Brandon Carter | Start Here

Should You Lose Fat or Build Muscle First?

When you begin any fitness program, you should have one of two goals in mind: lose fat or build muscle. Which one you choose depends on a few factors.

For women, the goal is almost always to lose fat. For men, deciding between muscle gains or fat lost is a little trickier. Yes, they want to pack on mass, but they also want to look lean and striated with a six-pack to go with it.

My Recommendation?

Here’s what I typically recommend for men who find themselves in this predicament. Unless they are noticeably overweight, I often advise them to start on a muscle building phase.

So what constitutes being “noticeably overweight?” Well, that’s for each individual client to decide for themselves. For me, though, if your pot belly is visible even through a fairly loose t-shirt, then you’re noticeably overweight.

Beyond that, I often recommend that men jumpstart their program with an emphasis on gaining muscle. The reason for this is because the added mass will raise your metabolism later down the road, thus helping you burn even more calories.

Of course, these are just my personal recommendations. If you already have a fairly lean physique but want to lose even more fat to really get your abs to show, then by all means begin with a fat loss phase.

As a trainer, my job is to just lead the way; how and where you begin is totally your prerogative.

Are Muscle Gains and Fat Loss Simultaneously Possible?

Can you have the best of both worlds at the same time? In other words, does it necessarily have to be muscle building or fat loss? Can you acquire both at once? These are questions I get time and again.

In conventional bodybuilding, accomplishing the two at once isn’t possible. You have to go into a “bulk up phase” to gain muscle and a little bit of fat in the process.

When you undergo a fat loss plan, you burn away the fat while accepting some muscle loss...that’s the commonly accepted norm

But it doesn’t have to be that way if you train the way I recommend in my TheSimpleShreddedSolution program..

Yes, it is possible to gain muscle AND lose fat at the same time, or rather more commonly, prevent muscle loss or fat gains while in one phase or the other.

The key to accomplishing this is by training to failure during every Strength training and HIIT session. Your diet also needs to be precise; this means a good amount of protein, and a limited amount of refined carbs or anything that would fall under the “junk food” category.

Wait, There’s a Caveat

I must point out, though, that while muscle gains and fat loss at the same time is possible, this is usually only doable for beginners and those returning from a long layoff.

For those who never trained or haven’t trained in a while, their bodies will see some initial muscle gains and fat loss simply due to the novelty of the muscle stimulation that the body is not accustomed to.

However, after several weeks of training and muscle gains and fat loss, your body will eventually reach its “comfort zone,” which I discussed about in an earlier post.

The comfort zone is the point where you hit a plateau because the body has reached its “stubborn point” and gaining additional muscle or losing any more fat becomes extremely difficult.

It is precisely because of this comfort zone that I recommend that your fitness plan have a specific focus on either fat loss or muscle gain. When you train and diet the way I outline, you will gain muscle and prevent fat gain, or lose fat while preventing muscle loss.

Identify Your Goal Before Starting

For women, fat loss is almost always the emphasis. For men, it isn’t always clear-cut.

When deciding between losing fat or building muscle, I always tell my male clients to go by their specific goals and envision how they want to look in the mirror. Do they want an extra 25lbs of muscle mass, or do they want the shortest route to looking absolutely lean and cut?

If you are serious and want to build the physique that'll make jaws drop, then you are going to want to check out my TheSimpleShreddedSolution program, I show you my strategies for building muscle and burning fat.