Hey guys, this is Cori from Redefining Strength. Welcome to the Fitness Hacks Podcast. This is the show where I share all my free workout and nutrition tips. I’m not going to ever fill this episode with sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is if you’re enjoying the podcast to leave a review or leave a five star rating or even better share with somebody you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone you know. So let’s jump right in.

I asked for your fat loss and muscle building questions on Instagram, and I got some great questions that I want to go over. The top one being that I got multiple times was, can you lose fat and gain muscle at the same time? The short answer is yes, you can achieve amazing body recomposition. Many of us have heard this is not possible, and it’s because we equate making aesthetic changes to only calories. So calorie deficit means we’ll lose weight. Calorie surplus means we’ll gain weight, and when we focus simply on calories in versus calories out, we are not going to see the body recomp that we want. This is also why we can lose weight, feel like we’re really progressing and not feel like we’re getting any leaner. It’s why we can be eating in the surplus and feel like we’re not looking more defined while we’re gaining muscle because it’s not simply about calories in versus calories out.

Yes, that is the foundation, but macros matter most for body recomp. If you adjust your macros, you are going to lose fat and potentially gain muscle or gain muscle without gaining fat. So you want to make sure that you’re truly focusing on those macros and specifically protein, but you can lose fat and gain muscle or gain muscle and not gain fat or even lose fat as you’re going throughout that process. But it is a slower process and you’ve got to sometimes step off the scale. If you want to gain muscle, especially, you’ve got to step off the scale because you might see that scale increase, especially if you’re coming out of a calorie deficit and you’ve just lost fat. As you’re adding back in calories, as you’re adding back in potentially carbs, your glycogen stores are going to become full with that. You’re going to gain water weight as well, and because you’re no longer in a deficit, you’re no longer depleted, you are going to gain some weight.

It is not fat being gained, but it is. As stores, you need to push hard to gain muscle and then you potentially will even have to eat more as you see the scale go up because you are gaining more muscle and the more muscle you gain, the more you have to eat to fuel that lean muscle. If you are trying to lose fat and you’re trying to see faster changes on the scale, while you’re probably just depleting your glycogen stores, you’re losing water weight, you’re potentially even putting yourself at risk for losing muscle mass because muscle again takes more energy to be maintained. And if you have less energy coming in, your body’s going to do what it can to adapt to the energy and fuel that it’s getting, and that will mean finding energy from internal sources, and it’s not going to draw from your fat stores that it can use later, which aren’t costing it energy.

It’s going to potentially use your muscle, especially if you’re training hard. It’s why macros matter most, but yes, you can achieve both. It is a slower process. It also means focusing on how you’re adjusting your workouts. You need to focus on the strength work, sit, hit, steady, state, cardio, walking. All these things can be used because want to improve our overall health, and especially interval work can improve different energy systems. It can help with our recovery. It can make sure that we’re able to push that lack of threshold more to lift more and have that strength endurance. So there’s lots of benefits outside of just fat loss for different types of cardio and how we include it. But I think an underrated thing or two underrated things to focus on when we’re talking about losing fat and building muscle is strength work and walking. Walking is going to help you move more, help you have a higher metabolic rate, burn fat without being a stressor or a strain on your body so you can train intensely.

Focusing on building that lean muscle is not only going to help you move better, but it’s going to help you build that lean muscle which will help you more calories at rest be functionally fit, feel better. So we’ve got to focus on those two things in our workouts as we’re adjusting our macros to match and everything can be designed for the time we have. So how you design your breakdown of your workouts will really depend on the time that you have going off of this best macro split and weight training, cardio splits so you don’t undo muscle gains. I bring this up after this because there is no one best. We are searching for a perfect macro ratio that will work for everybody. I can tell you that not only do I cycle ratios personally as I change progressions based on time of year based on how I’m even feeling based on previous ratios and the goals that I want to achieve, you’re going to cycle ratios throughout your entire life and you really should.

The more we do that, the more we’re going to find something sustainable, the more we’re going to see results continue to progress. So if you are trying to lose some fat potentially after you’ve gained muscle, you might find that you go to a higher protein ratio. I can tell you ultimately if you’re going into a deficit, higher protein becomes even more key. If you want to maintain that lean muscle you fought so hard to build and then avoiding going straight to a ton of cardio. Cardio and strength aren’t really either or. There’s the continuum. You can work along with one rep max heavy power lifting on one side with long rest periods and that steady state endurance marathon, ultra-marathon, that type of cardio on the other end. And in between you have metabolic conditioning, metabolic strength, all these different things you can use with different interval work to really make the workouts work for you based on the schedule you have.

Because if you have more days to train, you might include more set cardio days. So on that cardio end of the spectrum and more slower lifting days versus if you have three days to train, you might have to be more in the middle to get some metabolic benefits while also building strength. But you want to cycle your workouts and your macros over time as well because it’s constantly like you’re sort of doing a little too much one way and then a little too much the other way. So maybe you do add in a little more cardio and you’re doing more interval work and you’re not focused quite on building the muscle as much and you want to blast out a little bit faster. So you are still focused on that strength work, but more metabolic strength work. So okay, you go that way, you lose a little bit of fat.

Now you want to focus a little bit more on belly muscles shift. So it’s not these big dramatic changes where we have to be in a cut or a bulk. We want to stay in that middle and we want to focus on macros and that strength work and then implementing cardio strategically. And when we implement cardio strategically, the one caveat I will give you again is include a lot of walking. That’s a great steady state. If you’re an endurance athlete. This doesn’t mean you have to cut it out, but then don’t think more is better. So often where we get in trouble with hit and sit is that we’re not actually using it as or sit. We’re not actually doing that high intensity work because we’re trying to stretch these intervals out for an hour and you can’t maintain the same level of intensity over the hour.

If you’re doing something super intense, it’s automatically going to be shorter, and the only way it would be longer is if you’re doing that sprint work where you work for 10 seconds and then yet truly rest for 10, 11, 12 times to really recover from that true sprint work because you’re going at that a hundred percent density. So the only reason to have a workout go longer is because the rest periods are getting longer. You’re including more mobility work, not because you’re trying to add in more wasted volume. So I would tell you there is no one best anything. It’s about designing for the time you have and making sure the systems work together. If you’re doing more cardio, you might need more carbs. If you’re less active, you might need fewer carbs, but as long as you focus on protein and then sort of adjust and cycle the carbs in fat, you’re going to see the best results and truly maintain that balance and get a diversity of food which will ultimately help your body run more efficiently.

So next thing I wanted to go over. Cardio midlife, how many times per week is good and how long per session intensity, and I want to bring this up in terms of body recomp because it goes back to that you want to be using a diversity. I actually commented on the best cardio for fat loss because someone asked about what they should be including, and it said that walking is vast over steady state cardio and what over the downsides and upsides of that more steady state endurance training that we often see people doing when they want to lose fat and how we’ll go to more, but our body adapts to it. There’s other even downsides to it with hunger cues increasing potentially with some steady state cardio and it being more catabolic to muscle mass. But this is not to demonize it. I think too often we hear something isn’t valuable for something else and then we don’t break down the nuance of it.

We hear strength work is really key if we want to see that body recomp, which it is. But that doesn’t mean not to use intervals, it just means use them strategically based on how you’re designing your strength workouts. If your strength workouts are more circuit based, you might be getting a lot more cardio in than you realize you’re working different energy systems in that way. So then trying to add in all this other straight cardio might be holding you back from seeing the muscle gains you want as you’re trying to lose fat. And you might end up looking a little bit softer than you want in the fat loss process versus if you’re doing more strict slower lifting, maybe more interval work is truly needed. And it goes back to your schedule too. Again, if you have six days a week to train, it’s going to look very different than three days a week.

So I would tell you if you are in midlife, if we are going through menopause perimenopause, struggling to lose fat, we need to focus on the stressor. And right now I see cortisol being demonized so much where it’s like, oh, I don’t want to raise my cortisol levels. No, you don’t want to chronically raise your cortisol levels. You want to force your body to have to have these hormone fluctuations to have to be stressed and recover from that stress, but you have to make sure you’re recovering. That’s the thing we often think, but we’re just under recovering. So with the cardio midlife, consider using all different types. You want some steady state, you want some interval, you want some sprint, you want to work all those different energy systems because that is going to help improve your conditioning, your lack of threshold, all the different things that make you healthier.

Not only cardiovascularly healthier, but be able to lift more, be stronger. You’ll see improvements in your strength work by including some cardio work. So I would tell you include the diversity, but focus on the stressor and the intensity over just doing more. The last thing I wanted to go over that was a great question on body recomp was is it possible for an intermediate lifter to body recomp at any stage in our journey, we can achieve body recomp, but the more advanced, the more experienced you are, the slower the process is going to be. And I’m going to bring this up with muscle gains. So Lyle McDonald actually did a great study of muscle gains estimates for women and men over the year. So for women with one year proper training, it was 10 to 12 pounds over the year, which is about one pound per month, two years of prior training experience, five to six pounds over the year, so about half a pound per month, three years of training experience, 2.5 to three pounds a year 0.25 pounds per month.

If you have four plus years of training, which many of us have, even if it’s sometimes been a little on and off 0.75 to 1.5 pounds a year, so 0.1 pounds per month, it gets slower, it gets harder. But yes, you can achieve it. It just means being more precise. And again, this is where macros matter most. If you are a newbie lifter, potentially not even changing your diet and just starting to train intensely, you’ll start to see body comp. You’ll start to see muscle being gained. You’ll start to see fat being lost because you’re gaining muscle and you’re not even changing your diet. Then the more experience you become, the more you’ve adapted to different training stimuli. So the more you have to add in different ones besides just adding loads, that’s where tempos different training techniques can come into play. But you also have to be more precise with your nutrition.

Again, being very strategic in the calorie surplus or deficit, not going extreme either way because that can ultimately backfire in losing muscle or gaining fat, but really focusing on those macros and constantly cycling them and then being consistent past the point you want to quit. Because most of us, if we’re not seeing that one pound per week change in weight loss, and the closer you get to your goal, the less you’re going to see that unless you want to risk losing muscle. But if we’re not seeing these dramatic changes in other ways, we assume nothing’s happening when results are really snowballing. And if you think about it, you’re gaining one pound of muscle per year potentially, which could be a huge dramatic shift in your body, would comp in how you look, but it doesn’t seem like it. But you’ve got to be consistent past the point you want to quit.

So yes, you can always build muscle and lose fat. You have to have a primary focus, whether or not it’s slightly towards the gaining muscle more efficiently or the losing fat more efficiently. And I can tell you if you’re not at the level of leanness that you want or the last few pounds, focus on that fat loss first a little bit more being strategic with a very small calorie deficit protein, strength work, all that jazz. If you are at your leant level, maybe you shift a little bit more towards those muscle gains because you don’t necessarily have a lot of body fat to use as fuel, so you’ve got to be in that little bit of surplus, but you can achieve both. It’s just a slow process, but you got to be patient. I know we don’t want to be patient, but you got to be patient. But that is the jazz on body recomp. You can achieve it at any age, at any stage, and it is using a combination of strength or cardio and really focusing on those macros. Thanks for listening to the Fitness Hacks Podcast. Again, this is the place where I share all

My free work, workout, and nutrition tips. I’m never going to run sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is if you’re enjoying the podcast to leave a rating review or share it with someone you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and it would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone.

*Please Note: this transcript is auto-generated and there may be some errors in the transcript