You CAN'T Build Muscle and Burn Fat at the Same Time!!

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to build muscle and burn fat at the same time? If so, this video will answer your question once and for all. In this episode of “AX JEFF”, Jeff Cavaliere and Jesse Laico will answer the viewer’s question about burning fat and building muscle at once and exactly how it works.

While many will argue that in order to build muscle, you have to be in a caloric surplus and that to burn fat, you need to be a caloric deficit. This is partly true. While you need to be in a deficit to burn fat; to build muscle, you are not looking at a surplus of consumed calories, but an energy surplus.

In order fuel muscle protein synthesis, your body can use stored body fat as it’s preferred energy source. The more body fat you have, the easier this is because you often times have a readily available source of this stored energy. Of course, the person looking to build muscle and burn fat at the same time has some body fat to lose!

There are some key elements of caloric intake that need to be done right in order to successfully burn fat and build muscle at the same time. There needs to be a caloric deficit from your maintenance levels, but people often fail by attacking this deficit too aggressively. Exceeding a 15% deficit is setting yourself up for failure. If you go above this amount in an attempt to speed up the process of fat loss, you will have far less control over limiting the supply of calories to body fat stores and likely start breaking down muscle in order to energize the process. This is definitely not good if you are looking to build muscle.

Speaking of building more muscle, we also know this will require you to increase your protein intake, but not as much as you think; I’ll get back to that in a minute.

It is also important to make sure you dial in your nutrition by removing the junk from your diet and introducing nutrient dense foods that will provide your body what it needs without the excess calories.

So, how much protein do you need in order to build muscle? While it has been traditionally said that you need 1 gram per lb of bodyweight, recent studies have shown that that number is about .8 grams per lb of bodyweight. While rounding up provides an even 1:1 ratio that’s easy to follow, a 20% difference makes an impact on your grocery bill as the amount of money you need to spend decreases by 20% as well.

Building muscle and burning fat doesn’t start and end with nutrition; training is a major factor as well. Most people think that simple cardio will be enough to burn fat, but I will argue that it is not necessary. What IS necessary is resistance training! Why? You can burn fat by remaining in a caloric deficit, but to build muscle, resistance training is required. However, cardio and conditioning are necessary parts of training to be a healthy, functioning human being.

It is also important to note that this sets you up for success because instead of cutting out 500 calories of nutrient dense food from your diet, you can cut 300 calories and burn the extra 200 from your training. That’s 200 calories you are saving worth of important nutrients, especially protein.

Now some might argue that the most effective way of burning fat and building muscle would be bulking and cutting, I am going to disagree. Yes, while a successful bulk and cut might be faster, the key word is successful. I would argue that for every successful bulk and cut, there are a million people out there who have failed at it.

Let me explain. What often happens during a bulk and cut is that people lack the proper nutritional discipline to successfully change their diet in order to cut. Thus, they stay in a perpetual bulk and continue to increase in size and body fat.

This leads to what I call “The Big Guy Lie”. That is, because they failed their original goal of burning fat, they decide that being lean is overrated and all that matters now is to be as big and strong as possible instead of achieving the goal they originally set out to achieve.

If you’re looking to have your question answered in a future episode of AX JEFF, leave a comment below and you just might be selected next.

If you are looking to build muscle and burn fat at the same time, our step-by-step training programs and nutrition plans will help you to achieve just that. You can check them out at and be sure to take our program selector quiz to find the workout plan that best suits your current goals.

For more videos on how to build muscle and burn fat in a healthy, sustainable way, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube via the link below and remember to turn on your notification so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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    ATHLEAN-X™Prije 4 mjeseci

    *NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY* - It’s back!! Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached! If you don’t win, no worries, you’re not going away empty handed. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

  2. YonosKronos

    YonosKronosPrije 2 mjeseci

    What are signs that I am or am not hitting my calorie maintanence? signs that I am or am not getting enough protein(e.g. soreness)? I know it can be different for anyone but was curious if there were any tells from your body as to what resources you need.

  3. Mr. Dk

    Mr. DkPrije 2 mjeseci

    Am I to late?

  4. Anthony Moran

    Anthony MoranPrije 2 mjeseci


  5. Words of Wisdom

    Words of WisdomPrije 3 mjeseci


  6. DLamb’s Garden

    DLamb’s GardenPrije 3 mjeseci

    Good l

  7. Al Ashkenaz

    Al AshkenazPrije 3 sati

    We need to see more Daisy. 50 percent of the video will do

  8. Sir apple

    Sir applePrije 14 sati

    Of course you can burn fat and build muscle, I've never had a problem with igniting animal carcasses whilst practicing microbiology. Also, natural carnivores like me will have no problem hitting the protein goal.

  9. Lil Ramsey

    Lil RamseyPrije 14 sati

    Is it ok if you have a 1day cardio 1day gym schedule

  10. Machu Pikachu Picchu

    Machu Pikachu PicchuPrije 15 sati

    Strange, I do that. I think this has very much to do with genetics.

  11. fiyasparka

    fiyasparkaPrije dan

    I completely agree with your logic I’ve been arguing this for a while but I’m no where near your knowledge or skill so it’s nice to see some one established with real insight

  12. Adam Spencer

    Adam SpencerPrije dan


  13. plaque D

    plaque DPrije dan

    wayne real quiet since this vid dropped

  14. Taylor Ritsema

    Taylor RitsemaPrije dan

    Question, my weight is 300lbs, i eat only maintaining calories but burn 1400 calories a day in the gym, am i doing this wrong or am i doing this right?

  15. Fastt Ed

    Fastt EdPrije 2 dana

    Abbott and Castillo got nuttin' on youse guys.

  16. GOD BOSS (Notnice)

    GOD BOSS (Notnice)Prije 2 dana

    The majority of people - I'm bulking Bubble gut - gots you beach

  17. The corn Maiz

    The corn MaizPrije 2 dana

    And who decided that?!

  18. coxyblue2005 MCOC

    coxyblue2005 MCOCPrije 2 dana

    i did.

  19. Manu De Backer

    Manu De BackerPrije 3 dana

    Later, when i have a body like Jeff, i'll be able to understand what he's saying.

  20. Cheese

    CheesePrije 4 dana

    What da dog doin

  21. Daniel Lomas

    Daniel LomasPrije 4 dana


  22. Gabriel Casas

    Gabriel CasasPrije 4 dana

    Does using green tea fat burner pills help in the beginning?

  23. 。Name 。

    。Name 。Prije 4 dana

    One of them has got to be green screened in.

  24. Yafet Solomon

    Yafet SolomonPrije 5 dana

    For someone who just can't eat that much protein in a day are protein shakes a good substitute for it?

  25. Only time

    Only timePrije 4 dana

    Yes but not all the way try getting some healthy fats. In like avocados

  26. Abdulla Nass

    Abdulla NassPrije 5 dana


  27. Dominic Hastings

    Dominic HastingsPrije 5 dana

    I was watching this vid and I asked myself why am I watching a vid on cutting weight when I’m 6” 140 soaking wet

  28. Jadden Resendiz

    Jadden ResendizPrije 6 dana

    sorry if im not picking up on this but maybe ill get this addressed - im 5'8, 169 lbs (was 188 a year ago and then got corona in january and lost some weight from being sick). my diet hasnt been focused, but i have cut out things like soda, and sugary candy, etc. but am now the last 4 weeks focusing on a balanced diet, and about 2 week started "working out" to simply get in a habit. i want to eventually look cut and not really bulky especially because im shorter. i dont necessarily care about an exact weight vs look and feel. Also, i have the common dad bod belly look, where i have a slight pouch, and love handles, but decently shaped legs, and skinny arms. I am continuing to eat better, and cut our soda/alcohol, but want to know should i focus on bulking and then get cut? i dont want to waste effort, although sometimes trial and error is the only way to learn. any thoughts on where i should focus in terms of diet and workouts given my goal and context?

  29. Ralph Lukas

    Ralph LukasPrije 7 dana

    The wealthy scorpion psychophysically rush because jeep booly surround apropos a automatic blowgun. puzzled, vivacious note

  30. Raymond Woods

    Raymond WoodsPrije 7 dana

    That doesn't make any sense. You can ABSOLUTELY build muscle and lose weight. People who lose weight do it all the fuckin time 🤣🤣🤣 what is that dude with the comment smoking?

  31. Babeh Ryy

    Babeh RyyPrije 7 dana

    I can't man, I'd say I'm an average body type for 5'7" - Gym Fit, but not lean- don't have defined abs; bit of a fatty in the stomach area. Can't stand eating less, I can eat healthily but meat... so it's just a perpetually consistent body type that I'm unhappy with, no matter how much I gym.

  32. MR. PALMzZYy

    MR. PALMzZYyPrije 7 dana

    I have grown muscle and lose fat at same time

  33. Dani Perez

    Dani PerezPrije 7 dana

    I was about to do 1.5g of protein per body weight

  34. Am I

    Am IPrije 7 dana

    Totally true,,, I'm a Certified Personal Trainer and after the covid lockdown and turning 31 my body started to store fat (bad shitty food like fast one!!) And now I'm back to the gym but not a big fan of cardio... you can lose stored fat as Jeff said by targeting the stored fat cells and use them as fuel. so I'm gonna go with tweaking my nutrition instead of high intensity cardio sessions, as I like sprints not low intensity running and it's draining my energy!!

  35. Nikki Archer

    Nikki ArcherPrije 7 dana

    I'm just here for Daisy now 💜

  36. •LostWrld •

    •LostWrld •Prije 7 dana

    The protein i have says that i need to take 6 scoops And i have a pretty big scoop

  37. SirPabs

    SirPabsPrije 7 dana

    More Daisy

  38. Aymane Khezzar

    Aymane KhezzarPrije 8 dana

    Jeff : Hi Jesse ! Me : Whaaat !! isn't that Eminem ??

  39. Hector Merc

    Hector MercPrije 8 dana

    I’ll just stay fat ; you lost me

  40. Exgecko

    ExgeckoPrije 9 dana

    He has 10 years of experience ffs

  41. Kangaroo Jack

    Kangaroo JackPrije 9 dana

    The years pass and Jeff's body is still like rock.

  42. The Cycling Performance Professor

    The Cycling Performance ProfessorPrije 9 dana

    Better question how do you get lean and keep volume (fat) in your face?

  43. Dane T

    Dane TPrije 10 dana

    Jesse - Is that a Jim Kwik shirt?!

  44. SebasTorrón

    SebasTorrónPrije 10 dana


  45. SuperkenGaming

    SuperkenGamingPrije 10 dana

    HELP: If I Do 30 min of hiking with a weighted vest in the AM 30 Min of Weights and then 30 min of bonus (Abs + kettle bell swings + cardio) And consume the .8 will I achieve the "bulk cut" My body fat % is about 16.. I USED to have abs 20 pound ago lol I wanna get them back but I dont want to lose my mass

  46. Attila Horvath

    Attila HorvathPrije 11 dana

    I tried working out with high protein intake, on calorie deficit, but actually didn't work out

  47. Chlo Evans

    Chlo EvansPrije 11 dana

    More daisy, great vid though!

  48. Mona

    MonaPrije 11 dana

    The mentor mentee relationship is adorable ♥️

  49. Joshua Bradshaw

    Joshua BradshawPrije 12 dana

    lol 1.0 is 25% more than 0.8 not 20%

  50. Mike

    MikePrije 13 dana


  51. Munny *

    Munny *Prije 13 dana

    Calling BS already. Im on an intense diet. 30minutes cardio, 15 minutes of abdominal muscles and 45 minutes of my major muscles. Combined with 1 chicken breast and some broccoli as food. Been doing this for 1.5 months now, lost 9KGs already and gained a lot of muscle, especially my biceps have grown.

  52. FaZe Legobrix

    FaZe LegobrixPrije 13 dana

    i gained alot of muscle while burning fat i would eat about 2000-2300 calories a day and workout everyday and no deserts/snacks

  53. Cayla DeLorenzo

    Cayla DeLorenzoPrije 13 dana

    I think 2 things need to be specified in this video: 1) ~15% after or before adding in working out or just off of someone’s BMR? 2) Women cannot gain muscle like men can. I see a lot of overweight women who say it’s, “all muscle” who have no idea that women gaining muscle is a different ballgame.

  54. Kyle Michaud

    Kyle MichaudPrije 13 dana

    I literally can though 😅 im losing weight rn but got new stretch marks on my shoulders

  55. Kyle Michaud

    Kyle MichaudPrije 13 dana

    Down about 12 pounds in 2 months. Arms havent changed much besides veins showing more and more. Stomach definitely looks better.

  56. CrazyDanAustria

    CrazyDanAustriaPrije 13 dana

    how bad is Red Bull for a guy in training?

  57. SnacKing

    SnacKingPrije 13 dana

    People with half a brain “know” you can’t cut and build muscle because they only have half a brain. People with a whole brain know you can. It just takes longer and is also healthier

  58. Torrenaxe

    TorrenaxePrije 13 dana

    Our hero and savior. Thanks for existing.

  59. Boutabag

    BoutabagPrije 14 dana

    Let’s say I’m still trying to bulk and build a lot of muscle but just want to do cardio to keep my blood flowing and energy higher, etc. but not trying to burn fat is there a way I could do cardio and stay healthy while still building my muscle to it’s potential

  60. Some One

    Some OnePrije 14 dana

    If your fat and never trained and you start going to the gym You are infact building muscle and burning fat at the same time. But when you get to a certain point you will have to do one or the other

  61. Daniel Cobia

    Daniel CobiaPrije 14 dana

    Blarg, at 250 lbs I'd need to do 200 grams of protein. My wife is already displeased with my 60 grams a day :-D

  62. Surya Avasarala

    Surya AvasaralaPrije 14 dana

    they have such a brother dynamic

  63. Frederick Lynch

    Frederick LynchPrije 14 dana

    If you want to loose weight and your starting at, say 195#, do you use the 195# maintenance KCal level and reduce by 10-15%, or use the goal weight maintenance level and reduce that by 10-15%? If the first, you'll have to recalculate as your weight goes down - how often, every 5, 10, 20#s?

  64. Henry Jones Jr.

    Henry Jones Jr.Prije 14 dana

    Jeff puts his wedding ring on the opposite hand for 12 hours a day, in order to avoid muscular imbalances.

  65. DJ Emayel

    DJ EmayelPrije 12 dana

    Legendary comment

  66. Robert Jennings

    Robert JenningsPrije 14 dana

    I'm living proof you can burn fat and gain muscle I gained several inches of muscle in my chest arms back and even legs and lost over 50lbs in like 2 1/2 months but I worked really hard and had a great diet and I'm a fairly big guy but I was in pretty damn good shape after that till I stopped doing all that

  67. Gilbert

    GilbertPrije 14 dana

    So what's the lowest body fat % where this method will be effective?

  68. Destroyer

    DestroyerPrije 14 dana

    This is a lie because I lost weight and gained muscle

  69. Daniel Benjamin

    Daniel BenjaminPrije 15 dana

    I know this is a late comment, but I would really like to know how creatine can help the fat loss process as well. Think it would be a good topic. Most people only associate it with muscle building. Thanks!

  70. Kent Parkhurst

    Kent ParkhurstPrije 15 dana

    its easy, just use those "special" supps

  71. War Edits2021

    War Edits2021Prije 15 dana

    It’s called working out on a keto diet.... kinda self explanatory

  72. Ryan Kelly

    Ryan KellyPrije 15 dana

    Jesse looks like Rhett from Good Mythical Morning

  73. Mooz

    MoozPrije 15 dana

    Ayyy Jess is with the big names now with Eminem !! Incredible

  74. Troy Grindley

    Troy GrindleyPrije 15 dana

    You can’t build muscle and burn fat? Ever heard of supersetting??

  75. Guest User

    Guest UserPrije 15 dana

    Ooo jesses nana 🤪

  76. Derek A

    Derek APrije 15 dana

    In January of 2021 I was 233lbs - June 2021 I'm 185lbs.

  77. E RG

    E RGPrije 15 dana

    Hey I'm 6ft 230 pounds I'm at an EXTREME caloric deficit losing a little under a pound a day while focusing only on protein (180grams daily) only doing weight training. Im trying to burn fat as fast as possible while putting on some gains is it possible? If so would I make some decent progress doing so or minimal? I know I'm not doing it the ideal way skipping out almost completely on carbs and fats and stuff but like I said I'm trying to lose fat as fast as possible while doing so because I'm impatient. I actually have some decent muscle built already just from casual lifting over some years I curl 35s with great form and time under tension for 8 reps and 4 sets and I can crank out about 30 quality pushups in one go. (not the only workouts I do just giving and idea where I'm at) my goal is to be 190-205 at 14 percent body fat in 6 to 8 months is that unrealistic even considering I have some decent mass built already? Thanks for whoever read this and even more thanks to whoever helps me out. Sorry if I come off as stupid because I'm pretty uneducated about this stuff.

  78. K. B. Peterson

    K. B. PetersonPrije 16 dana

    Honestly, I thought most people with half a brain knew that you can burn fat and build muscle at the same time lol

  79. St Lucid

    St LucidPrije 16 dana

    Athlean x doesn’t know jack shit

  80. alexn3o

    alexn3oPrije 16 dana

    I want to see professor Dickweed. Bet he has a huge bulge

  81. Allagí

    AllagíPrije 16 dana

    You can however drink beer and smoke weed at the same time, and after all, isn't that what life is really all about?

  82. And This is Super Endie!!!

    And This is Super Endie!!!Prije 16 dana

    Body Recomposition

  83. jt

    jtPrije 16 dana

    What do people think professional athletes do?? Get really fat and then cut during all during a season??

  84. Corey Harmon

    Corey HarmonPrije 16 dana

    How can I get 200g of protein a day without consuming a bunch of calories and not be resigned to eating chicken breast all day?

  85. Mukaden

    MukadenPrije 15 dana

    4:38, also I've heard of people drinking egg whites to reach their protein macro goal

  86. Corey Harmon

    Corey HarmonPrije 16 dana

    How can you ACCURATELY determine what your maintenance level is?

  87. Hervian Dirgantara

    Hervian DirgantaraPrije 17 dana

    hai Jeff ultimate arms 2 program when coming soon

  88. Michael Maxwell

    Michael MaxwellPrije 17 dana

    The Big Guy Lie, also known as The Jason Blaha.

  89. P Vézina

    P VézinaPrije 17 dana

    I heard it's 1g per pound of lean body weight, but since most people don't know their accurate lean body weight, 0.8g of actual body weight is a good compromise.

  90. Choice imran

    Choice imranPrije 17 dana

    My incredible fitness without gym

  91. William D-M

    William D-MPrije 17 dana

    I can’t confirm that you can build muscles and burn fat at the same time cuz I used to be really skinny so I started to eat a lot and lift weights while doing abs workouts at the same time

  92. MTLmusicianpage

    MTLmusicianpagePrije 17 dana

    Yes you can..muscle recompostion. You're wrong on this one.

  93. ATHLEAN-X™

    ATHLEAN-X™Prije 17 dana

    So you didn’t watch the video?

  94. Sumit Kumar

    Sumit KumarPrije 17 dana


  95. Johnny Hooks

    Johnny HooksPrije 18 dana

    Hoping for a response but I am a real alcoholic and I’m leaving for months hopefully a year traveling the world at different fishiers and I’d like to know the best method for me because I’ll be working 16 hour shifts 7 days a week so I’d want to figure out how to gain muscle while still working through my trail and errors during my time off

  96. Jeriel

    JerielPrije 18 dana

    180->165 in about a month. Tryna keep eating well and do my best to exercise consistently

  97. Jeriel

    JerielPrije 10 dana

    @Power Bar not really. changes in diet can make this happen

  98. Power Bar

    Power BarPrije 10 dana


  99. Chims Loyalty

    Chims LoyaltyPrije 18 dana

    Doesn’t muscle burn fat cause it needs energy (Haven’t watched the vid)

  100. Elijah the sun god

    Elijah the sun godPrije 18 dana

    That's what I'm thinking 🤔

  101. Practice Zen

    Practice ZenPrije 18 dana

    This guy has so much to say but you’re skinny bro

  102. akult isgod

    akult isgodPrije 18 dana

    i built fat and burned muscle at the same time

  103. Billy Collins

    Billy CollinsPrije 19 dana

    So basically go for a run first thing in the morning on a empty stomach come back and have some eggs and toast with peanut butter? And just intake protein throughout the day? I couldn't also do resistance training after a run?

  104. *1.25Speed on everything

    *1.25Speed on everythingPrije 19 dana

    Jeff, Are Protein Shakes the Only Efficient Way to put yourself in a Positive Nitrogen Balance? This question is from the burning fat while building muscle science. Are there other ways to maintain Positive Nitrogen Balance?

  105. Maximus Storm

    Maximus StormPrije 19 dana

    I started training this January and I've certainly gained muscle and burned fat. Like, a very noticeable amount each way. I think this channel struggles a lot with saying "you can do this/this is impossible/this will happen if you do this" when those things will only apply to the content creator. It's like he's forgetting different people have different bodies and one thing that doesn't work for him may work for someone else.

  106. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus AureliusPrije 20 dana

    Is Jesse Jeff’s bitch

  107. Key Skywalker

    Key SkywalkerPrije 20 dana

    its called ketosis and intermediate fasting

  108. m0v3m3nTツ

    m0v3m3nTツPrije 20 dana

    You CAN

  109. Slayer-33

    Slayer-33Prije 20 dana

    I'm 5'8" @ 205, gotta lose all this dammed weight, back down to 160 plz.

  110. Slayer-33

    Slayer-33Prije 20 dana

    Sup skanky Jebuses

  111. Alan Parks

    Alan ParksPrije 20 dana

    so when you're in the gym doing a workout is your time under tension just blown out the window or something? Because that's where your heart gets into that fat burning zone, just makes no sense.


    ROBERT ADAMSPrije 20 dana

    I am curious if Jesse's Nana saw this video or got wind of his comment and what her response was!🤪


    ROBERT ADAMSPrije 20 dana

    The cardiopulmonary system serves the musculoskeletal system, so the harder the muscles work the harder the heart works and the harder the heart works (allowing for adequate rest and nutrition) the fitter it will become. Therefore, it is possible to get global metabolic conditioning from resistance training alone.