat the foods you love while still getting the fuel your body needs to gain muscle and properly lose weight. Connect with one of our coached to set up a Discovery Session.

2. Prioritize Foods Rich in Protein

When it comes to getting foods low in caloric intake but high in nutritional value, you’ll need to make sure it includes enough protein. Overlooking the small details can risk your results and cause you body to burn your own muscle while holding onto fat.

“Sustained caloric intake deficit while eating enough high protein will help your body burn more calories than you consume. It also provides your body with enough nutrients and energy to rebuild its muscles,” Coach Marina says. “Protein-rich foods are a key component to both losing body fat and building muscle at the same time.”

The good news is, studies have shown that your body can potentially take fat mass from your body and convert it to the energy necessary for muscle growth.

3. Strength Train a Few Days a Week

For the body to truly build muscle mass, you’ll need to lift relatively heavy weights to a point where muscles actually reach a point of fatigue and failure—at that time your muscles will tear and break down. It is during this repair process where you will become stronger and more defined.

“What is important to note, however, is that while strength training, you’ll want to ensure you are consuming enough calories to help rebuild muscles and fuel the body,” Coach Yousuf from yousuffarook.com advises. “If you don’t, then your body will break down muscles mass to fuel itself, which is actually the opposite of what you are trying to obtain.”

Depending on your fitness goals and general health, not every strength training program may be right for you. You’ll want to speak with a certified athletic trainer or fitness expert before kick-starting a new fitness regimen to reduce your risk for muscle injury or joint pain.

4. Remember the Tortoise, Not the Hare

In our world of instant gratification, patience is certainly a virtue, but it has many benefits, particularly when it comes to our long-term health.

While it may be tempting to drop weight as quickly as possible, you may lose fat and muscle. Instead focus on losing no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. And don’t get discouraged if suddenly the great gains you started with start to slow over time.

“As you get closer to your goal, it’ll become progressively more difficult to increase muscle while losing fat but don’t get discouraged,” Coach Marina said. “Gradual loss ensures that you’re mostly losing fat instead of muscle. If done too quickly, it could be detrimental to your health goals and or muscle tissue.”

5. Prioritise Rest & Recovery

Both fat loss and muscle gain require you to get a sufficient amount of sleep. It is while you are sleeping that your body is in anabolism – the metabolic process necessary for muscle repair and muscle growth.

The opposite is also true.

If you do not sleep at least 7 hours a night, you are priming your body to store body fat, and burn muscle. Sleep deprivation is a catabolic process- and releases stress hormones that increase fat retention. Recovery from exercise is just as important as the exercise itself.


If you can sustain a lifting program and eat a caloric deficit, your body will be able to pull from its fat stores to both fuel itself and potentially build muscle mass. Prioritizing foods rich in protein is a key component to both losing body fat and building muscle at the same time. Remember, however, that transforming your body will not occur overnight. Be patient and consistent to reap the long-term benefits.

Tools for Change

Schedule your Discovery Session to discuss your body composition, set goals and find out which one of our programs can help you be your strongest and best self.

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