It has long been considered an unreasonable goal, working towards gaining lean muscle mass and reducing body fat simultaneously. Whilst this can be undoubtedly challenging, it’s certainly not impossible. Making some adjustments to your training regimen might be necessary, striking the correct balance between cardio work and weight training. This can be a difficult balance to achieve, as too much cardio can limit muscle gain, and too little can hinder fat loss. Since this is a fairly extensive topic on its own, we’ll expand on this in a separate article.

Our focal topic is the importance of timing your nutrient intake, to support an increase in lean mass whilst reducing (or controlling) body fat levels. Below, we’re going to give details on carbohydrates and protein  (macronutrients key to this process) , and when these should be eaten in order to maximise results.

Eat Carbohydrates with Protein

Carbohydrates function to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles and liver, as well as supplying glucose as an immediate energy source. Insulin is the hormone responsible for transporting glucose to the cells; it also promotes anabolism of muscle cells. However, it’s important to know that insulin also promotes fat gain. This can occur when the body is continuously exposed to insulin secretion, i.e. an overconsumption of carbohydrates.

Amino acids – the key components of protein – assist growth and repair of muscle tissue, consuming protein and carbohydrates together will create a synergistic effect. The insulin release – a result of carb. consumption – is said to increase the absorption of amino acids into the muscle cells. Eating a balanced meal containing high quality sources of these nutrients post exercise helps to ensure insulin sensitivity; the body is able to utilise glucose efficiently without needing to convert it to fat.

Eating a balance of protein and healthy fats throughout the day, with the most carb.-dense meal following a training session is the best way to stimulate muscle gain and a reduction/maintenance of body fat.