How to build muscle and lose belly fat (PROVEN by Science)

how to build muscle lose belly fat

If you are skinny fat like me, you need to build muscles.

Not only do you look weak, but it’s also unhealthy.

Building muscle is hard as much as losing belly fat.

If you want to know how to build muscle and lose belly fat at the same time, this comprehensive guide is for you.

How to lose fat and gain muscle naturally

Everything in Healthful Papa is about healing and improving your body using natural sources. Therefore, building muscle should be done naturally.

I like doing things naturally because I heard some stuff about steroid side effects.

If you want things natural, especially when it comes to weight loss, you are in the right place.

Building muscle and losing fat at the same time is hard. I’m coming from experience and years of research.

In saying that, it is possible. The caveat is, your gains, or losses won’t be significant. Your progress will be slow. 

You might even quit because you don’t see immediate results. You’ll get discouraged and move on to the next diet. Or worse, give up on your health.

Is it possible to lose weight and gain muscle at the same time?

I also wanted to know if you can gain muscle and lose fat while using natural methods. 

I tried, and I failed. It was hard. No, it was impossible.

I didn’t give up. I studied, learned. Read all the Science journals and implemented them. After all that, this is what I decided.

It is hard. No, it’s impossible.

You see, I have the body type of a sloth, and I eat like a pig. Even if I was eating right, it was tough.

In saying that, there are people who can build muscle and lose belly fat at the same time. I’m not one of them, but it could be you.

The following are two variables you have to meet:

  1. You are new to resistance training and the ectomorphy type.
  2. You are a mesomorph.

You are new to resistance training and the ectomorph type

If you only started lifting, zero experience, you can build muscle instantaneously. But, you can’t just be new, you need to be the ectomorph type. 

An ectomorph type has a hard time gaining muscle but can eat a whale and not gain weight. 

Ectomorphs have a hard time putting on muscle, but if they are new to resistance training, their muscles are very receptive, much like how a children’s mind is like a sponge to learn new things.

However, you will hit a plateau. Soon, your muscles won’t be as responsive to growth.

You are a mesomorph

Mesomorphs are freaks of nature. If you are one of them, then count yourself lucky because you can lift weights, have a siesta, and lose belly fat.

If you don’t meet these criteria, sadly, it’s a hard road ahead. And building muscle while losing belly fat is hard. Really hard.

What I recommend is breaking up your goal. Gain muscle one season, lose belly fat the next. For example, your goal in the winter is to build muscle. When summer comes, lose the belly fat. 

How to build muscle

The following are the foundations of building muscle naturally:

  • Resistance training
  • Nutrition
  • Mindset

Resistance training

Everyone knows that to build muscle, you need to lift weights. But, do you know the frequency or volume required to build muscle mass?

Can you build muscles just doing 1 set per muscle group? 

How about three sets per muscle group?

Perhaps five sets?

Research has found that doing one set per muscle group is enough to grow muscles.

This is great for busy people who barely have the time to get fit.

However, you can gain more muscle if you have more time on your hands.

Allocating more sets to each muscle will result in more muscles in the long run.

This table below shows how much muscle you can gain doing 1 set, three sets, five sets per muscle group.

muscle gains result table

[source: Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men]

Nutrition

Now you need to learn how to feed your muscles. The first thing that comes to mind is protein, right? However, that’s not all.

Protein is good to have with ideal carbs and good fats. However, you need to break down the fat, the carb, and the protein.

You can eat all the protein in the world, but if your body can’t process it, it will just turn to fat. 

I used to eat a significant amount of protein. I ate more than the recommended amount of 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight. Yet, I wasn’t getting the gains I expected.

It baffled me. Why am I eating this much protein, but I’m not getting results? 

Then it occurred to me. Perhaps I’m not digesting proteins properly. 

So, I tried digestive aids, specifically enzymes. There are many enzymes in stores, but I soon found out that quality matters.

I tried moderately priced digestive enzymes for a month, but I never gained muscle mass.

Then someone referred me to Masszymes from a Private Facebook group that I’m in.

At first, I thought, “WTF, $75 for a bottle!?!? F off!”

After careful consideration, reviewing reviews, and after a long-awaited bonus, I bought a bottle.

Long story short, I gained muscle. I don’t want to brag by showing you my biceps.

It’s not that big…

Yeah I know it’s not massive, but hey, it’s a major accomplishment for me.

I wish I can say I gained an inch, but no, I got half a millimeter. Look, I’m not saying you’ll get the same result. You might gain more lean muscle than I or it may not work for you, but you can try it for FREE!

Their 365 days money-back guarantee is very generous. One year? I mean, who does that?

After reading this guarantee, I was kicking myself for buying one bottle without reading more. You can literally empty one bottle, return it, and get your money back. 

IMPORTANT! Don’t open the second bottle. Otherwise, they won’t honor the guarantee.

So, you have nothing to worry about when you buy hundreds of Masszymes, or to subscribe to receive a monthly bottle and save 53% off. 

Click here to get massive discounts and start building muscle without spending a truckload on protein powders.

So far, you know that you need protein to build muscle. Also, you need to break down protein with enzymes.

The next part of building muscle is eating more. Don’t get all excited just yet.

When I say eating more, you can’t just eat anything. You need to eat quality nutrients, such as vegetables, complex carbs, and lean protein. 

Study shows the importance of eating more when it comes to gaining muscle mass. The recommended amount of calorie surplus is around 350 to 500 calories per day.

Eating healthy, digesting the amount of protein for muscle building, and adding 500 calories to your daily caloric needs will exponentially grow your muscles.

Mindset

Often overlooked, mindset is an integral part of losing weight and building muscles. Attitude determines your success in life, not just your fitness.

Look at Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, even Oprah. Do you know why they are successful? They have the mindset to keep learning and growing. Not just to know, but also to implement. 

You see, it takes motivation, focus, and fortitude to keep learning and take action. 

How does this apply to fitness? When you feel tired, lazy, rundown, do you have the dedication to go to the gym?

Reading this post puts you in a great place compared to others who choose to binge on Netflix.

If you don’t have the right mindset to keep working out, keep eating right, you will not build muscle, and your belly fat will be hanging around.

How to lose belly fat

Winter is over. Summer is just around the corner. You probably gained a considerable amount of fat and muscle.

It’s excellent you gained muscle, but your belly is also sticking out. Not the ideal body for the beach.

You can check out my comprehensive guide to losing belly fat by clicking here.

For a quick run-through, the following is how to lose belly fat:

  • Eat less
  • Do cardio
  • Learn your fat burning zone

Eat less

Well, eating less comes to being in a calorie deficit. You can utilize two methods to be in a calorie deficit. One such method is eating less. 

Your body is like a wallet. The more notes, cards, you put into it, the fatter it gets. 

The more you eat, the fatter you become. However, what if you can take out your money? Which gets me to my next point.

Do cardio

NOT CARDIO!”

Don’t hit the back button just yet. I will show you how you can lose belly fat without much effort using most exercise.

Engaging in cardio will put you in a calorie deficit. Cardio will help you burn the calories you put into your body. 

Again, think of the wallet analogy. If you don’t take out the notes or cards in your wallet? Your wallet stays thick and fat, right?

What if you take out the money, and cards, your wallet will get light and thin. It works similar to your body. If you use up the energy you got from your meals, and at the end of the day you are under your calorie maintenance, you will lose weight.

But I know you hate cardio because I do too. It’s time to get to know your fat-burning zone.

Learn your fat burning zone

Do you know that you can lose fat with mild cardio? As long as you are hitting your fat-burning zone, you are melting fat.

I used walking as a form of cardio to lose almost 30 lbs off my body weight.

To find your fat-burning zone, you need to know your maximum heart rate using our MHR calculator.

After finding your MHR, use the fat burning calculator to calculate your ideal heart rate to burn fat. 

[source: Quantifying differences in the “fat burning” zone and the aerobic zone: implications for training.]

You can use any type of exercise and lose weight by hitting your fat-burning zone.

Build muscle, lose fat workout

You can build muscle with any type of resistance exercise. But, it’s tough to lose fat with resistance training. Is there a, build muscle, lose belly fat workout? 

What if you can combine cardio and resistance training? So you can build muscle and lose fat at the same time.

With high-intensity interval training, a.k.a., HIIT, you can.

McMaster University compared a 1 minute HIIT regime to a traditional 50 mins training routine. 

The results astounded both participants and researchers. The improvements of both groups in their cardio fitness, insulin sensitivity, and muscle growth were the same.

“What we found after several months of training was that the two groups improved by the same extent.”

Dr. Martin Gibala

The HIIT workout had a total time of 10 mins, consisting of a warm-up at the start and a brief cooldown. And in between were 3 x 20 secs of intense activity with short rest at the end of each 20 seconds.

[source: Is one minute of exercise really enough?]

Dr. Martin Gibala also mentioned that some responded to the program well, and others were not as receptive.

“Now obviously there’s individual differences there some people responded more than others but the fact that, on average, especially that improvement in their cardiovascular fitness was the same on average identical on average. That was quite a stunning result to me.”

Dr. Martin Gibala

One thing to consider is that the subjects were obese individuals who lived a sedentary lifestyle. The body is more receptive to growth with new stimulation, such as exercise. The results could be different with trained individuals.

So, should you start reducing your workout time to 10 minutes? You can try and see how you go. 

Workout to lose belly fat and build muscle in 10 minutes at home

You can do these exercises at home without gym equipment. What you’ll need are two chairs, your body, and your motivation.

Perform each exercise for 25 seconds. Between exercises, take a 5 seconds rest. I planned this HIIT regimen based on the study:

  • Jump
  • Push-ups
  • Jumping jacks
  • Chair dips
  • Jog in place
  • Jump squat
  • Crunch
  • Wide grip push-up
  • Jog in place
  • Diamond push-up
  • Jog in place 
  • Chair dips
  • Lying leg raises
  • Jog in place

Now is when you give it everything you’ve got.

  • 20 seconds ALL OUT RUN IN PLACE
  • 5 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds ALL OUT RUN IN PLACE
  • 5 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds ALL OUT RUN IN PLACE

STOP! Congratulations, that’s it for today, now stretch.

  • 60 seconds stretch

Make sure you allocate enough time to cool down and stretch. You can do the following stretches:

Diet plan to lose belly fat and gain muscle

When it comes to a diet plan to lose belly fat and gain muscle, it gets tricky. Various research shows the loss of lean muscle mass on different types of weight loss programs.

The table below shows how the ketogenic diet, the very low caloric diet, the high protein diet, and the high fiber diet fail in retaining lean muscle mass. 

fat and lean mass loss table

By far, the high protein diet is ahead of the line up with only 11% lean muscle mass loss compared to the rest at 24% – 25%.

It’s important to note, though, that each diet program engaged in different types of exercises.

Also, keep this supplement in mind when you are at the supplement store, chromium picolinate.

In the same study, Chromium Picolinate shows a significant reduction in fat mass while keeping lean muscle mass to a bare minimum of 2%. 

[source: Body Composition Changes in Weight Loss: Strategies and Supplementation for Maintaining Lean Body Mass, a Brief Review]

Not all research is the same. Just have a look at this next research.

Another study shows no loss of muscle mass in a low calorie and adequate-protein diet with resistance training.

The table below shows how a low-calorie diet combined with resistance training does not affect muscle loss.

build muscle lose belly fat table

[source: Preserving Healthy Muscle during Weight Loss]

The following is my typical daily diet when I am trying to gain muscle mass:

Breakfast

Four large eggs, two fried tomatoes with ten tablespoons of rice

150 gram of chicken breast, lettuce salad with ten tablespoons of rice

Lunch

Chicken burger with veggies

Chicken burrito with beans and all the good stuff

Dinner

Pork adobo and capsicums with ten tablespoons of rice

A second serving of pork adobo

Don’t take my plan and follow it, well you can if you wanted. But as you can see, I eat lots of rice because I love it. You might not feel the same way.

So, you should create your customized diet plan according to your needs. Customizing your diet plan for weight loss or weight gain is easy.

You just need to calculate your daily calorie needs according to your goal. Since this article is all about gaining muscles, I recommend 2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight.

And to prevent or minimize your fat gain while building muscle, you should be on a 350 to 500 calorie surplus per day.

Or you can do it this way. Be on a calorie surplus one week, then next week, be on maintenance.

I recommend downloading the free Myfitnesspal app to track your calories, and it’s what I use. Their database of food is vast, so you won’t have any problems finding your favorite. Using it is quite simple. 

Conclusion

Unless you have a body that burns fat all day, building muscle and losing belly fat at the same time is tough. It’s almost impossible. 

If you’ve been working out for a few years and a veteran, it’s unlikely that you’ll benefit from light resistance training. Therefore I recommend having a bulking phase and cutting stage.

The following will make you lose belly fat while building muscle:

  • Resistance training
  • Nutrition
  • Cardio
  • Mindset

When you have the body of a furnace, you can build muscle while melting belly fat. However, if your body is built like mine, it’s almost impossible.

So, you need to separate the two. Build muscle now, then lose belly fat later. It doesn’t have to be in that order.

And that’s how you build muscle and lose belly fat.


Nutritionist

Christian Tanobey

Metabolism of a sloth and a body that’s almost impossible to put on muscles motivated me to study weight loss and nutrition. Sharing what I’ve learned and experienced to help you achieve your ideal body.


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