Why It’s Not Impossible to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle At The Same Time by Christian Finn

Muscle Memory

Anyone who’s been in shape before will find it easier to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously when returning after a layoff.

When a muscle is trained, de-trained and retrained, there is a faster change in muscle size during retraining compared to the initial training period from an untrained state [3]. This is a phenomenon that some refer to as muscle memory.

Of course, muscle tissue itself can’t actually “remember” anything. Rather, the number of nuclei (which play a crucial role in building new muscle) in muscle cells increases when you lift weights, even before the muscle cell itself starts to grow.

But those nuclei aren’t lost when you stop training and your muscles shrink. Instead, the extra nuclei form a type of muscle memory that allows the muscle to bounce back quickly when you start training again.


Take a look at the cover of most fitness magazines and you’d be forgiven for thinking that building muscle while simultaneously losing fat is the easiest thing in the world.

You’ll see headlines about how to get a summer body in 7 days… lose fat without breaking sweat… 923 ways to make your life better now… get a 6-pack in 24 hours… torch flab in 20 minutes.

I’m not kidding. Those are genuine headlines from the covers of various magazines that I’ve seen in the last few days.

Everything is always “instant ways” to get this and “easy ways” to do that.

Well, here’s a quick dose of reality:


Getting in shape is not easy. Getting in shape is not instant. Truth of the matter is that it’s bloody hard work.

Most see the claims on magazine covers for what they are: the normal “puffery” commonly indulged in by companies trying to persuade you that their product is “the key” to solving all your problems.

But a lot of people do get confused when they see claims about how much muscle it’s possible to gain and how much fat it’s possible to lose over a 3-4 month period.

Recently, I received an e-mail from a reader who wanted my opinion on the training program of a guy who appeared on the cover of a popular fitness magazine.

The cover model in question claims to have gone from 216 pounds and 23.9% body fat to 202 pounds and 6.8% fat in just 15 weeks.


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