Should I Lose Weight Before Building Muscle as a Female? This is a common question that has been asked by many females looking to get in better shape, health, or a combination of the two. Everyone is different—and you’re probably rolling your eyes because you’ve heard that one before, but it’s true! Every person’s genetic makeup, past with sports and exercise, diet, nutrition, lifestyle, and health are different! And these can all contribute to how a person is able to obtain progress when trying to lose fat and build muscle.
That’s why we’ve put together this article clarifying why losing weight and losing fat are different, who should strive to lose fat first and gain muscle first, and an array of other beneficial information needed to get the best results from all your sweaty hard work!
Should I Lose Weight Before Building Muscle As A Female?
This question needs some deciphering and clarification first.
Weight does not contribute to the process of building muscles, fat does. The misnomer that has been continuously marketed on losing weight rather than fat, has created a miscommunication and spread misinformation out into the world where people have latched onto it like flies on honey. The focus should be on losing fat instead.
Your Body Fat Percentage
Now, the answer to this question on whether you should attempt to lose fat before building muscle lies heavily on what your body fat percentage looks like and how long you’ve been training.
For those that have a high body fat percentage, which can be calculated based on gender, height, age, and current weight, it may be best to work to lose fat before work to build muscle.
On the opposite end, those who are known as “skinny fat” or those that are new to strength training, should start strength training first to build muscle. This is because the shock to the central nervous system (CNS) is more enigmatic and great than for a person that has been working out for years. Starting off with strength training when one or both of the two previously stated depictions, there will be notable progress from the newfound challenge of starting to exercise using resistance training.
Is It Possible To Gain Muscle And Lose Fat At The Same Time?
Not many people speak about it because there isn’t as big of a notable difference in progress compared to when in a bulking or fat loss phase, but it is possible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. And a lot of that can come down to nutrition and where your calories are set for your goals.
The process of changing one’s body during a fat loss phase or a bulking phase is already hard enough due to the requirements for consistency, progress, and continual progressive overload in training, needed to achieve one’s goals. Trying to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time can be a conflict of goals without the worthwhile show of results to boost morale and productive results.
The goal to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time is called recomposition. During a recomp, or recomposition, you can spend years in this phase only to achieve a small percentage of results like losing fat and gaining muscle.
Certain types of people may have better success achieving grander results by using the recomposition method. They include people who are new to strength training, those that have high body fat percentages, and those who have returned to strength training after having taken a break.
The reason for this is mainly due to the fact that their bodies have to adapt or re-adapt depending on the circumstances, to the increase of stress and stimuli on the body obtaining through strength, or resistance, training.
There are methods to be used by those wishing to gain success through the recomposition method of training.
- Adhering to a program for strength training (in order to constantly be progressively overloading the body)
- Getting the recommended about of sleep (and it needs to be quality sleep, not tossing and turning!)
- Eating high-protein (eat protein at each meal to efficiently increase protein intake)
- Eat maintenance calories (or for those that are inconsistent with how they eat, look into calorie cycling)
Fat Loss Phase
What is a fat loss phase? Well, it’s a period of time where the main goal of your diet (nutrition and calories) included with your physical training and lifestyle habits, contribute to losing fat. Ideally, it is recommended to only be in a fat loss phase for 2-4 months as anywhere longer than that can be demanding on the body—psychologically and physically.
When in a fat loss phase it’s normal to not only be in a caloric deficit (which means you’re eating less than what your body needs) but to note a change in training performance and muscle retention.
What is a bulking phase? A bulking phase is a set period where the main focus of your diet, lifestyle habits, and training regimen are centered on gaining, or building, muscle.
During this time period of a bulking phase, you are purposely eating more than your body needs (especially eating a high amount of protein needed to build muscle). A bulking phase can last anywhere from 4-6 months.
Compared to a fat loss phase, when in a bulking phase there is a notable increase in training performance quality due to the excess fuel provided by the extra calories, along with a boost in muscle size.
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What should a woman eat a day to gain muscle?
When striving to build muscle, it's recommended for women to eat about 1.6-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day to obtain noticeable results.
Can a woman lose weight and gain muscle at the same time?
She can. It is possible for a woman to lose weight and gain muscle at the same time, but it's important to note the different between weight and fat. The goal should be to lose fat rather than weight, as muscle weighs more than fat.
How long does it take to build noticeable muscle for females?
It normally takes around 3-4 weeks to notice more obvious changes like muscle gain in females.