What we all want: How to build muscles and reduce fat

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Reduce fat and build muscle, is that possible?

You may well be famliar with this problem: Summer is just around the corner and when you look in the mirror, you are not quite satisfied. Instead of a six-pack you see a little too much extra padding. You want a defined, muscular body – and preferably as soon as possible. But is it possible to build up muscle and lose body fat at the same time?

The physiological background - muscle building and fat loss

From a biological point of view, this is difficult. Building up muscles is an anabolic process, i.e. a building up process. This requires a surplus of calories and heavy weight training. Fat loss on the other hand is a catabolic process, i.e. a breaking down process. This requires a calorie deficit, i.e. you have to burn more calories than you consume. A deficit of 200-500 calories is recommended, depending on your overall calorie requirements. However, if you reduce your micro- and macronutrient intake too drastically and thus lose weight too quickly, you will simultaneously lose muscle mass and the yo-yo effect threatens to set in. In the long term, this can even damage your metabolism. So these two processes are, so to speak, antagonistic and do not seem to be compatible. But that does not mean that you cannot reach your goal!

Build muscle and lose fat at the same time - the solution

Thankfully, there is a method that can help you build muscle and get rid of excess fat in the long term. This is divided into a muscle building and a definition phase. Both phases should last at least 3 months in order to achieve optimal results.

The build-up phase - building muscles

In the build-up phase, you are trying to build up muscles as effectively as possible. This requires frequent weight training and a diet rich in calories and protein. The formation of new muscle mass increases the need for protein. You should therefore try to increase your daily protein intake to 1-2 grams per kilogram of body weight. You need a nutrition plan designed for muscle building to ensure you are getting the right amount of nutrients. You can determine this with our BMI calculator. Muscles don’t only look attractive, they also play a crucial role in calorie burning. Every kilogram of muscle burns additional calories. This in turn helps you lose weight. So the more muscle mass you gain, the more fat you will burn.

The definition phase - reducing fat

During the definition phase, the focus is on fat reduction. For this, a calorie deficit of around 500 calories per day is required. With our calorie calculator you can easily calculate your calorie needs. During this phase you should maintain your protein-rich diet and strength training. This will help you maintain your hard-earned muscles. During the definition phase, however, you will not build any extra muscles. To get the optimal amount of nutrients during this phase, you should follow a body definition diet plan. Many choose a low-carb diet at this stage. It is worthwhile noting here that simultaneous endurance training is counterproductive in terms of maintaining muscle mass and strength. The body finds it difficult to adapt to the conflicting demands. This is because the endurance activity sends a stimulus for muscle breakdown. So if you would like to build up muscles and reduce fat, you should work on the goals at different times.

Find out here what is better for your goal: endurance training or strength training.

Fat loss has many benefits. On the one hand, of course, is the aesthetic reward of a defined six-pack or slimmer thighs. However, losing fat also has many health benefits. Reducing visceral fat minimizes the risk of many diseases. This is the fat in the abdomen and is considered a risk factor for many health problems. Since a targeted fat reduction is not possible, a healthy diet and overall training programme is the best approach.

Training recommendations for both phases

Which of the phases you choose to begin with depends on your primary objective. If your body fat is in the normal range and your main goal is to build muscle, then we advise you to begin with the build-up phase. If you want to lose fat as quickly and healthily as possible, you should start with the definition phase.

The conclusion to muscle building and fat loss

It can be concluded that it is not possible to reduce fat and build muscles at the same time. However, with targeted diet and training phases you can achieve a lean and muscular body in the long term. Upfit can help you to reach your goal as quickly as possible. Individually adapted to your needs, we will create an individual meal plan for you. Start today and nothing stands in the way of your dream figure!

Frequently Asked Questions

Strength training builds muscles, endurance training melts fat. That’s the basic rule you hear in every gym. In very simplistic terms, it’s true. However, fat is also burned during muscle build-up (just to a much lesser extent). In general, therefore, it makes sense to consider muscle build-up and fat loss together, instead of picking just one and neglecting the other.

As is so often the case, a happy medium is the best way. Intensive endurance training will help you to get rid of excess fat. A general strength programme, on the other hand, will increase your basal metabolic rate and increase your energy requirements even at rest.

Again, it is difficult to give a general answer. To be as effective as possible, you should favour a combination here as well. It is best to choose a sport or a classic endurance/strength training programme and then adapt your diet accordingly. By reducing carbohydrates and fats at the same time as increasing your basal metabolic rate, you will significantly increase your fat burning abilities. However, a healthy and balanced diet should be aimed for regardless of the goal. If you lack the time or the know-how, simply let the Upfit team create a tailor-made meal plan for you!


(see Kieser, W. (2016). Ein starker Körper kennt keinen Schmerz: gesundheitsorientiertes Krafttraining nach der Kieser-Methode. Heyne Verlag.)

(see Eichhorn, C., & Hauner, H. (2015). Abspecken – Aber richtig! MMW-Fortschritte der Medizin, 157(3). p. 54-61.)

(see Steinegger, M. Gezielter Muskelaufbau und gezielter Fettabbau in Form eines Selbstversuches. p. 15-23.)

(see Trebing, J. (2013). Die Notwendigkeit von Proteinshakes beim Muskelaufbau.)

(see Feil, W., Oberem, S., & Reichenauer-Feil, A. (2005). Ihr Ernährungs-Coach-Mehr Leistung im Sport: Mehr Muskeln, weniger Fett-Nie wieder Schwachstellen an Sehnen, Muskeln und Gelenken-Für mehr Spaß und Erfolg. Georg Thieme Verlag. p. 31.)

(see Zatsiorsky, V., & Kraemer, W. (2016). Krafttraining: Praxis und Wissenschaft. Meyer & Meyer Verlag. p. 258.)

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