How to Build Muscle and Lose Fat as a Woman | LIVESTRONG.COM

Build muscle lose fat for women

Lose Weight / August 16, 2020

While it can be super tricky, accomplishing both of these seemingly contradictory goals at the same time is doable. These tips will help you crack the code.

Fuel Right

A major part of reaching both of these goals is your diet, says Keri Gans, R.D.N., author of .

“What I tell someone when they’re wanting to build muscle and lose weight at the same time is more or less what we’d be instructing anyone to do, consuming a well-balanced diet, ” she says.

Pay attention to your fat and protein intake: Too much fat or too little protein could interfere with your ability to build muscle, says Gans. And sticking to a diet of high-fiber carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean proteins will help you shed pounds. To hit the sweet spot, aim to fill about a quarter of your plate with carbs, a quarter with protein, and the other half with veggies. You can often get the fat you need from your lean proteins or by prepping your veggies in a healthy oil, says Gans.

Keep in mind that your individual caloric needs will vary depending on your size, activity level, and how much weight you want to lose. If you want to get into hardcore specifics, talk to an R.D. to come up with a completely personalized eating plan.

Don’t Overcompensate

When you work out hard and lift heavy, two things probably happen: You feel extra hungry and your body craves protein to refuel your muscles. But it's easy to overdo it after a workout. Sure, eating a big, protein-filled meal after a sweat session may help you build muscle, but it definitely won’t help you lose fat, says Gans.

“For women, I don’t think the message is ‘you need to eat a lot of protein to build muscle, ’ it’s that you need to be eating adequate protein, which most people are doing already, ” she says. If you’re eating more than a quarter of your calories from protein, or getting full before you’ve eaten your veggies and high-fiber carbs, you’re probably eating too much protein, says Gans.

Forget the Scale… to an Extent

Warning: Step away from the scale. At first, when you’re losing fat and building muscle at the same time, the number on screen can be deceiving, staying the same even though you’re dropping body fat, says Lawson. That’s where things like progress pictures, measurements, and noting differences in how your clothes fit you can help you check in on your goals, he says.

Relying on weight loss or comparing your numbers to someone else’s isn’t always productive. It’s all relative, and it’s important to take your own body composition into account, says Gans. Maybe you’ve only lost five pounds, or none at all, but you’ve dropped two pant sizes. That’s a definite sign that you’re building muscle while losing fat, even if the needle on the scale won’t budge.

“The number on the scale is only a part of it and sometimes it can be misleading in that it doesn’t give the full picture of what’s going on in your body, ” she says.