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What To Eat To Lose Fat And Build Muscle?

Can you build muscle at a calorie defecit, to lose fat? Or do you eat at maintenence? I’m obese for my height, 235 pounds at 6FT. I do have some muscle though, my arms are pretty defined, as well as calves. My primary goal is to lose fat, but the end goal after losing fat is to get ripped. I’m worried about eating too little and not gaining any muscle, but of course I’m also worried about over eating and gaining more fat. Any advice would be great. I could use advice on macros as well, I truly just don’t know how to eat. When I was losing weight I just cut out sugar and fast food and counters calories. I know to build muscle properly it’s not as simple.

I’m not sure that I know what this means, but building muscle is not difficult. Lift things and put them back down. Repeat. Keep doing this for months, years… You will grow muscle. Is there an optimal way? Yes, but it’s different for everyone. Chase optimal, but know that you will never catch it.

You had a thread in Beginners with a ton of good information; did you try any of that?

You’re making this too complicated. Eat good food, don’t eat crap, and work hard. Try changing your mindset about food. Think of it as fuel and nothing more. Prioritize eating plenty of quality protein and start a beginner lifting program.

This is really simple.

From the Strength and Conditioning Journal, 2010, a study by Jeff Volek et al, called ‘Low carbohydrate diets promote a more favourable body composition than low fat diets’, showed impressive fat loss for obese men on a keto diet (compared to a low fat diet) while doing weight training for 12 weeks. What’s more impressive is that Volek claims one outlier in the keto group lost 19 lbs of fat and gained 12 lbs of muscle; while another lost 30 lbs of fat and gained 9 lbs of muscle.

That would probably be a good shout in your shoes. Otherwise, any sort of high protein very low carb diet.


Hormonally, keto and lower carb diets do have an advantage in a calorie deficit. The body has 2 main strategies to get energy when in a deficit. One is the growth hormone and IGF1 strategy which tends to burn more fat and spare more muscle. The other is the cortisol and insulin strategy which tends to use more protein and less fat to make up the deficit. The first one occurs more on low carb which tend to signal more GH release, and IGF1 which shuttles nutrients back into muscle. The second occurs more when carbs are higher.

While the carb content of a diet can effect whether you make more GH or cortisol, the fasting period of the day may be a bigger factor with longer fasting windows leading to more GH. A 16:8 fasting split on a mild deficit may work as well as keto on a similar deficit for promoting GH repartitioning.

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I’m going to try calorie cycling. On days that I hit the weights I’m going to up my calories and protein for bulking. Other days I’m doing cardio and eating at a calorie deficit. I’ve got a weight scale that measures % body fat and muscle mass. So I can keep track of what is happening.

This is a recipe for going nowhere. Pick a goal.

Calorie cycling can work but you should still aim for either consistently being at a surplus or a deficit.

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As I see it, you’re gonna be in a calorie deficit no matter what the response is, since your main goal is to lose weight

So, instead of beating yourself up with thinking of two, probably condradictory goals, just lift and have fun.If you gain muscle, awesome.If not, you’ll still look way better with all that fat off

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This was basically me, two years ago (ish). I was severely untrained and overweight. I lost about 60lbs in 6 months, while getting significantly stronger on all my big lifts (with the possible exception of deadlift, which I didn’t test until 6 months in). It is possible if you are seriously detrained and willing to be uncomfortable.

What does the weight scale say now in terms of muscle and body fat?

The two most important questions IMO are 1) How old are you and 2) What is your training and athletic history, primarily how have you progressed in strength on let’s say 5 main exercises since you first lifted weights?

You are too small. We had a guy that was 5’2" and weighed 235 in contest condition in my old gym. I would consider gaining at least 50 pounds immediately.

Was it a hotdog eating contest?

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Have you heard of bodybuilding?

Nope, lol.

I’m not making any judgements, just asking. I mean, if the dude was lean, thats an incredible weight for 5’2"!