Is the burn fat build muscle pursuit possible?

The burn fat build muscle endeavor is among the most sought by fitness enthusiasts. Such vast interest is likely due to the belief that burning fat while building muscle will yield the most rapid improvement in both appearance and performance. Is that true however?

Is burning fat while building muscle even possible? If so, is it the most efficient path to physical improvement? Furthermore, what type of diet, supplements, and exercise facilitates building muscle while burning fat?

As to the feasibility of burning fat while building muscle......totally possible. With commitment to the lifestyle that is!

Additionally, simultaneous fat-loss and muscle building is the quickest path to improved fitness and body composition for the vast majority of us. The nutrient dense diet and focused training recommended for muscle building fat-loss is usually a more anabolic combination than the nutrition and exercise most are currently engaged in.

So now that it's certain that the burn fat build muscle pursuit is the way to go, all that remains addressing is the ideal diet and exercise. More specifically, how to eat and train so fat-loss and muscle gain are facilitated is the question. Discussed below are some nutrition and training guidelines to follow for anabolic fat-loss.

Eating to Optimize Fat-loss and Muscle Gain

The focus of burn fat build muscle nutrition is rather simple in that it just has to meet 4 interdependent criteria and involves no calorie counting. Those 4 criteria include fulfilment of essential nutrients, keeping insulin low, keeping cortisol low, and staying satiated. After covering the importance of each criteria, how to meet them will be addressed. As will be explained, simultaneous fulfillment of all 4 criteria is easiest with a diet that is abundant in volume but narrow in variety often benefitting from supplementation.

Fulfilling Essential Nutrition

Ensuring that nutrient needs are fulfilled means getting all the vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates necessary to support muscle gain while losing fat. It's not just about high protein, low carbs, and low fat! If there's even one nutrient deficiency, fat-loss and muscle gain will suffer. So in addition to high protein, low carb, and low fat foods, burn fat build muscle nutrition should include vitamin, mineral, and healthy fat supplements to help ensure complete nutrition.

Keeping Insulin Low

There's an insulin response to everything you eat because insulin is essential to allowing various nutrients to enter cells. So insulin is not "all bad". In excess amounts, however, insulin can stop nourishing muscles and other tissues while growing fat tissue rapidly. A diet low on the glycemic index and insulin response nourishes worthy tissues like nerves, bones, and, muscles allocating little to fat. So maintaining healthy insulin levels is critical to the burn fat build muscle equation.

Keeping Cortisol Low

Keeping cortisol low is important because it contributes to muscle and bone loss as well as gains in belly fat. Increased cortisol can be influenced by both exercise and diet.  Too much exercise, whether it's aerobic exercise and/or strength training, can elevate cortisol via excess inflammation.  Diet can increase cortisol via too little food and/or too much bad food. Too little food drops nutrient levels so cortisol elevates to strip muscle and bone of nutrients. Too much bad food causes inflammation that has to be managed by more cortisol. In both cases, elevated cortisol is also contributing to fat gain, particularly in the belly. So, for the burn fat build muscle pursuit, dietary suppression of cortisol is critical.

Staying Satiated

Staying satiated is important because it's critical to adherence, performance, fat-loss, and muscle gain. If you're satiated, aside from some mild cravings, you're satisfied and not as tempted to cheat. Satiety compliments performance by both minimizing hunger distraction and providing nutritional energy. Fat-loss/muscle-gain is supported by satiety via a metabolism boost  and keeping hunger induced cortisol and fluctuating insulin to a  minimum.

How to meet all criteria

Fulfilling all 4 criteria is easiest with an " all you want to eat" diet of low-insulinogenic protien, high fibrous carbohydrates with limited healthy fat, and supplemented with a multivitamin and mineral supplement.

-"All you want to eat" means you eat as much of the allowable food as you want. To elaborate, Only eat more food if you're hungry enough to eat the allowable food... no insulin/cortisol inducing crap! Such feeding will allow hunger to regulate whether you truly need more nutrients.

-Low insulinnogenic protein yields the lowest insulin response possible and includes most animal proteins; whey protein, however, induces a relatively high insulin response, so keep whey protein to a minimum.

-Fibrous carbohydrates must be very low in sugar, fat and have a fiber/carbohydrate ratio of at least 1 to 3; which pretty much is limited to beans and fibrous vegetables. And don't skimp on the beans in efforts to lower carbs further as they are critical to satiety and stable blood sugar. Also note, artificial fulfillment of the fiber to carb ratio with supplemental fiber doesn'twork, so you can't balance out fries and donuts with metamusil!

-Healthy fat intake is as simple is 2 servings of fatty-fish per day or 6 grams of supplemental fish oil per day.

- As far as multi vitamins go, Any product with the USP designation should suffice.

Burn fat build muscle training

Because fast twitch muscle fibers are most vulnerable to cortisol (Hickson et al. May 1996 , November 1996), hi-force/low-fatigue/low-volume training is key (Falduto et al. 1990). Such training usually involves few exercises using heavy weight moved as fast as possible for low reps, low sets and minimum fatigue.

How few exercises?

The. fewer the better. In fact, 3 exercises seems to suffice for most. Those 3 exercises usually include a hip/knee movement (leg-press/step-up), upper body push (bench-presses/dips), and an upper body pull (pullups/dumbbell rows). Such movements will cover the entire body.

Heavy weights moving fast?

The truth of the matter is you won't be moving very fast at all; you will just be trying to lift heavy weights as fast as possi-ble. And, as you know, weight isn't heavy if you can move it fast. Lifting heavy weight as fast as possible ensures at you subject your fast-twitch muscle to the highest tension possible.

Volume and fatigue low low low!

Keeping sets reps and fatigue low ensures that force output is high and training inflammation low. High force output, as mentioned above, is critical for the highest fast-twitch tension possible; which protects fast twitch muscle from cortisol atrophy (Falduto et al. 1990). Less reps and sets means less tissue inflammation and, therefore, less of a cortisol response. So end your sets well before force output drops; usually no more than 3-5 reps.

To conclude

The burn fat build muscle pursuit is the fastest way to enhance both appearance and performance for most of us. Commitment to a lifestyle that keeps insulin and cortisol to a minimum is critical. Nutritional contribution to this lifestyle is met easiest by food limited to non-dairy animal protein, beans, and fibrous vegetables supplemented with missing vita-mins/minerals/fatty-acids. The type of exercise that is most conducive to burning fat while building muscle involves high-force, low-fatigue, and low volume to maximize fast-twitch muscle hypertrophy/preservation.


Falduto MT, Czerwinski SM, Hickson RC. Glucocorticoid-induced muscle atrophy prevention by exercise in fast-twitch fibers. J Appl Physiol. 1990 Sep;69(3):1058-62.

Hickson RC, Wegrzyn LE, Osborne DF, Karl IE. Alanyl-glutamine prevents muscle atrophy and glutamine synthetase in-duction by glucocorticoids. Am J Physiol. 1996 Nov;271(5 Pt 2):R1165-72.

Hickson RC, Wegrzyn LE, Osborne DF, Karl IE. Glutamine interferes with glucocorticoid-induced expression of glutamine synthetase in skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol. 1996 May;270(5 Pt 1):E912-7. PubMed PMID: 8967483.
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