Building Muscle and Losing Fat: The Circle of Gains

The “easiest” way to lose fat is to have a large caloric budget to play with. You get to eat plenty of food, have energy for training and life, and can periodically enjoy higher (or extremely higher) caloric meals/days without a negative impact towards your goals.

How do we get there?

We get there by building muscle and increasing output and the beauty is that more muscle=greater output=more muscle. It’s a perpetuating cycle, the circle of gains if you will.

There are two obstacles that people face towards achieving these: limited time and no objective way of measuring output against an appropriate standard.

One way to build significant muscle and lose significant fat is to build up to 90 or so min of weight training 4-6 days a week using a typical bodybuilding style training split and combine that with 3-10 hours of low intensity cardio a week. This will provide the necessary stimulus to build muscle and the overall caloric expenditure necessary to lose body fat.

The downside? Obviously it’s a large time commitment.

So what’s the solution for those who can’t workout 2-3 hours a day? I know I can’t!

The solution is “work”.

What’s work? Work is a measurement of energy transfer.

What are calories? Calories are a measurement of energy.

So the solution is doing more work in a shorter period of time if we wanted to increase our caloric “budget”. We do that by doing more. More reps, more weight, more speed, more range of motion, more distance, more effort. We can use this to set variables we plan on tracking and measure our progress.

So, if reps are kept equal, which of the following burns more calories
-Dumbbell Bicep Curl
-Ring rows
-Assisted Pull-up
-Pull ups
-Muscle ups

Clearly, each progressive movement requires more energy and more muscle usage than the one before it. That’s not to say that you need to be able to do muscle ups to burn fat, but that focusing on increasing total work without increasing training time will help build the caloric budget needed to burn off body fat. That’s why our style of training at One Life is so effective and why we spend so much time strength training. The goal is to increase muscle and total work capacity in order to set the foundation necessary for body composition improvements and caloric output.

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