We have all been there; picked up every magazine and read every article in it; yet you are no closer to finding out the answer. If every blog, media post or YouTube video was really telling you the answer; why is so much different information churned out on a regular basis?

Are you reading the right information and is it possible to build muscle and burn fat at the same time? Why are you not getting the results that other people claim to get?

How to burn fat and build muscle?

Laying Out The Facts

When you are considering if this scenario is feasible, the question is actually more open-ended that it may first appear. There are right and wrong answers but not one simple solution that fits everybody. To tell all of your readers that everybody can build muscle and burn fat at the same time would be doing you an injustice.

Before you consider whether you can build muscle and burn fat at the same time, one should always consider the following.

  • How old are you?
  • How long have you been training?
  • Are you significantly overweight/underweight?
  • Do you expect to see realistic achievements from your hard work?

What does age have to do with burning fat and building muscle?

Everything. Younger people will always find it easier to stay lean and keep fat off than older people. So if you have a good diet and training plan in between the ages of 18-29; technically you should not have any problems building lean muscle and avoiding fat storage.

Even if you are significantly overweight or underweight in this age range, your body will adapt quickly to change. So any radical improvements in diet and training will promote fat loss and muscle gain simultaneously on your body.

What if I am overweight or underweight?

If you are obese then you should never try and lose weight too quickly as this will make your body burn precious muscle tissue. A high protein diet is essential when you are trying to burn fat and build muscle, you will need the calories to preserve and build muscle. By doing this you will encourage your body to use up fat storage as energy when you exercise.

If you are skinny, then you probably run very little risk of gaining fat if you are active and eat properly. Many people find it very hard to gain muscle and if you are a classic "hard gainer" then I suggest you don’t worry about trying to lose fat. Your body fat percentage is already low so the only focus should be on building lean muscle tissue. A classic hard gainer needs a lot of calories to grow.

I hope by this point in the article it has become clearer to you that the answer to said question is not that simple. This article aims to show you all possibilities and aspects that you must consider when trying to work out the best route for your fitness goals. Any movement will burn calories and fat cells, resistance training will tear down muscle tissue and rebuild if you eat correctly.

The trick is to work out the most efficient ways of doing this, so next up we are going to look at the best types of exercise to burn fat when trying to build muscle.

HIIT To Burn Fat And Build Muscle

What is HIIT?

This stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and is designed to get your body working hard in a short period of time at a level that is too hard to maintain for a long period. 

HIIT is to be done in short bursts, working at different levels of intensity throughout. You can do HIIT with sprinting, cycling, rowing, stepper or the elliptical- the type of exercise is not important- efficiency and intensity are what counts here.

HIIT to burn fat and build muscle

Benefits of HIIT

Exercising for a long period doing cardio generally means you will keep your heart rate lower than doing HIIT, but long periods of cardio can lead to muscle wasting so I don’t recommend this for people trying to build and burn at the same time.

Interval training raises your heart beat at a much faster rate but keeps your metabolism spiked until way after the exercise is over. So if you did your HIIT in the morning you would burn fat stores more efficiently throughout the day. A typical HIIT session would last around 20 minutes and should get you working at a "sprinter’s pace" for short periods.

The best way to compare long distance cardio and short sprints in terms of effect is to compare the skeletal muscle of a marathon runner with that of a 100 to 400-meter sprinter. The marathon runner is very slender and has little muscle mass- whereas the sprinter is usually carrying dense, lean muscle providing them with a powerful, explosive frame.

How Important Is The Diet For Your Goals?

Healthy diet for burning fat and building muscle

Diet is one of the most important factors when trying to achieve any improvements in the human body. Burning fat and building muscle together needs a diet plan that is astute to your needs. If you are a beginner you will need to trial and error to see what your body responds too. These simple tips should help you get started:

  • Aim for a balance of high protein, starch carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals to achieve your fitness goals. Whether building muscle, fat burning or both.
  • Always give your body enough time to recover; diet is essential for recovery also!
  • Never starve yourself to lose weight, doing this will only create metabolic damage.

Related: 10 Tasty Foods to Help You Lose and Maintain Weight


I hope this article has answered some of your questions beyond building muscle and burning fat at the same time. Yes, it can be done, but there are way more important things we must consider before we try and complete such a task. Question everything, do your research and always listen to how your body responds.