There are a million ways to get big and a million ways to get lean and depending on your particular sport, a billion ways to condition yourself. The difficult and tricky task is figuring out which exercise and diet program is for you.

Billions of dollars are spent every year trying to discover what workout and nutritional program is best for you. The quest for this can be maddening, but there is an answer. A simple way of looking at this and discovering the most suitable program for you is to learn a few terms and discover a few scientific facts.

Most exercise and diet plans are geared around being two simple concepts. You are either getting lean or you are gaining mass. You cannot put on lean muscle mass alone.

Anabolic Vs. Catabolic

There are two states that the body can be in. The process of anabolic means to gain mass and size, and the opposite of that is a catabolic state. Contest preparation (the idea of getting lean) also refers to the catabolic state. Off-season and building mass relates to the anabolic state.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can do both at the same time. The body’s set up with your enzymes and other body chemicals to either gain weight or lose weight, not to do both simultaneously.

  • Anabolic state: To obtain more calories than you are using as fuel on a daily basis.
  • Catabolic state: To burn more calories than you are taking in on a daily basis.
  • Static state: To take in the exact same calories that you are burning off.

Basic stuff right? Well, keep it that way and stop asking questions like “how can I gain muscle and burn fat?” You can’t defy the physiology (laws of science) associated with the human body. No pill, no protein, no diet, no exercise, no steroid, is going to change that law of science.

So, the next time you read something that calls for gaining, “Build muscle and lose fat,” a red light should go off in your head and you should realize it is marketing BS.

However, you have to understand that if you are burning your own fat as a fuel, it is possible to take in lower calories and still gain muscle mass. This only applies to individuals who have a significant amount of body fat. If you are a lean person (less than 20% body fat) you are not going to have enough fat to make much of a difference.

Catabolic State:

If you are intensely into a catabolic state and you are dieting very hard, then you will obviously gain no muscle mass and are at risk to losing muscle mass if you remain in that state too long.

This applies to many of you who are reading this article; if you are trying to look lean and remain lean, then you are not likely to gain muscle mass. When you take on the high protein, low carb diet recommended for competition, or by many trainers – you will lose weight to a point, but then it will result in toxic levels of ammonia building up in your body.

Once this occurs, you will not look healthy and you skin, hair, and breath will be the first to show the problem.

Anabolic State:

On the other end of the spectrum are some folks who over indulge in excessive caloric intake and obviously gain excessive amounts of body fat. It takes a great deal of time to turn this process around.

During the anabolic phase, you want to gain muscle and minimize fat gain, but make no doubt about it, that some fat gain is healthy and necessary for proper development and other normal body functions. Too much fat causes an excessive clogging of many of your major body functions.

The Importance Of Your Diet:

The major factor that affects your body is related to your diet… more than what exercise you do. Diet is even more related if you are a female. Sorry girls!

If you don’t get the diet down, then it won’t matter what exercise you are doing, you won’t get the results you want. Most women will over train trying to achieve the look that they want. This is why women spend more time in the gym than men do and wonder why they can’t sleep at night or they are always tired.

Two examples of this are people who exercise and exercise, then eat one meal a day, then wonder why they can’t lose weight. Another common thing is the bodybuilder who refuses to do cardio (because his knees are bad) and drinks beer and eats pizza, then wants to know why his abs are not visible.

Let’s face it, you can run around in circles with no changes at all. We all know people we’ve seen in the gym for years, and they haven’t changed their body shape or size. We know you people, and we talk to you and listen to what you have to say.

The facts don’t change just because you don’t like them or the way that we present them to you. Main rule of thumb: eat right to look right.