3

votes

Which First? Lose Weight or Build Muscle?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 15, 2012 at 12:54 PM

I've been eating Paleo for 6 weeks and I love it. I've also started doing cardio in the morning about 5 times a week and weights at night about 4 times a week. I work in a warehouse so I get plenty of physical activity during the day as well. From day to day at work I can feel myself getting stronger. I've gained 1/2" on my biceps. I was 205 when I started on June 1st and I'm down to 195 now. I've also lost three inches off my waist. I'm male, 35 y/o, 5' 7". I want to get to around 165 lbs with 8-10% body fat.

Here's my question... I'm please with my progress so far, but am I making a mistake by trying to lose weight and build muscle at the same time? Should I focus on weight loss first and then worry about muscle-building? I know adding muscle will increase my daily caloric requirements so I figured I'm doing the right thing by working on both, just wanted to get some second opinions.

Thanks.

1e9164a5a54003ac247d49c574dc7bfc

(396)

on July 17, 2012
at 03:22 PM

Speaking of clothes, who wants to lend me 200 for tailoring? haha And thanks much guys.

Fc25b41326b954c4e5b8ce0dabb889a6

(523)

on July 15, 2012
at 09:10 PM

I find its best to throw IF in randomly. Week on, week off, week on, two weeks off, a few days on, a few off. That way it better simulates Groks real predicament of finding food.

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on July 15, 2012
at 06:47 PM

I think gender is a factor here, too. As a woman - and I've heard this from other gals as well - high-intensity exercise means intense hunger, and when trying to create a deficit while your body is fighting you tooth and nail against that, losing weight can be a losing battle.

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 15, 2012
at 05:19 PM

Nothing ventured nothing gained, try it for a couple of weeks. What's the worst that could happen? IF is a great suggestion, or even change what you eat regularly, or even mix you training up?

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 15, 2012
at 04:27 PM

Great news well done!!! Also go by how you feel and how you fit/ or fill your clothes

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 15, 2012
at 03:56 PM

Congrats on that! Thats why I always emphasize body composition over just weight.

58891bf43774d2b2f63f952b3555c470

(15)

on July 15, 2012
at 03:02 PM

I should note by "cardio" I mean swift walking with some sprinting sprinkled in. I've read that article at marksdailyapple and taken those lessons into consideration.

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 15, 2012
at 01:59 PM

I agree but by losing weight you will become more droned giving a look that makes you look bigger ;) looks can be deceiving

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 15, 2012
at 01:54 PM

The problem is that muscle growth requires three things. Torn muscle fibers, protein, and rest. To consume that much protein, you need lots of calories. Weight loss occurs in a caloric restriction. You CAN do both, it's more effective to loose weight, then build mass.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 15, 2012
at 01:51 PM

When I discovered paleo, I went from 162 to 144 while taking my bench 1RM from 285 to 305. It is not only possible but probable to lose weight and build muscle at the same time.

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8 Answers

2
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on July 15, 2012
at 05:35 PM

I'll be a bit of a contrarian here. If I've understood Robb Wolf's podcasts correctly, he's a fan of focusing on one thing at a time. He tends to suggest focusing on losing weight first. Maintain your muscle mass, work out, etc, but still get your metabolic machinery in order as the highest priority. When you're at a reasonable body fat percentage, then focus more on building muscle mass. Oh, to lose weight, ditch the cardio. You already get strength work and are otherwise active. Too much cardio will elevate cortisol which will make it hard to get the body comp you want. So by all means do your strength work, but don't worry if your numbers don't improve much right now, especially if you are cutting calories a tiny bit.

Now, maybe I'm misinterpreting Robb because he also points out that beginners can improve everything all at once. So while you can, I guess go for it. But if at some point you see there's a tradeoff, go for leaning out.

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on July 15, 2012
at 06:47 PM

I think gender is a factor here, too. As a woman - and I've heard this from other gals as well - high-intensity exercise means intense hunger, and when trying to create a deficit while your body is fighting you tooth and nail against that, losing weight can be a losing battle.

2
1e9164a5a54003ac247d49c574dc7bfc

on July 15, 2012
at 03:51 PM

Thing is, most people believe weight loss, or more accurately: fat loss, are two separate components of becoming fitter, healthier individuals. But, that is just not true. If you're being healthy and incorporating solid exercise into your daily life, they will happen at the same time.

You are a prime example, at the same time as losing inches on your waist, you're gaining it in your biceps. This is going to give the overall appearance of losing weight and gaining muscle, which is and should be happening.

Forget thinking, I must do X before Y, in order to reach Z body. That's irrelevant. Be healthy, your body will come with being healthy. A healthy looking body is the result of being healthy, not getting in your optimal nutritional shakes, supplements or exercise even. It's about a holistic approach, a whole body approach.

Enjoy the transformation. I recently just achieved my goal of >7.0%. Was at 8.8% in May. I'm happy where I'm at. And, as a side note, I did not lose any weight over the course of the two months. In fact, I gained weight, 4 pounds. So, don't be discouraged if your weight fluctuates.

Cheers, Jared

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 15, 2012
at 04:27 PM

Great news well done!!! Also go by how you feel and how you fit/ or fill your clothes

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 15, 2012
at 03:56 PM

Congrats on that! Thats why I always emphasize body composition over just weight.

1e9164a5a54003ac247d49c574dc7bfc

(396)

on July 17, 2012
at 03:22 PM

Speaking of clothes, who wants to lend me 200 for tailoring? haha And thanks much guys.

1
A4587cfef29863db612c43f89c202cc1

on July 15, 2012
at 01:08 PM

I do not think that you are making a mistake at all. Keep lifting as you lose fat. The goal can be to preserve as much muscle as possible while losing fat. Lifting weights will help you to do this. In reality, it's very difficult, if not impossible to gain muscle mass while dieting in a caloric deficit. But, retaining muscle mass while losing a large amount of fat is a victory in itself. You can certainly get stronger during this time as well. Keep up the good work.

0
D9951bf124145e23d4d205dee9fd1c27

on July 15, 2012
at 04:42 PM

What about intermittent fasting as a way of ditching calories and allowing the body a break from eating? I used and am starting to use IF again as part of a fat loss and strength gain mission and am still making progress in both respects. I've never used it myself but have heard that leangains is worth a look for this kind of thing.

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 15, 2012
at 05:19 PM

Nothing ventured nothing gained, try it for a couple of weeks. What's the worst that could happen? IF is a great suggestion, or even change what you eat regularly, or even mix you training up?

Fc25b41326b954c4e5b8ce0dabb889a6

(523)

on July 15, 2012
at 09:10 PM

I find its best to throw IF in randomly. Week on, week off, week on, two weeks off, a few days on, a few off. That way it better simulates Groks real predicament of finding food.

0
91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 15, 2012
at 01:46 PM

People say its impossible to build muscle and loose fat not at all good training programme and a solid clean diet and "boom" you got the equation to build and stay lean. I think your doing it write make a good base I.e by getting lean, then when you got to where you want maybe bulk, or whatever :)

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 15, 2012
at 01:59 PM

I agree but by losing weight you will become more droned giving a look that makes you look bigger ;) looks can be deceiving

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 15, 2012
at 01:51 PM

When I discovered paleo, I went from 162 to 144 while taking my bench 1RM from 285 to 305. It is not only possible but probable to lose weight and build muscle at the same time.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 15, 2012
at 01:54 PM

The problem is that muscle growth requires three things. Torn muscle fibers, protein, and rest. To consume that much protein, you need lots of calories. Weight loss occurs in a caloric restriction. You CAN do both, it's more effective to loose weight, then build mass.

0
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 15, 2012
at 01:44 PM

You can loose fat and gain muscle at the same time. My biggest concern for you is the "cardio." Depending on what you are doing, it can restrict your muscle gains. Now you do want to burn calories, and increase your cardiorespiritory capacity, but long slow cardio is not the best way for either. Do sprint intervals in the mornings, 3-4 mornings a week before breakfast. This will stimulate HGH as well. Then for your 4 weight training days, do slow, low rep heavy days twice a week, not working the same major muscle group more than once a week like that. Then do a more High intensity interval training HIIT session for the other two training days, with lighter weight or bodyweight exercises. By mixing it up, you will get the fat burning that you are looking for, and the muscular strength and definition to go with it. As far as diet, you will need to be in a calorie deficit, but keep your protein high, at minimum 1g per 1b bodyweight, I think you should shoot for close to 200g per day, and always consume some after your workouts. You want to keep your muscles fuiled during the weight loss portion.

0
Fc25b41326b954c4e5b8ce0dabb889a6

on July 15, 2012
at 01:13 PM

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/case-against-cardio/

The article above is pretty good. Depending on what you are trying to do, the best way to lose body fat is by increasing your muscle capacity and needs. The more your body has to exert, daily, both in and out of exercise, the easier it will be to burn fat. Chronic cardio causes the release of Cortisol which is a stress hormone released by the body in stressful "fight-or-flight" situations. Its both muscle and bone wasting. If you want to run, do 6-8 Full exertion sprints at short intervals (10-15 second rest inbetween). On a treadmill I do .15 length 9.0-10.0 speed (6:00-6:30 pace) sprints when I'm at the gym. I'll run a mile or two after a killer workout sessions just to break up the dead leg the next day. Most importantly, to put on muscle you have to pick up heavy stuff and put it back down. Picking up heavy stuff is going to shock your CNS and get it to say "All hands on deck." Cortisol blocks it and HGH (Human growth hormone) from being produced. Hence "Chronic Cardio" being a problem with gaining lean muscle mass. It takes a lot to shock your CNS into building itself up, so get to lifting. I suggest Stronglifts 5x5. It's only 3 lifts a day - A day B day - 3 days a week. Rest day inbetween is crucial. Sorry if the answer is a bit scattered and hope it helps you!

PS- When in doubt, Squat Monday, Squat Wednesday, Squat Friday.

0
E8dd83fe24a0879d8b16ab4ca92b72dd

(1307)

on July 15, 2012
at 01:12 PM

You shouldn't worry about "weight" loss--you should worry about fat loss, and as far as gaining muscle at the same time you loose fat, it's not only the most expedient form of a whole body transformation, it's far more natural and (believe it or not) easier to maintain a fat loss program that includes exercise. As for your increase in appetite? I believe that portions, along with meal restrictions/caloric restrictions, are absurd. Our cavemen brethren (nah, going just back to great grandparents' time) ate to the point of satiety and no farther. But they didn't measure anything, and I guarantee they didn't eat "5-6 smaller meals" a day nor did they eat "three square" meals. Food was not THAT easy to come by for them. Only in the past 60 years has food been such a common commodity. And the reason for that is GMOs and other frankencrops. Eat ancestral, play around with the carbs, exercise with resistance training 2-4 times a week, and walk/HIITS/swim 3-5 times a week.

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