Training

Losing fat and gaining muscle: how to combine aerobic and anaerobic exercise

Losing fat and gaining muscle has always been the Holy Grail of the fitness world but is it possible to do it simultaneously through aerobic and anaerobic training? 

Is it possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time?

While it is true that metabolism is a continuous overlap of catabolic and anabolic processes, it is not possible to talk about fat loss and muscle mass gain as is usually understood. 

To gain muscle mass we must create a caloric surplus and lose fat, a deficit. As we can see, this conflicts with the possibility of performing both processes at the same time regardless of whether we perform the aerobic or anaerobic exercise. 

The only scenario in which it would be possible to perform these processes simultaneously is in people who are overweight or obese, with high insulin resistance and who do not have any experience in strength training. Even in caloric deficit these people could lose fat and gain some muscle mass by improving contractile function and insulin sensitivity of the muscle. 

There is also the possibility of making a body recomposition through a diet with calorie and carbohydrate cycling, that is, something intermediate between a phase of volume and another of definition. The problem is that it is a very long, strict and expensive process and you do not really lose fat and gain muscle at the same time since the diet is oriented to one or the other objective where muscle gain or fat loss is prime but not both. 

How can I combine aerobic and anaerobic exercise? 

The combination of both types of efforts is called concurrent training. Sports like CrossFit that combine strength and endurance are the best example of this type of training. However, it should be noted that programming a concurrent training that does not interfere with the adaptations of strength and endurance is a science.

If we have sufficient availability, the idea is to separate the aerobic and anaerobic sessions on different days to reduce the interference phenomenon. However, the greater the weight of one or another type of training will depend on the objectives of each person.

If we intend to maintain the maximum amount of muscle mass and strength possible, the ideal would be to combine weight sessions with low intensity and long duration aerobic sessions such as walking uphill on the treadmill. 

If instead, we want to increase our cardiovascular endurance, weight training should be a complement to prevent injuries and maintain or improve current strength levels. 

Be that as it may if the goal is to lose fat the caloric deficit is mandatory and if you want to be done in the most efficient way possible, that is, maintaining the current muscle mass, strength or anaerobic training is also required, the aerobic is not. 

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