My first attempt at losing fat involved doing endless running on the treadmill and eating a low-fat diet.
Needless to say, this attempt failed.
I would work my ass off only to see a 2-3 pound weight loss in 1 month.
I would then lose motivation, give up and re-gain all the lost weight in a few days.
This happened about 3 times, and then I eventually just gave up on transforming my body.
That was until I came across as fat-to-fit transformation on the bodybuilding.com forums.
I saw a guy called Justin Robbins make a huge fat-to-fit transformation where he lost 65 pounds in 2 years, and I noticed that while losing the weight he gained a lot of muscle mass.
This led me to study bodybuilding for hours each day, and one thing I learned was that muscle burns fat.
In this article I will explain how this works.
How Muscle Burns Fat
When you have more muscle mass, your metabolism increases.
This means that you burn more calories at rest.
When you burn more calories at rest, it’s much easier to achieve a caloric deficit and thereby lose fat.
Besides that, muscle mass “tightens” up your physique.
The more muscle mass you have, the better you will look (as long as you build it in the right places).
Having a lot of muscle mass enables you to carry more fat while still looking good.
For example, if I had a small amount of muscle mass, I would look skinny-fat now.
However, since I’ve gained 40 pounds of muscle mass all over my body since starting my training in 2010, I’m able to put on some fat around my waist and still look good because I have big shoulders, upper chest, arms and ab muscles.
Right now, I’m about 205 pounds and I carry 14% body-fat.
This means that I have 28.7 pounds of fat around my body (almost all of it is around my lower waist, hips and thighs).
Now, consider if I hadn’t gained that 40 pounds of muscle mass since I started training.
In that case, I would be 165 pounds of skinny-fat at almost 17% body-fat instead of 205 pounds at 14% body-fat.
It’s a massive difference.
The lighter you are, the less body-fat you can get away with while still looking good.
Gaining Muscle Mass Takes A Long Time
Here are some numbers taken from my article “How Much Muscle Can You Gain In 1 Year”:
- 1st year of proper training: 20-25 pounds (2 pounds per month)
- 2nd year of proper training: 10-12 pounds (1 pound per month)
- 3rd year of proper training: 5-6 pounds (0.5 pounds per month).
- 4th year of proper training and onwards: 2-3 pounds (not worth calculating)
Now, if you look at the monthly numbers, that’s not a whole lot of muscle, so the conclusion is that you should start building muscle mass as early as possible.
By doing so, you set yourself up for massive success in your training career:
- You will look better if you add the muscle mass in the right places.
- You will be able to carry more fat while still looking good.
- You will burn more fat at rest so you can eat more food while staying lean.
Start Gaining Muscle Mass Now
The strategy I use to help my skinny-fat clients build muscle mass is to first have them master basic bodyweight exercises.
Once they can do 15 perfect form pull ups, we move on to a bodybuilding program which follows Serge Nubret’s Pump Training principles.
I’ve used this approach with massive success for my private coaching clients, and just got a message now from a client from the UK who achieved 15 pull ups:
Be proud but stay hungry,
“I would work my ass off only to see a 2-3 pound weight loss in 1 month.”
and a bit later
“I saw a guy called Justin Robbins make a huge fat-to-fit transformation where he lost 65 pounds in 2 years, and I noticed that while losing the weight he gained a lot of muscle mass.”
But….65/24 = 2,7 pounds/month…so basically there’s no difference.
Hey Philipp, I see how this can be confusing but you have to account for his muscle gains in that time frame too.
How do you know you’re gaining muscle with measurements? I measure my weight and waist first thing in the morning every Saturday. If I gain weight but increase waist size does that mean I gained muscle. How do you know you’re gaining muscle and not just fat?
Oscar im confused what to do.
Im 6’0 171 and do pullups for 5 reps with 40lbs attached and can get 15 pretty easily when fresh. Im unsure whether to be cutting or bulking because Id estimated my BF% around 15-17 & I have a 32″ waist @ 6’0. I do have low testosterone that has only gotten lower as I have cut more. My strength standards arent good with DL-290×4 Incline BP 135×5 OHP 105×5. I do not gain strength in a deficit but do progress decently in a surplus. Should I follow the 3 week bulk 2 week cut model & focus on strength w/ extra volume during the bulk phase?
Nice picture! :D
And cool initiative with the Stanza calender.
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer
When you are talking about doing 15 pull ups, which grip are you referring to? Underhand or overhand? Thanks.
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer
Your favorite grip. You can choose either grip, and then master 15 reps with the other grip after.