The workout that you use to build muscle is the workout that you use to lose fat.
The reps don’t go up.
The rest periods don’t go down.
- If you want to lose fat, eat for fat loss and train for strength.
- If you want to build muscle, eat to build muscle and train for strength.
If you start eating less while increasing your reps and decreasing your rest, you’ll lose muscle.
That’s not a good thing because muscle gives you that toned look when you’re lean, keeps your metabolism higher so you can eat more calories without gaining fat, gives you functionality into your later years and even is a strong predictor of how long people live.
Here’s my notes from a seminar I did with the late great Charles Poliquin on the subject:
HOW DO YOU PREDICT HOW LONG SOMEONE WILL LIVE?
#1 – muscle mass
#2 – muscle strength
Aids patients are given steroids because they die of being skinny essentially.
There is an extreme correlation with your ability to build muscle mass and your immune system. The better your immune system, the better you build muscle mass. If you build muscle mass, your immune system is stronger as the protein from muscle helps out the immune system.
So how do we apply this information?
Like I’ve said many times before…
You either eat for fat loss and train for strength or you eat to build muscle and train for strength.
- If you want to eat for fat loss reduce carbohydrates and either slightly decrease or increase fat (depending on how you tolerate carbs and fat)
- If you want to build muscle increase carbohydrates and either slightly decrease or increase fat (depending on how you tolerate carbs and fat)
- Protein remains the same and at a bare minimum is 100 grams/day for women and 150 grams/day for men
When eating for fat loss, you wouldn’t want to do more exercise volume (more reps and/or more sets and reps or even more high intensity cardio) because you’ll have less energy and fuel for recovery.
So now you are asking more of your body and unfortunately it will not recover as well compared to when you were eating more, and this can be made even worse if you have a stressful life and elevated cortisol levels…
So you do the opposite.
- You keep training the same (taken care of by our programming at BEFIT).
- You lift as heavy as you can with perfect technique for the given rep range and increase the rest period or rest as needed (this works even better if you are a more experienced lifter or stronger as you are able to engage more of your nervous system and muscle fibres)
- You listen to your body and lower the reps and increase the rest in some situations if you are feeling low energy (let your good nutrition carry your gains underscored by your consistency!)
- Our team of personal trainers can help guide these decisions with you when you are in the gym with us.
- Of course, these sort of decisions are always easier when you have quantifiable info of your weights, reps, and sets from previous workouts. Here’s a blog I wrote on the topic.
Did you know?
- Your strength drops off really fast with high rep sets with decreased food. You wont necessarily see a difference in 6-8 rep range, but you’ll definitely see a decrease in 12 + reps (think less food less fuel, as you won’t have the energy for those high rep sets, and you’ll actually start losing muscle because those higher rep sets will cause you to be catabolic and it will eat away at muscle tissue).
- One way of staying anabolic (preserving muscle), would be sipping on EAA (essential amino acids during your workout)
So to summarize…
More is not better. Better is better. What you might need mentally is not what your body needs physically. As always the biggest limitation to your success is that voice inside your head.
But this works.
It’s what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years and takes into account hormonal balance and stress of modern day life.
You do the exact same training for building muscle or fat loss in your training.
You just adjust the nutrition and let your nutrition and consistency carry you.
Committed to your success,
Josh Saunders, BS, CSCS, PN-1