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How To Gain Muscle and Burn Fat

By Ivan Nikolov

copyright 2008 Ivan Nikolov

This question has been on the minds of many if it's not on yours right now. For this reason, and because I am sick and tired of answering this question over and over, you are going to encounter the simple truth right now.

There you are going "I want to know how to gain muscle and burn fat simultaneously?"

"Sorry, not possible!", is what I say.

And before you say that's garbage, let me immediately give you the science behind my statement.

You see, in order to lose fat (or burn fat) you need to be in a negative calorie balance. In other words what goes in your body in terms of food and calories MUST be less than what you burn throughout your day. Exercise included.

On the contrary, if you want to gain muscle mass you MUST eat slightly more calories than you burn. Or, said differently, you have to be in a positive calorie balance.

Since there is NO WAY you can be both at the same time, there is NO WAY that you can gain muscle and burn fat simultaneously. Simple, eh?

I know it sounds disappointing. You must have secretly hoped that I say "It's possible. Here is the formula...". Trust me, I was once there, too. I, too, thought and hoped that I can shorten my way to a better body by shedding fat while building muscle at the same time. As you can guess I was wrong.

With that said, I want to make a little note here. To some degree, I repeat, to some degree you may see muscle mass gained and fat being burned at the same time in only two occasions.

Let me immediately make a disclaimer here. The first one shouldn't concern you as it lasts for only several weeks in a lifetime. The second one should not cross your mind at all.

The first occasion is when an absolute novice starts exercising, doesn't (still) understand proper eating , but in the first several weeks he/she reports noticeable results in strength and muscle mass gain.

The reason for this phenomenon is called neurological and muscular adaptation. Both of these ultimately produce a short term hypertrophy (muscle mass gain) in the beginner.

As I said this type of muscle gain while (most likely) deficient on calories may happen only in the beginning and only until the body adapts to the new stress.

If you are still reading this article I assume you are pass that point, so like I said this occasion shouldn't concern you. I mentioned it here just for your information.

The second occasion is if you (well, not you of course) use banned medication of some type (steroids, hGH, IGF-1), which may cause muscle mass gain in a state of negative calorie balance. What you see (well, not you) is you burn fat while it appears you gain muscle mass.

What happens in reality is instead of gaining muscle mass, or in other words increasing the circumference (or the number) of contractile tissue, you increase the water content in the muscle fiber. This makes you appear fuller, bigger.

What happened, though, was you didn't gain muscle mass. You retained water. And guess what happens later on when you (actually not you, may be someone else) get off of the "stuff"? The excess water goes where it was initially going to go - out of your body.

See why this is not a long term strategy? Any way, like I said that was just for your information, so that you don't get to ask this question again next time you see someone bulking up (or at least that's what's appearing on the surface) while getting leaner at the same time.

Understand once and forever. Up until this moment science (still) has not given us a straight and useful answer of the question how to build muscle and burn fat at the same time. When that happens I will be one of the first to let you in on the news.

Until then make up your mind. Decide what you want first - to gain muscle or to lose fat. Once you know for sure, go for it and don't let any distractions and uninformed thoughts get on the way.


Ivan Nikolov, an accomplished natural bodybuilder shares a wealth of information on Natural Bodybuilding and Sports Nutrition on his website Start using his comprehensive Free Nutrition Software today!

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