Which is Easier To Achieve: Weight Loss or Muscle Gain?

Which is Easier To Achieve: Weight Loss or Muscle Gain?

For a personal trainer, it’s easier to coach someone who wants to gain muscle. You have complete control over whether they do so, particularly if they can afford to have four to five personal training sessions with you a week.

It’s also a lot easier diet-wise because, to “grow” in either fat or muscle, you need to be consuming more calories than your maintenance level. For most people, eating more is easier than eating less.

They can also usually afford to be in either a calorie-neutral diet position or a slight surplus depending on how overweight they were to begin with.

Usually, they’ll be increasing the amount of training they’re doing, thus increasing their calorie output, so you can give them guidelines along not eating any more than they were previously.

If they’re very slim to begin with, it can be tough and can often almost amount to force-feeding. If they’re already overweight, then they can usually get away with consuming their maintenance calories.

“Maintenance” is the number of calories required for them to maintain that weight. To simplify it, think of the weight being shifted from fat to muscle but using fat stores for the energy required to repair and build muscle.

Losing weight the smart way

Losing weight is much more a matter of the client’s resolve. A personal trainer can give all the guidance in the world, but if they are sneaking in calories when they’re not meant to, then progress won’t come. Weight loss comes down to two simple factors: the thermodynamic equation of calories in versus calories out, and whether your hormone balance and overall health are in a position to get rid of fat stores.

Think of fat cells as the basement in your house where you keep all the rubbish you don’t want guests to see. You want to clear it out, but you can’t do so if you keep buying more useless stuff.

Well, your body can’t store toxicity in your organs because they’re too important so it does so in your fat cells.

If you are in a calorie deficit but unhealthy, your body will hold onto your fat stores and break down muscle tissue for energy instead when it runs out of sugars.

Weight loss comes down to two simple factors – calories in versus calories out. This will happen until your body eventually pulls the plug and backfires on you, incurring an injury or falling sick. The same applies to sleep, as was explored in previous sleep articles. Your body needs sufficient sleep to reboot, recharge and recover.

If you don’t provide it with enough sleep, you will be unable to function in a calorie deficit and have your stress hormones low enough to encourage it to tap into fat stores.

There are multiple other considerations that a personal trainer takes into account, such as simple-carbohydrate intake which affects insulin sensitivity and other nutrient deficiencies. But after all of this, it comes down to calories.

Discipline and accountability

Different people at different stages of fat loss and training frequency have a different calorie deficit. Some will be down at a drastic 30-35% negative energy, others a mere 20%.

Initially, this takes some trial and error from your personal trainer, as does the balance of carbs: fats: protein in your diet, but eventually they’ll have a fairly precise gauge of where they need to be and this is a science. If a client is slack with the lifestyle and dietary guidelines set then they’re just simply not going to lose weight, certainly past a certain point. Many like to kid themselves that a little bit here and there won’t hurt, but when the rest of your day has been precisely calculated without this consideration, then it does.

Unless a personal trainer lives with a client, it requires them to be accountable themselves.

Many of them look at those who are already in good shape and yet can be relaxed about their consumption and assume the same applies to them but it doesn’t. That person has often spent a long time at a consistent weight and therefore their body has adapted to dealing with slight calorie surpluses and deficits and alters its metabolic rate accordingly.

This is why, as a personal trainer, achieving fat loss can be more difficult, but mainly just requires a different personality.

Weight loss isn’t for those obsessed by movement and fixing people, it’s for those who like being a part of a client’s life and helping them manage the minute aspects that will help them achieve success.