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Why Do People Gain Fat When Building Muscles?

Sep 11, 2008
There are usually 2 objectives in mind when people want to build well defined muscles. These objectives are to gain muscle mass and to lose body fat. The problem is that However, these two objectives are at odds with each other. Why is this so, you probably will ask.

You see, when building muscle mass, you will need to consume more calories than you burn up for energy because you need those extra calories to feed your muscles for them to grow, right?

But on the other hand, to lose body fat, you must burn more calories than you consume in order to get your body to burn off the extra body fat as energy. Now can you see the conflict?

With this contradiction in mind, striving to build muscles and lose body fat at the same time is perhaps not a good approach to your bodybuilding program because more often than not, you will just end up getting neither here nor there.

For most people, they will have to accept the fact that when they are in the bulking up phase, they will put on some body fat in the process because of the extra caloric consumption. So the goal is try not to put on extra body fat when you are bulking up and then cut whatever fat you have put on and more during the cutting phase of your bodybuilding program.

As a general rule, there are basically two approaches you can take when you want to put gain muscle mass.

The first approach is to eat as much food as you can possibly stuff into your stomach. If you adopt this approach, you will find that your life will turn to day long buffets since you think that the more food consume, the more your muscles synthesize. As a matter of fact, this is the preferred approach by many bodybuilders.

To others, this approach is fundamentally flawed because they think that our bodies can only assimilate so much muscle tissue at one go and after it has done so, any remaining calories will be stored as body fat.

For those who are consuming more than 5,000 calories per day, this is obviously far more calories than their muscles need and will invariably result in a considerable amount of body fat accumulated over a period of four to six months bulking up phase. Yes, Michael Phelps said he eats more than 12,000 calories each day to prepare for Beijing Olympics 2008, but that is another story.

The second approach is to take the moderate approach by only eating so many additional calories to support muscle growth. This will hopefully allow you to gain as much lean muscle tissues as possible without putting on too much body fat, which you will have to put in considerable effort to get rid of later during the cutting phase.

So that leads us to questions like how much muscles can you build with a certain amount of controlled caloric consumption? How many calories over mere maintenance of your muscles should you be consuming?

You probably would have heard of someone who claimed that he has added 20 pounds of solid muscle in merely six or seven weeks. While this may be possible for someone who has amazingly good genes and utilizing excellent training and nutritional programs, the fact is that most people are simply not going to be able to even come close to adding this much muscle is such a short duration.

Most people without using enhancing drugs can only hope to achieve about half a pound to one pound of muscle per week and that is if he is doing everything and eating correctly. So think about it, by merely gaining a measly three to four pounds of muscle growth per month, then extravagant caloric consumption will not be necessary, isn't it?

It is sheer common sense that the more calorie you consume over what you body needs, the more body fat you will gain. Therefore, keep your extra caloric consumption to about 250 to 500 calories a day so that you will put on mostly muscle mass instead of too much body fat.

At the same time, you should also need to keep track of your current body fat level and if you see that too much of your weight gain is coming from putting on fat, then you will also need to reduce your calorie consumption even further. Isn't this approach to building lean muscles making more sense?

So which approach would you rather take if you want to put on lean muscles and without putting on extra body fat?
About the Author
Chris Chew is a fitness personal trainer and author of "Burn Fat Build Muscles Fast". More free articles at his sites at Lose Weight Quickly and Gain Weight Fast
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