A couple of years ago, I was fat and I lacked muscle mass.
I managed to do both.
I learned a great deal about how everything works with building muscle or losing fat.
Here’s a detailed comparison of the two, coming from my personal experience:
#1) Losing Fat is Easier Than Building Muscle
Creating a calorie deficit is enough for losing fat. Building muscle requires both a calorie surplus and a rigorous training.
Moreover, building muscle is a very slow process which makes it more difficult to track. You may train for months only to find out that all your efforts lead to a measly 0.5 pound of muscle gain.
Losing fat, on the other hand, is more reliable. The more calorie deficit you create, the more fat you will lose.
#2) Losing Fat and Building Muscle Both Require a Simple Strategy
Keeping It Stupid Simple (K.I.S.S.) is the best strategy for both losing fat and building muscle.
The best strategy to lose weight is creating a calorie deficit and eating enough protein. Everything else is minutiae.
#3) Losing Fat and Building Muscle at the Same Time is Possible but it’s an Inferior Strategy
Losing fat and building muscle at the same time is possible, especially when you are enjoying your newbie gains.
Yet, it’s an inferior strategy because building muscle is more efficient when you are in a calorie surplus. Your body will use the extra calories from food to build muscle.
When you try to lose fat and build muscle at the same time, your body will try to build muscle from the calories it burns from your fat tissue.
Building muscle is already a slow process, so forcing your body to squeeze out calories from your fat tissue will make it even slower.
A better strategy is losing the fat first and building the muscle later.
#4) Losing Fat and Building Muscle are Both the Most Efficient When You Count Your Macros
Macros are protein, carbs and fat.
Protein is the most important macro of your diet when you are either losing fat or building muscle.
It sounds counter-intuitive but you need more protein when you are losing weight, because you don’t want to lose muscle.
Tracking your fat and carb intake is also a good move because your fat intake is crucial for regulating your hormones and your carb intake will affect your training performance when you are building muscle. Moreover, fat and carbs contain calories which is crucial for both losing fat and building muscle.
When you count your macros, you will automatically count your calories too. Counting your calories will lead you to maintain a better diet because you will be able to tell how your body reacts to what you eat.
#5) Building Muscle is Happier Than Losing Fat
Dieting sucks because you will be in calorie deficit all the time so you will inevitably feel hungry. The constant feeling of hunger means constant discomfort.
On the other hand, when you are building muscle you will only feel uncomfortable when you are training, which shouldn’t take you more than 3-4 hours in a week (unless you are a professional bodybuilder.)
Moreover, when you are building muscle, training will give you a natural high and you will (hopefully) break new personal records (PRs) which will make you happier.
You can still train when you are losing fat but since you will be in a calorie deficit, hitting PRs will be tougher and training will feel like more of a chore when you feel hungry.
#6) Losing Fat is Faster Than Building Muscle
At the fastest rate, you will build a maximum of 2-pounds a month of muscle and that’s only within the first six months of your strength training.
After the first 6 months, muscle building slows down to 1 pound a month (on average). It will even slow down more after the 3rd year to 0.5 pound a month.
On the other hand, you can lose fat at a much faster rate.
You can even lose 10 pounds of fat (or even more) in just 2 weeks.
#7) Building Muscle Makes It Easier to Lose Fat
Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. The more muscle you have, the more will be your resting energy expenditure (REE).
It’s not easy to exactly know how many calories muscles burn. Robert R Wolfe predicts that 22 pounds of muscle will burn 100 calories a day.
I count my calories and according to my calculations, my maintenance calories increased by 300 calories a day after I built 12 pounds of muscle.
So, my experience tells me that muscles burn more calories than Robert R Wolfe’s predictions.
Either Wolfe’s predictions or my experiences are closer to reality, there’s one certain thing: The more muscle you build, the easier it will be to lose fat.
#8) Losing Fat Makes It Easier to Build Muscle
It’s harder to train when you are fat.
When you have less fat in your body, your training performance will increase, so you will be able to build more muscle.
Moreover, some people swear that when you start leaner, more of your extra calories are turned into muscle than fat.
I never tested this, so I’m not sure if it’s true or not but I’m not dismissing it. It may be true. I just don’t believe anything until I try it by myself and see the results.
#9) Losing Fat and Building Muscle Both Require Tracking Your Progress
Technically, it’s possible to build muscle or lose weight without tracking your progress.
However, when you are not tracking your progress, you will be shooting in the dark.
Both losing fat and building muscle are non-linear processes, so carefully tracking your progress will allow you to make tweaks to your strategies.
Otherwise you will burn out quick.
Another advantage of tracking your progress is that you will know what works and what doesn’t.
I consistently keep track of my macros, calories and body measurements so I know exactly what works and what doesn’t.
This makes both losing fat and building muscle easier for me. Since I know my strategy, there’s no guesswork. The only thing I need is going through the motions.
#10) Mainstream Media (MSM) Advice for Losing Fat and Building Muscle is Wrong
They are liars and manipulators, and you should completely ignore what they tell you.
I lost a lot of time and effort on my earlier days, when I followed the mainstream advice.
Only after I wised up, I managed to move forward in life.
Mainstream advice for building muscle and losing fat is no different. It’s garbage.
Most of these mistakes are the direct results of bad MSM advice.
If you want to either lose fat or build muscle, it’s in your best interests to ignore the MSM advice.
Most men on earth are overweight, so losing fat is a must for most men.
Building muscle has way too many benefits to ignore. It only takes 3-4 hours a week of strength training to build muscle, so you really are shooting yourself in the foot if you are not doing it.
These are not easy to do but they are easier when you know what you are doing.
If you are planning to lose fat and build muscle, now you know what is waiting for you and how you can do both.
-Your friend, Lane.