I often get asked the question,
Is it possible to lose body fat while simultaneously building lean muscle?
The answer is yes but it is extremely difficult. Having a goal to maintain muscle while training to lose body fat is more realistic and manageable for most people.
To lose body fat and maintain muscle, there need to be a few things happening.
We know you need to be in a caloric deficit of at least 10-20% below your maintenance in calories. So if for example, your maintenance is 2000 calories in a day, you should aiming to eat 1800-1900 calories. Keep in mind being in a caloric deficit is necessary in order to lose body fat so this is a non-negotiable.
The next thing that should be happening is you should be strength training consistently at least 3-4 days a week. You should be focusing on trying to get stronger and lifting heavy especially for your bigger compound movements like squats, deadlifts and bench pressing and rowing.
You need to be eating enough protein to build and sustain muscle. Aim for one gram per one pound of body weight. (If you are overweight, aim for gram per one pound of LEAN body weight). This is necessary to stimulate muscle protein synthesis which is necessary in order to build and maintain muscle.
If you successfully prioritize these 3 elements, you should lose body fat and maintain your lean muscle mass. If you are new to working out or are super vigilant, you might even gain some muscle.