How to build muscle and burn fat?

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How to build muscle and burn fat? Well, the correct ways to burn fat and build muscle are through specific eating habits and specific exercises. The best overall approach involves three components:

(1) Eating specific foods
(2) Weight/Strength training
(3) Cardiovascular (cardio) exercise

Awaiting you at the bottom of this answer, are links to free lists of foods to eat and foods to avoid, choices of free cardio exercise plans, and free weight/strength training exercises/routines. These links will guide you at your own pace; clearly showing you step by step how to build muscle and burn fat.

First, on this page, let me give you an overview of the three component parts.


Here's how to cut through all the confusion about correct eating.

Eat a small meal about every three waking hours. You will not be eating more food, you will simply be spreading it throughout the day. It's critical never to skip a meal, and to obtain sufficient quality protein at each meal. 'Sufficient' means at least 15 grams per feeding if you are female and at least 20 grams per feeding if you are male. Your protein should come from unprocessed (preferably organic where possible), natural sources.

To lose body fat, and for optimum health, avoid or strictly limit refined processed carbohydrates (apart from an occasional treat). Over-consumption of refined processed carbohydrates is a major cause of unwanted body fat, insulin resistance, fat accumulating around the abdomen or stomach, overall weight gain, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many other diet related diseases and conditions.

If you are unsure what these foods are, at the bottom of this answer you will find a page link leading to a list of refined processed carbohydrates.

Replace refined processed carbohydrates with more of the so-called fat burning foods and make use of the thermic effect of fat burning foods. Drink plenty of fresh water to enable you body to process these foods. I suggest 3 quarts daily and adjusting your intake from there (unless you have a medical condition that would prohibit this).

If you are unsure what these foods are, at the bottom of this answer you will find a page link leading to a full list, and more detailed information about the thermic effect of food.

Eating this way (as outlined above) will significantly boost your metabolism. Increasing your metabolic rate is the key to achieving and sustaining a low percentage of body fat. Again, remember to drink plenty of clean water. As stated earlier, I suggest 3 quarts daily and adjusting your intake from there (unless you have a medical condition that would prohibit this).


Proper weight/strength training will build muscle, which is your METABOLIC FURNACE that burns additional calories 24 hours a day and not just when you are exercising. Do a whole body routine. Concentrate on the basic, compound exercises, which are full squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, dips, and chins. Learn proper exercise technique and use it on every rep.

Once you are able to train intensely, you'll experience DOMS. In order to ensure systemic recovery, wait 24 or 48 hours after all DOMS has disappeared before training again.

Remember: you do not grow in the gym.

What you do in the gym should stimulate growth during the recovery period.
Exercise is like medicine: too little is ineffective and too much is counter-productive. Therefore, between sessions get plenty of rest and sleep.

As stated earlier, at the bottom of this answer, you can find page links to free exercises/routines suitable for beginners and upwards, as well as relevant information such as safety and warm-up tips.


Here are a few examples of cardio exercise:

  • brisk walking on a treadmill or outdoors
  • running on a treadmill or outdoors
  • rowing
  • cross-country skiing
  • trampolining
  • nordic walking
  • aerobic dancing

In fact, any exercise, sport or activity that increases your heart and respiration rate for a specific period is cardio exercise. It is important to do cardio exercise at the right intensity. Cardio exercise ranges from mild to intense.

Unlike mild cardio, intense cardio must always be brief.

Intense cardio exercises include running, interval training, and graded exercise protocol.

Brisk walking is an example of mild cardio exercise.

Mild cardio exercises keep your maximum heart rate at about 60 to 65%. Intense cardio exercises involve a maximum heart rate that is considerably higher (usually up to about 85% or even 90%).

In terms of burning fat during exercise, mild cardio is superior to intense cardio. So, you might think that everyone should do mild cardio exercise.

That is incorrect. Mild cardio exercises are not effective fat burning exercises in the long-term.


Well, they do actually burn more fat than intense cardio exercise. Unfortunately, by doing them regularly, your body adapts to mild cardio by storing fat during the recovery period until your next mild cardio exercise session. This is bad. You want to burn fat not store it!

Whereas, intense cardio burns more fat overall because it stimulates more fat burning between intense cardio exercise sessions.

In addition, because intense cardio is intense, it must be brief, (whereas mild cardio is prolonged). By that, intense cardio is great for people who are lazy, or do not like prolonged exercise, or grow bored by it, or do not have the time.

Nonetheless, if you are new to exercise and wish to begin with mild cardio such as brisk walking see the choice of plans at the bottom of this answer, and then progress to intense cardio (see the intense cardio plan at the bottom of this answer).

Whatever cardio you choose (mild or intense), choose a cardio exercise that you dislike the least and that you will stick to without giving up after the first week or so. Cardio exercise will increase the amount of calories your body uses during and immediately after exercise.


So, the best way to build muscle and burn fat is to eat as outlined in the earlier part of this answer, and combine cardio exercise with weight/strength training. You can use this sustainable program from now until your dotage. If you adopt it and make it habitual, you are going to know how to build muscle and burn fat, like the way you look, and love the way you feel!

Depending upon your current degree of fitness, I suggest two to three intense cardio sessions per week. In particular, if you have not been doing intense cardio exercise, I recommend starting with GXP (see the Intense Cardio Plan 3 page link at the bottom of this answer).

Even if you do twice weekly strength-training as well as intense fitness exercise two or three times weekly, if you want to go further it's also a good idea to go for a brisk walk once a week. 'Brisk' means 2 miles in 30 minutes, 3 miles in 45 minutes, or 4 miles in 60 minutes.

For weight loss or health, even if you start with mild cardio that will be a great step forward, and then move on to intense cardio exercise as soon as you are able.

Cardio exercise will increase the amount of calories your body uses during and immediately after exercise. Weight/strength training will add more muscle and muscle is you METABOLIC FURNACE that burns calories 24 hours per day and not just when you are exercising. (Don't worry you don't have to build huge muscle (unless you want to.)

Moreover, in addition to adding muscle, weight/strength training benefits your body in so many, many ways. One should never underestimate the benefits of weight/strength training for optimum health. Male of female, young or older, you are never too old to benefit from some form of weight/strength training. The free exercises and programs at the bottom of this answer are suitable for males or females, beginners of more advanced, young or old.

Therefore, when you combine weight/strength training with cardio exercise you not only have the best answer for 'how to build muscle and burn fat' you also have the best exercise answer for optimum health.

(Incidentally, even people who cannot engage in cardio exercise because of injuries, or specific health conditions, can usually engage in some from of weight/strength training and, by that, enjoy its many, many health benefits.)

So, for the 'how to build muscle and burn fat' free programs, plans, and lists, to show you how to do it step by step, use the page links given below:

  1. FREE MILD CARDIO EXERCISE PLAN 1 (the easier plan)
  2. FREE MILD CARDIO EXERCISE PLAN 2 (the slightly harder plan)
  5. LIST OF REFINED PROCESSED CARBOHYDRATES (to avoid or strictly limit)
  6. FREE FAT BURNING FOODS AND THE THERMIC EFFECT (to replace refined processed carbohydrates) and more about detailed information abut the thermic effect of food

128 people + others elsewhere, found the above 'how to build muscle and burn fat' answer very useful.

You may first wish to seek the approval of your own physician before changing your eating or exercise habits, especially if you have any known condition or disease.


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