• Courtney Ustrzycki

Can you Gain Muscle & Lose Body Fat?

Can you gain muscle and lose body fat at the same time?

This is known as body recomposition.

Yes, it is absolutely possible to simultaneously gain muscle and lose body fat. It's definitely not easy, but it's possible. And this isn't only fat loss we’re talking about, this is about gaining muscle at the very same time as fat peels away. Think of it like you are staying around the same bodyweight (within a healthy and general fluctuation of a few pounds) but changing how your body ‘looks’ (but it’s so much more than just looks!)

How do you measure body recomposition progress?

You cannot solely measure body recomposition through scale weight. If you lose 2lbs of fat and gain 2lbs of muscle, there's literally zero net gain. The scale is a great tool to implement and track progress, but it's not the best for recomposition.

Other beneficial measurement tools to apply:

- body measurements (your waist being the most important one for recomposition purposes)

- gym performance

- how clothes fit

- how you look in the mirror

- progress photos

How do you know if you can successfully achieve body recomposition?

There's a few categories you may fall into in order for this process to be optimal for you:

If you're a beginner to strength training (ie. you’ve been seriously training for less than 6 months),

If you're highly overweight (I really dislike like using the term ‘obese’ but it does apply here),

If you've taken an extended time away from resistance training (like on a long vacation or coming back from an injury),

Or if you're supplementing with anabolics (also known as taking steroids – which I absolutely know nothing about, so I’m not getting into them and please don’t ask!)

Now it's still absolutely possible for anyone who doesn’t fall under the above mentioned categories to simultaneously gain muscle and lose fat, but those outside of these categories will require much more fine-tuning in terms of nutrition and strength training (programming.)

What tools can you apply to achieve this body recomposition?

Different tools work better for different people – just like when you’re on a construction site, there’s a time and place for each tool in the box. These are a few of my most valuable tools for successful body recomposition:


General tool: tracking calories at an appropriate level

Specific tool: tracking macros (protein, carbs ,and fats) and adhering to target ranges

fine-tuning can include various nutrition protocols like carb cycling and refeed days, depending on each athlete

adequate protein intake helps to fuel and promote lean mass growth


General tool: implement strength training (consistency of 2-3 sessions a week)

Specific tool: custom programmed strength training (consistency of 4-5 sessions a week)

fine-tuning can include different cardio protocols like high intensity intervals, depending on each athlete


There are many factors to take into consideration with each athlete, and understand that no two athletes are the same (insert cute/cheesy comment about how we’re all unique snowflakes!) Body recomposition is absolutely possible, yet can be extremely difficult depending on the level of experience and overall lifestyle and goals of each athlete.

Unsure of where to start to see if/how to apply body recomposition? Have your levels tested through a reliable source. If you’re in the Burlington, Ontario region, contact Deb Anderson to have your BodPod body composition assessment completed and know where your benchmark is.

Phone: +1 905-320-3586 Email: debbieanderson.anderson@gmail.com

Visit my website for guidance opportunities with nutrition and strength training. I take pride in creating custom programs for my athletes to ensure their unique needs, goals and lifestyle are all complimented by their custom programs, in order to achieve optimal success. Visit my COACHING page.

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© 2019 by Courtney Ustrzycki. Photos credit of Georges Schemagin (video) & Workout Magazine Mexico. All rights reserved.