Ask any guy about his fitness goals and I’m sure that he’ll say something like, “I want to build muscle and lose fat.” While this seems like a plan, you can get confused by the amount of conflicting dietary and workout advice coming from all sources. If you did what you were told by every expert out there, you’d starve yourself one day and eat everything in sight the next. 

Always consult your physician before beginning a weight loss program or new workout regime just to be safe.  Here are my five best strategies on how to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.  

First, to lose weight, you must cut calories. This does not mean going on a starvation diet or cutting out all carbs and fats as many will mistakenly tell you. The low fat, lower carbohydrate debate comes down to this: You must eat fewer calories and burn more calories if you want to lose weight. The key here is eating fewer calories by cutting saturated fats and junk foods from your nutritional plan. Eat smaller meals, five to six times a day, every two to three hours. Consume low glycemic index complex carbs (whole grain cereals, pastas, breads, fresh fruits, veggies and nuts) early in the day so that your energy level won’t lag as the day wears on.  

Secondly, remember that eating protein builds muscle. Protein is more filling so you are less likely to graze between meals. Another great fact about protein is that your body expends more energy to digest it than it does to digest carbs or fats. Build your meals around lean chicken, beef, fish or pork. That way you will burn more calories throughout the day and your muscles will get the protein they need to grow. 

Thirdly, eat more fiber. Fiber is not a nutrient, but it is important to a healthy diet. Fiber is the undigestible part of plants and it’s found in all fresh fruits and vegetables. Beans, seeds and nuts are also a good source of fiber. Lack of fiber can result in sluggishness and constipation. Eating enough fiber not only provides you with a healthy digestive system, but it also helps you to feel fuller and even lowers cholesterol. 

Fourthly, remember the importance of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats found in fish, nuts, seeds, flax seed and fish oil and eggs. Health benefits include less risk of diabetes and heart disease. Omega-3 fats are also indispensable for bodybuilding and strength training. For example, omega-3s reduce inflammation throughout the body. This not only prevents heart attacks, but it also helps sore, tired muscles to recover better after workouts. 

Finally, remember that in order to stay lean and build muscle you must have a plan. Working out regularly with a varied routine and challenging weights, will build muscle, provided you rest and feed your body the proper nutrients.