Q: Is it possible to optimally build up strength and muscle while losing fat?
A: With a smart plan and steadfast approach, it’s possible to chase both adaptations. Although, from what I’ve seen, it’s hard to have it both ways if you’ve been training for quite some time.
Beginners on the other hand have that luxury of gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time.
Keep in mind the prerequisite for getting visibly leaner is a manageable energy deficit—consuming fewer calories than you burn. That alone will typically compromise optimal strength and muscle gain. Don’t get me wrong, you can still blend the two together if you wish to have more of a balanced approach. Of course, you will invariably need more structure and precision on all fronts. This means leaving no detail to chance.
Q: I was advised by my physical therapist to not lift weights for the time being because of my low back injury.
A: I’ve had the privilege of helping a ton of folks wracked with injuries. Knee, lower back, shoulder, you name it. So believe me when I say I understand the precaution and apprehension of lifting weights.
Frankly, it’s frustrating when healthcare professionals and the likes heavily prioritize non-lifting fluffy protocols almost to the point where basic strength training is not even in the picture. Newsflash: Training properly is actually both rehabilitative and corrective.
I’m not trying to relegate or “pooh-pooh” the value of having a licensed massage therapist, chiropractor, or voodoo magician in your back pocket, but they need to be synchronized with legitimate strength training. Otherwise, you’re going to keep getting hurt.