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Should I lose weight first, then gain muscle?

NO! You are shooting yourself in the foot by doing that!

To gain muscle you need to lift weights and eat a high protein diet, sometimes but not always you need to eat in a calorie surplus (meaning you can’t lose weight). This is the reason people will opt for losing weight first then gaining muscle.

back of fit girl hanging off pullup bar

In thinking this way you’re:

A. Exchanging long term fat loss for instant gratification
B. Dooming yourself to a yo-yo cycle or worse
C. Lowering your metabolic rate to such a low point that the only way you can lose weight is by eating something ridiculous like 800 kcal/day. Trust me, from this point on the only way is to gain weight and increase the calories.

No one should live on 800 kcal/day! So by repeatedly choosing to lose weight first, then gain muscle you’re putting yourself in a position down the line where you won’t be able to lose weight at all!

Let me explain!

Muscle tissue is an extremely valuable tool YOU possess that will make fat loss easier for you. By refusing to build it or by carelessly losing it with extremely low calorie low protein diets – you’re making your fat loss journey TWICE or 3x, 4x more difficult and eventually impossible (unless the correct approach is taken).

And it all starts by wanting to lose WEIGHT, not FAT – weight. That means eating as little as possible so the scale weight goes down; doing as much cardio as possible so the weight goes down faster!  So you inevitably lose everything (fat, muscle, water, bone mass etc.). But you forget that you can’t maintain this lifestyle forever and what you’ve lost will come back. Only now, once the weight has come back, you may weigh the same but you’ve gotten fatter, because that very tissue that keeps your metabolism up and gives you a nice shape has been lost and newly acquired fat cells have taken its place. This is how after years of dieting people have way more weight to lose than they had when they started dieting for the first time. The only way to stop this is to train and eat to gain muscle!

Muscle tissue is an expensive tissue – it costs nearly 3x as much energy to maintain it as it costs to maintain fat tissue.

That means that the more muscle you have the more calories you can eat to lose fat. This also means that the less muscle you have the less calories you need to stay alive (the 800kcal/day I scared you about earlier).

Muscle needs protein for maintenance – protein is another expensive nutrient – it requires 30% more energy to be digested than carbs or fats do. This means you actually burn calories by eating protein.

Muscle is built out of a fraction of calories the fat is built out of. In other words it takes way less calories and time to lose muscle than it takes to lose fat.To make my point more clear 1kg of fat will have 87% lipids and 13% fluid, 1kg of muscle will only have 30% proteins and 70% fluid – mind you 1g of lipids/fat = 9kcal, 1g of protein = 4kcal. You do the math – how many calories will it take to lose 1kg of muscle vs 1kg of fat?!

I hope now you realise why your WEIGHT loss is leaving you with a soft saggy looking body. ❌You are LOSING that very tissue that is keeping your body firm and you are losing it faster than you’re losing fat.
✔️The idea is to lose FAT faster than you lose MUSCLE. That way you achieve the firm, fitness model look you’re after. To do this you must make building muscle a priority even if it comes at a cost of a short term fat gain.

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