The most common dilemma for any beginner in the gym is to understand whether to build muscle first or to lose fat first. You are confused and not able to decide your path. You want to reach your destination, having a ripped and a muscular physique. But, where should you start your journey from? Should you gain muscles or lose weight first. Let us tell you the answer you have been wondering for.

Build Muscle or Lose Weight

I have been pursuing fitness from many years and now training my clients. We always got the best results when we focused on muscle building first. The more muscles you have in the body, the more you will be burning the fat. The individuals who solely just train for weight loss and don’t put attention on muscle building hardly achieve their dream physique.

Why you should always build Muscles First?

Muscle Building is much more than just the pleasure to the eyes. An individual who trains to build muscle first will have more health benefits compared to the person just doing cardiovascular exercises to lose weight. The health benefits of muscle building range from having a good body composition to an overall fitness. Let us see in detail how building muscle can contribute to these benefits?

  • You will Burn more calories:

With every pound of muscle you build, the more calories your body will burn. The muscles are the most metabolically active tissue in your body. A person with a good muscle mass is far supreme than a person with low muscle mass in terms of metabolism. Such person will burn more calories in his day even on rest than an average sedentary person. 

What this mean is that the more you build muscles, the big burn number your body has. A big burn number means your body is going to consume more calories in the day. Thus, provide you a leaner and a more attractive physique.

Furthermore, it is estimated that every one pound of muscle you gain, you burn an extra 5 to 6 calories. Think what will be the effect of it if you can gain 10 pounds of muscle in your body? You will start to additionally burn 50 calories in the day. And automatically, your weight loss will start to happen with muscle building.

  • You will achieve an overall fitness:

Building Muscle not only help you look fit from outside. Instead you aim for overall fitness. With more muscles in your body, you ensure a body which also feels fit from inside. The more muscle mass you add to your body; the more your longevity increases, insulin sensitivity improve and the risk of injuries decrease.

Muscle Building Benefits

According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine; the risk of your death reduces when you build muscle mass in your body. Also, muscles are known to store glucose from the blood in the form of glycogen. And when you move the muscles, this glycogen is used as the fuel. The more muscles you have in your body, the more glycogen you can store in muscles. Thereby, you are improving the insulin sensitivity in your body.

Furthermore, the muscles act as a protection layer for your joints, cartilages and bones. The more you have muscle mass, the more protection these parts will get in your body. You are protected from injuries, sprains and dislocations. Your cartilage and tendons also grow stronger as you train to build your muscles.

Building Muscle also helps in increasing the immunity of your body. The muscles in your body store amino acids such as Glutamine, Cysteine and Arginine. These amino acids are known to fight off infections and diseases in the body. So the more muscle mass you have, more amino acid stores will stay present in your body which ultimately increase your immunity.

What If you start to lose Weight First?

We have above said that you should focus on muscle building first rather than just going for weight loss. But, what about those people who are already obese or has a very high fat percentage? They may think that losing weight first should be their approach for the dream physique.

It is very well understood that as an obese person, you definitely want to lose the weight first. It is only after the weight loss that you want to start muscle building. But, here are few things you should know before approaching the goal of your dream physique this way.

Become very thin after weight loss

  • You will hardly lose fat

You are starting your weight loss journey and thinking of doing a lot of cardiovascular exercise to drop your weight. Do you know, what will be the end result of this? You definitely will lose the weight. But the weight you will be losing this way will be mostly your muscle weight and water weight.

Having very low muscle mass in the body, it is very hard to target the fat loss. Your aim is to achieve a good body composition with low fat percentage and not just a change in your weight scale. Think yourself are you actually training for fat loss or simply working out to become a thin slob.

  • You will only become thin

If you are primarily targeting the weight loss, you are slowly moving towards becoming a skinny dude. Get yourself prepared to get intimidated with your skinny look. After all you are not at all training for muscle building and simply focusing on the weight loss.

As we have said above, you will hardly lose fat if you are simply doing cardio vascular exercise to lose weight. And, when you are done losing weight, you will pose a look of a malnourished guy who was left to starve. Is this what you wanted or were you wishing to get ripped?

  • More loss of Muscle

The downside of just training for weight loss is that you have a larger extent of muscle loss. The individual who trains primarily for weight loss and indulge in strict calorie restriction experiences severe muscle loss. You may end up losing up to 18% more muscle than when used the right mix of muscle building and weight loss exercises.

Also, if you train simply for weight loss; you burn less fat and lose more muscles. But, when you train for muscle building and go on bulking; you gain more muscles mass and less fat. The more muscle you lose, the more you will experience undesirable effects on your health.

  • Regaining Effect

The regaining effect is referred to gaining back the weight you have lost in considerable amount of time. When you train for weight loss, you hardly build any muscle. And a person with low muscle mass is always exposed to the rebounding effect.

You might have lost the weight by doing a lot cardiovascular exercises but the chance of regaining back that weight is very high. It is estimated that about 80% people regain the weight they have lost if you have a very less muscle mass.

So after the above discussion, you can clearly understand why you should always focus on muscle building first before you aim for weight loss. However, still there are few things you should keep in mind while you build muscle.

Things to consider while you Build Muscle

Build Muscle

  • Body Fat Percentage

It is important you keep an account of your body fat percentage when you start muscle building. An individual who is above 20% body fat are required to use the right balance of muscle building and weight loss exercises.

As when you build muscle, you also gain some amount of fat along with muscle mass. For building muscles, you increase your daily calories somewhat more than your Total Daily Expenditure. Because of which, some fat is also gained along with the muscle mass.

So, if you are already fat and above 20% fat ratio. Training simply for muscle building is not enough. You must include cardio vascular exercises and HIIT workouts to help you minimize the fat gain. Also, you can take advantage of ‘Carbohydrate Cycling’ to minimize this fat gain.

A Carbohydrate Cycling is a planned manipulation of carbohydrate intake which helps you ensure to build maximum muscle with minimum fat gain. Don`t forget to read our detailed article on Carbohydrate Cycling to lose weight.

  • Don`t start Eating Recklessly

You are on a quest of building muscle and are required to eat more calories than you burn in your day. But that doesn’t mean you start eating recklessly. You cannot simply go and eat anything you want. Muscle Building requires you understand the macro calculation to get the job done right.

You need to eat right amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats to accelerate your muscle growth. Food is made up of calories and all calories are not created equally. There is heck of difference when you eat a nutritious food as compared to a junk food, each containing 300 calories.

It is always better to first understand the calories your body needs in the day. Once you figure out your daily calorie needs, you can target muscle growth by just increasing 200-300 calories more in your day.

But if you increase the calories recklessly, you are sure to gain a lot of fat. Your body is not prepared yet to handle this much amount of calories. You need to gradually increase the calories and that too with a proper macro nutrient split.