Bulletin #86 discussed some of the basic concepts of nutrition and training used to lose fat and gain muscle. Losing fat and gaining muscle are separate and distinct physiologic processes and were initially dis-cussed separately for just that reason. When you are gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time your body weight doesn’t change much, which is a bit deceptive. When your caloric intake roughly matches your energy expenditure, nothing hap-pens to your body weight yet you are undergoing an incredible transformation. Ideally, the energy cost of building new muscle tissue will be met at the expense of stored body fat. While body fat does not provide the protein needed to build new muscle, fat can supply the energy needed to fuel the anabolic process.
The net result is fat is burnt off while new muscle tissue is built.The energetic cost of building a pound of muscle tissue is not pre-cisely known, but has been estimated to be about 2,800 calories. This agrees with our experience in prepar-ing bodybuilders for com-petition. We at Parrillo Performance have discov-ered that in order to gain a pound of muscle in a week without adding to fats stores, the process should be slow and steady. Most bodybuilders, regardless of age or gender, need to consume an ad-ditional 300 to 500 extra calories per day – these are calories above and beyond your current energy expenditure level. Split the difference and 400 additional calories daily, multiplied for each of the seven days in a week, equates to a weekly caloric increase of 2,800 calories. Muscle is mostly water (which contains no calories) and protein. There are roughly 100 grams of protein in a pound of muscle tissue. At four calories per gram, that accounts for 400 calories. To build a pound of muscle tissue we suggest you intake 300-500 or an average of 400 additional calories a day.
It takes a lot of energy to build a house and it takes a lot of energy to assemble the protein and cells that make up a pound of muscle tissue. A pound of stored body fat yields 3,500 calories upon oxidation. This is enough energy to supply the metabolic cost of building a pound of muscle and to power daily activities. When a person adds muscle and looses fat at equal rates, the energy intake will roughly match the energy expen-diture. The net result is confusing; despite no change in your body weight, you have undergone an astounding transformation. So how do we do it? The first question out of everyone’s mouth when they ask me how to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time is – how many calories should I consume? The answer is whatever number of calories you would normally consume to maintain your current constant body weight. Although this is not a precise methodology, it is a good starting place . Supplying enough calories to maintain your current body weight is re-ferred to meeting your maintenance energy requirement. You ingest enough calories to maintain a constant body weight, yet not too many, as the excess will be directed into weight gain.Although gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time is certainly possible (we see it happen all the time) it is not easy.
There’s not much room for error. You have to do everything right and I strongly suggest you read The Parrillo Performance Nutrition Manual if you haven’t already . There is simply too much information for me to summarize it all in a short ar-ticle like this. More important than how many calories you eat is, what kind of food do you eat? The Nutrition Manual has a detailed list of the foods you should be eating to build muscle and lose fat. The Manual also comes with a food composi-tion guide and a food scale so you can precisely control your nutrient intake. To build muscle while stripping off fat you need to keep your protein intake high, carbohydrate intake moderate and fat intake low. You should increase protein intake and decrease carbohydrate intake, compared to the way you normally eat. A good rule of thumb would be to in-gest one to two grams of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. Fat intake should be limited to 5-10% of calories. Unrefined, complex carbohydrates should be used to meet the remainder of your caloric require-ment. I recommend that you keep your protein intake level and adjust your caloric intake by modulating the carbohydrates in your diet. Try and keep your body weight constant throughout the process .
The Parrillo Performance Body Stat Kit™ is an invaluable tool here. Following scale weight doesn’t tell you how much muscle you’ve gained or how much fat you’ve lost. Gaining ten pounds of muscle and losing ten pounds of fat will change your appearance and body composition dramatically, but your body weight will remain unchanged. The Body Stat Kit™ al-lows you to monitor body composition and this allows you to follow muscle gain and fat loss. The instruction manual that comes with it tells you exactly what to do to keep progress moving in the right direction. By increasing the protein-carbohydrate ratio in your diet, you’re supplying calories that are more prone to be stored as muscle than as fat. Also, by decreasing carbohydrate intake you induce hormonal and metabolic changes that encourages the use of stored body fat as fuel. Rely on lean protein sources such as skin-less chicken or turkey breast, white fish and egg whites. Most people find it impossible to consume two grams of protein per pound of body weight each day from conventional foods. It’s simply too much food. This is where a high quality protein supplement is very useful. Our Optimized Whey Protein™ is an excellent choice here. It contains high levels of glutamine and the branched chain amino acids that help to maximize protein retention .In training you really have to go all out.
You have to train hard and heavy to stimulate muscle growth. This means basic, heavy exercises giving 110%. When doing low rep work, concentrate on explosive contractions that generate a lot of power. In the higher rep ranges concentrate more on moving the weight slowly, especially dur-ing the concentric (lowering) phase of the contraction. “Time under tension” refers to the amount of time a muscle is under tension during a set. In a low rep set, the muscle gets worked very hard, but doesn’t spend much time under tension. Low rep sets are more intense and this is a very potent stimulus for growth. Time under tension is another important growth stimulator and you’ll need to do more reps at a slower pace, which will require the use of lighter weight. High rep sets should be carried to failure. I suspect you’ll find they’re more painful than the low rep sets. The combination of both training styles is very effective at stimulating muscle growth.Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time can bring about rapid and dra-matic changes in your appearance and body composition. It’s hard work. You have to be very strict on your diet and train harder than you normally do .
As a rough guideline I would recommend weight training an hour a day, and possibly more, five or six days a week. Instead of worrying about over-train-ing, worry about under-training. If anything you want to err on the side of over-training here. Occasional, brief periods of over-train-ing can actually help break plateaus and stimulate new growth. Most people will need to do an hour of aerobics each day. If you have some stubborn fat that’s slow to come off, don’t be afraid to do more. Push yourself on your aerobics. You need to work hard enough to break a sweat and breathe hard. Any type of aerobic activity is acceptable however, just so you do it hard.Generally I wouldn’t recommend a program like this for more than eight or ten weeks at a time. It’s very intense and you’ll probably need a break after that long. With all training programs, you’ll eventually reach a plateau. After ten weeks on this program I’d suggest taking a break. Shift into a mode designed to gain muscle, as I discussed last month . Stay strict on your diet but eat a few more calories each day, say 300 more, than you have been. Reduce the aerobics down to 30 minutes a day. This will help you gain a pound or two of muscle. Train hard and good luck!