Is it even possible to burn fat and gain muscle at the same time?
The answer is yes!
But it’s pretty tricky if you are NOT a seasoned competitor or pro like myself.
First, here’s an overview what SHOULD be happening in the 4 phases of training:
Phase 1 Building size
Phase 2 Creating shape
Phase 3 Revealing symmetry (fat loss)
Phase 4 Final conditioning /peak (fat & water loss)
In my step-by-step system, I break down in detail the 4 phases of prep and exactly how to train for each to reach your goal.
Even though the “symmetry and conditioning phase” is more focused on fat loss, you should be seeing a small reduction during the size and shape phase. MOST newbies end up gaining body fat as they try to get size. Not good!
You actually need fat to push weights and build. So it’s a fine line in the beginning not to be hyper focused on lowering your body fat during the size and shape phase.
A little known secret about weight loss is that some of what you see in the mirror or on the scale is water. And where you are holding that water (intracellularly or extracellularly) would dictate the TYPE of cardio you do and how much TIME.
That is a much larger conversation, but I do give guidance in my program to help structure your cardio program. Make sure you know your true body fat. I recommend you get an Inbody body fat test or Bodpod. The hand held and scales with body fat are widely incorrect.
Basing your training on incorrect information is going to keep you from making the right adjustments at the right time of your prep.
Thus, keeping you from the stage.
If you have very high body fat (over 25%) then you would need to make sure you incorporate a good amount of lower to moderate intensity training sessions in the beginning phases to ensure you are burning fat and NOT losing muscle.
Most newbies do way too much cardio too early in their prep. If you are doing 2 hours of cardio in Phase 1, it doesn’t allow you to go anywhere from there.
Make sure you use cardio sparingly throughout your prep to get past plateaus and ramp up where needed to get through the conditioning phases.
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If you’d like to get all the phases of training and cardio laid out (plus everything else!) for your contest prep, click here.