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I have asked 20 fitness experts this question.
“Q: How to build muscle and lose fat?
If you could only give 3 tips to build muscle and lose fat, what are 3 tips you give?”
Read on to discover each expert’s tips to build muscle and lose fat.
Skip to your favorite expert using quick links.
Responses listed in the order they were received in:
1. Eat a plant based diet packed with protein.
2. Increasing your resting metabolism so you are burning calories all day with short but effective hi intensity workouts, like those in Evolution 20.
3. Build lean muscle in the larger and smaller muscles groups using resistance training with bands, kettle bell training, and body weight training.
Christine is the Trainer and Judge on Fit for Fashion TV
Creator of Evolution 20 DVD series, Super Shred Series and Body-Reborn Post-Natal Series. Co-creator of KAYO, Better Body Care
To build muscle: set personal records on lifts, be consistent, and eat clean.
In the early stages of one's training, you need to build a foundation of strength.
Trying to progressively increase the loads you lift is the simplest way to do that. Do this over time, 3-4 days a week, EVERY week, and you'll gain.
Eat healthy food and don't make the mistake of thinking you need to gorge on as many calories as possible. It just makes you fat.
To lose fat: Cut calories, not carbs. Train heavy. Let the diet do the work.
Just eating less overall is enough to create a caloric deficit. Count your macros—it's the only way to be sure you're eating less.
You don't need extreme measures like low carb diets. Train heavy enough to keep muscle on.
Don't do high-rep circuits. They don't burn fat any faster.
Sean is the Group Training Director for Muscle&Fitness and Men’s Fitness magazines. He writes about and edit workouts, diets, exercise trends, and the regimens of celebrities and athletes.
1. Lift weights! Don't be afraid to pick up the heavy ones. They'll change your body! (We love this workout for just those reasons.)
2. Eat a balance of protein, healthy fat and carbs at each meal and snack. It'll keep you full and energized.
3. Ditch the scale. Go more by how you feel and how your clothes fit. You're more than a number on the scale!
Fit Bottomed Girls — powered by Jennipher Walters, Erin Whitehead and Kristen Seymour — features multiple weekday posts with fresh fitness content for real women (and even the guys) interested in improving their health and their lives through physical activity and healthy eating, minus the deprivation.
1. Lift heavy
2. Incorporate HIIT cardio
3. Eat higher protein lower carb and healthy fats
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She’s also a contributing editor at Health.
Here are 3 quick tips for beginners.
1. Consume enough protein in your diet. Don't be fooled by the 'more is better' tradition though, 1.8 g/lb/d is enough protein for the majority of trainees.
2. Focus your training efforts on strength training. Strength training generally provides all the benefits stretching and cardio give you and many more.
3. Focus your diet efforts on building a sustainable meal plan with plenty of whole foods. There's no such thing as an essential supplement if your nutritional program is on point. And don't worry yet about things like post-workout carbs or workout nutrition.
Menno Henselmans is the director of Bayesian Bodybuilding.
Here are 3 tips you can use. They're specifically training related and I went with some more specific/actionable ones rather than just broad advice:
Every time you perform any pulling exercise for your back (such as chin ups, pulldowns and rows) focus on pulling the weight using your elbows rather than your hands.
Just imagine that your forearms, wrists and hands don’t even exist and that all of the force is being generated through your elbows. Another way to approach this is to imagine that your hands are simply “hooks” that are attaching you to the weight.
Executing your back exercises with this mindset will decrease the involvement of your biceps and increase the activation of your lats and the other muscles of your mid-back.
One of the major reasons why most lifters have underdeveloped back muscles is because their biceps end up taking on most of the load during their back exercises, and pulling through your elbows will help to prevent this.
Most people know that the core foundation of any effective chest workout is heavy pressing: barbell presses and dumbbell presses performed on either a flat, incline or decline bench.
But as you probably also know, chest pressing is a compound movement that involves more than just your pecs. Your triceps and anterior delts (the front of the shoulder) are also heavily recruited.
The key to effective pressing is to minimize the involvement of the triceps and front delts while maximizing the involvement of the chest.
Here’s one great way to accomplish this.
Instead of just pressing the bar straight up and down on your barbell or machine pressing movements, focus on squeezing your hands inward at the same time as if you were trying to compress the bar together.
This will result in greater activation of the pecs, while at the same time reducing shoulder and triceps involvement.
Achieving a significant level of calf development can be a decent challenge for those who weren’t naturally blessed in the genetics department for this particular muscle. It’s definitely possible, but simply requires a longer period of time and very close attention to detail when it comes to proper form and technique.
Here’s a quick tip among several others I’ll be covering when it comes to proper calf raise form.
Instead of driving yourself up onto the entire ball of your front foot, focus on raising yourself up onto your big toe instead.
This prevents your ankles from rolling outward and maximally stimulates the portion of your calf where the ajority of the mass is located.
Give this one a try and you should notice an immediate improvement in how intensely you’re able to contract your calves on each rep.
Sean Nalewanyj is a best-selling fitness author, natural bodybuilder and success coach who has been publishing science-based, no B.S muscle building and fat loss information online since 2005.
1. Track your macros/meals
2. Circuit Training alternating challenging lifts with sort burst of cardio
3. Make sure you are fueling your workouts and your body correctly
Tera @ fitnesstogo will provide you with a safe, effective, challenging results-oriented workout that is unique to your fitness goals.
I would be more than happy to provide you with additional information on how to lose fat and build muscle.
This is a great article on how to lose fat .
Another tip I use is to make sure you are getting enough sleep.
Lack of sleep causes your body to stress, and when your body is stressed you usually start storing fat as a response.
Getting a good night sleep with a full REM cycle is very important for recovery from workouts and fat loss.
Bodybuilding.com- the world's largest online fitness store.
#1. Eat protein at EVERY meal. There has been a handful of studies since 2015 showing how protein is essential for simultaneous muscle gain & weight loss.
One of the most recent studies came from my alma mater McMaster University.
#2. Ditch the long duration cardio & replace it with HIIT sprints.
Traditional cardio is great for overall health, longevity & aerobic endurance but it stinks as a weight loss tool....and it cannibalizes muscle mass.
HIIT is muscle sparing, improves heart function and increases resting metabolism for an extended post-workout period of time. More info on why HIIT is superior to slow cardio.
#3. Consume the majority of your carbs pre/intra/post workout (aka peri-workout nutrition) .
The science hasn't caught up with this technique yet, but MY observational research shows conclusively that trainees who restrict their "throughout the day" carbs to fibrous veggies AND consume their starchy/sugary carbs surrounding their workouts see a significant shift in both fat loss and increased muscle mass.
Douglas Robb @healthhabits have helped hundreds of “real world” people transform their bodies.
1. Eat plenty of high-quality protein at every meal. This helps with both fat loss and muscle gain.
2. Lift heavy things and try to increase your strength over time. This is especially important during a dieting phase, as it prevents you from losing muscle and prevents your metabolism from slowing down.
3. Make sure to get good sleep every night if you can.
Kris Gunnars is the CEO of Authority Nutrition which provides daily articles about nutrition, weight loss and health.
1) Create a proper balance of healthy macro nutrients by keeping your carbs between 45-65%, protein between 10-35%, and fats between 20-35% of your total daily intake.
See a registered dietitian for further detailed meal planning.
2) Complete over 200 minutes of cardio a week and try to incorporate cross-training.
3) Include weight training by keeping your sets around 3-6 and your repetitions between 6-12 at 70-80% 1RM intensity.
Mollie is a San Diego area personal trainer, group fitness instructor and a strength and conditioning coach. She works at the American Council on Exercise helping people become qualified fitness professionals.
1. Eat less calories than you burn
2. 1gram of protein for every pound of body mass divided in 5 meals daily
3. 25grams of protein immediately before and after your workouts
*Just make sure you are resistance training to 3 times a week
Franchesca Spruce @ dotfit.com
1. The best way to lose fat is with a healthy, calorie specific diet. Once you understand how many calories you need, just stick to that number and you will lose the excess fat.
2. To build muscle, be sure to lift the correct amount of weight and use the correct amount of repetitions.
In general, use a weight that makes your muscles temporarily fatigued after doing 8-12 reps.
Franklin is a ACE certified trainer, TPI L3 Golf Fitness Specialist & one of SHAPE Magazine's Top 50 Trainers in America.
The easiest way to do this for most people is to resistance train with moderately heavy to heavy weights using full body movements.
This will increase muscle mass which will help the person reduce their body fat even when they're not training.
Aim to do 3-5 days of resistance training each week and supplement those sessions with one lower intensity cardio workout and 1-2 High Intensity Interval Training session.
Also, we generally suggest individuals looking to gain muscle and lose fat ensure that they are eating correctly with a diet high in quality protein and nutrient rich, unprocessed foods.
Mike is the founder & owner of Athletic Lab.
1. Go Harder
For maximum fat-burning, body-sculpting results, forget steady types of exercise that you can maintain for long periods.
You need varied, intense workouts that leave you totally spent—ideally in less than an hour.
My motto is “go harder, no longer”. When people are used to long training sessions it can take a while for them to learn to really go all-out for shorter duration, they’re so used to holding back so they can keep going.
But with practice they find that extra gear and start to build more explosive fitness, which does amazing things for their bodies.
2. Go Heavy
A lot of people think that the best way to shed fat is by doing lots of steady cardio. You can lose fat that way, but it’s not the optimal type of training for fat loss.
By adding muscle to your body you will burn more fat all of the time as well as improving your shape.
3. Go for Variety
Don’t just repeat the same workout or do the same type of exercise every time you train. You need to vary your training.
This helps keep boredom at bay and reduces your risk of injuries which are often caused by too much repetition of the same movements.
It also maximizes results by ensuring all your different muscles get fired up and that your body doesn’t get comfortable with one type of exercise.
Julia Buckley is the founder of juliabuckleyfitness.com
1. Track your macros
2. Understand your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) and learn how to use it to build lean muscle while eating the foods you love.
3. Be consistent at the gym and keep pushing yourself.
Ted Kallmyer is a successful flexible dieter who eats healthy, works out regularly, and is renowned for his cooking skills.
#1. Workout every day. Well, almost every day. Consistency is the king of results.
Six or Seven days in a row will give you more opportunities to build and burn than four days on and three days off.
The goal is to exercise 22 to 25 days a month. This also means you get to enjoy “hard” days and “maintenance” days throughout the week.
Eat clean, sleep well, hydrate, laugh often, and train 6 or 7 days a week.
#2. Mix it UP! Train your weaknesses as much or more than your strengths. Yoga, Pilates, Plyometrics, weight training, proprioception, aerobic, anaerobic, HIT - all of it.
From boxing to gymnastics, if you force your body to LEARN while you train, you will build more muscle and burn more fat in a shorter period of time.
#3. Intensity. You must try to improve over time.
From week to week/month to month, it helps to gradually add more reps, heavier weights, increase range of motion, improve flexibility, boost power & speed, add skill, and train to become more athletic.
Striving to learn, grow, and get better is how you achieve your goals.
Tony Horton is the wildly popular creator of the best-selling fitness series: P90X, P90X2, P90X3, and Ten Minute Trainer.
1. Make sure that you maintain a caloric deficit over time, with some strategic refeeds, or diet breaks thrown in for sanity. Keep a good balance of protein, carbs and fat to make sure you're not missing out on vital nutrients.
2. Train intensely with weights 3-4x per week and focus on maintaining/gaining strength.
3. Incorporate high-intensity cardio 1-2x per week, if necessary.
JC Deen is the founder of JCDFitness, he gives the most practical, time-tested approach to losing fat, and building the body that you want to build.
#1. Fat loss is about getting rid of excess stored energy (your body fat) and to do that you have to eat less or eat the right amount of calories to force your body to tap into your stored energy or burn off fat for fuel so as for diet there are no magic foods, low carb tricks or etc. that you can do and btw... low carb works because it forces you to eat less (nothing magic about that).
#2. Muscle gain is about TWO things. Getting stronger or breaking down your muscles and then getting enough protein to build your muscles back up. No need for mass gainers or excess calories. Just make sure you get at least .7 grams of protein per pound (not the 1.5g the supplement companies tell you). Muscle gain is not 'bulking up' with excess calories where you gain fat & muscle.
#3. Intermittent fasting is the best fat loss magic trick I know. You'll burn more fat; working out fasted and you'll end up eating less.
Adrian Bryant is the creator of Nowloss.com, he helps people to look good naked.
The biggest obstacle for folks trying to lose weight is overeating. Every dieter knows that he/she is supposed to maintain a calorie deficit, but for some reason they overeat.
Overeating on the weekend, binge eating, late night snacking and drinking calories are some of the main reasons why folks overeat.
Make sure you’re in a real calorie deficit. Count calories if you don’t have an estimate of the number of calories you consume in a day. Just don’t obsess over it – stop counting calories once you can accurately eyeball portions.
I talk more about overeating in this article.
Train the big muscle groups
Use strength training to increase muscle mass. The more muscle you have the easier it’ll be to burn fat and your metabolism will be fast. If you want to increase muscle mass fast – target the big muscle groups – the legs, glutes, back, chest and so on.
A 1% growth of leg muscles is better than 5% growth of ab muscles.
Most people TRY to lose weight – they lack the intention. You have to commit fully to losing weight and stay consistent. Stay consistent with exercise and diet. If you’re not seeing results make adjustments in your diet or workout routine but don’t quit.
Brian Syuki is the founder of Focusfitness and helps people to get lean and strong at home, using body weight exercises.
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