One of the most popular queries in the fitness business is whether or not you should reduce weight before growing muscle.

It is either overcomplicated or oversimplified by most people. It may seem to be a simple issue, but there are various factors to consider before selecting which option is best for you.

Should I lose my body fat before trying to build muscle? 

Although Bulking before reducing weight is recommended for those who are skinny obese, new to strength training, or wish to emphasize their performance in the gym above their looks.

People with high body fat percentages or those who have been bulking for 12-16 weeks should prioritize fat loss over muscle gain.

There’s a lot of advice online on whether you should lose weight or gain muscle first, but a lot of it is either inaccurate or consists of broad generalizations that don’t apply to everyone. Continue reading this article to sort through the confusion.


1. The difference between losing weight and losing fat 

It’s crucial to understand what we mean when we say we want to reduce weight before we get into whether or not you should lose weight before growing muscle.

People usually mean reducing their weight on the scale when they say they wish to lose weight. A 250-pound individual can state they want to lose weight if their objective is to reach 200 pounds on the scale.

He or she will then get obsessed on that number, becoming irritated if their progress pauses or if they do not achieve their objective within a certain time frame.

For various reasons, this is problematic. You may not care where your weight reduction comes from if you’re just concerned with what the scale shows.

It may be caused by a combination of water loss, fat loss, and muscle loss. People who want to lose weight often also want to preserve the muscle they have and enhance their body composition.

To accomplish so, you must maintain your lean muscle mass while focusing on fat reduction rather than just aiming for a number on the scale.

2. When should you shed fat before you gain muscle?

There’s nothing wrong with attempting to gain muscle anytime you want, but there are times when you’ll want to shed fat first, which I’ll refer to as bulking for the rest of this post.

  • Your present body fat percentage is more than 22% for ladies and 16-18% for guys.

If you’re starting off with a high body fat percentage, you’ll want to lose it first before bulking up.

This is because fat accumulation is unavoidable during the bulking period, and a high body fat percentage carries a slew of health hazards.

It will also be more difficult to stick to a fat reduction regimen in the future since you will have a lot more weight to shed.

It’s vital to remember that this does not rule out lifting weights for persons with greater body fat percentages.

Resistance training provides several advantages, including improved metabolism, decreased cholesterol and blood pressure, and lower illness risk.

Even though you should concentrate on shedding fat before bulking, anybody who is overweight should continue to strength train.

Should I Lose My Body Fat First Before Building Muscle?(Explained)
Should I Lose My Body Fat First Before Building Muscle?(Explained)
  • You’ve just finished a long bulk.

The longer you bulk, the more likely you are to accumulate fat rather than muscle mass. If you’ve been bulking for 12-16 weeks and want to stop gaining fat, you should shift your attention to fat reduction.

However, before moving on to a fat reduction phase, you should spend some time in a maintenance phase to allow your body to adjust to its new weight.

3. Reasons to Lose Weight Before Muscle Building

  • It may encourage you to keep going.

I discussed some of the dangers of concentrating too much on the scale number earlier in this essay. But it doesn’t imply you should entirely disregard your scale weight.

In fact, watching the number on the scale go down may improve your confidence and inspire you to continue with your plan whether you are very overweight, just beginning your fat loss journey, or struggling to remain motivated.

  • You won’t acquire any more weight.

Bulking stages cause people to develop fat as well as muscle. Losing fat before gaining muscle can assist you avoid having a high body fat percentage.

If you want to bulk up in the future, it might help you start with a lower body fat % so you don’t have to worry as much about it reaching harmful levels.

4. Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Lose Weight Before Muscle Building

  • You have troubles with your body image.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: gaining muscle nearly usually means gaining weight, which may be difficult to deal with even if you can separate your self-worth from the number on the scale.

If you’re having trouble with your body image, I suggest focusing on your confidence before starting a fat-loss program. Prioritizing healthy diet, regular exercise, and not continually weighing oneself may do wonders for your mental health and self-esteem.

  • You’re already in good shape.

It might be tempting to continue in a fat-loss phase if you’re unhappy with how you appear, even if you started off with a low body fat percentage.

However, if your body fat percentage goes too low, your hormones may get out of sync, females may lose their monthly cycles, your energy levels may suffer, and your mental clarity may suffer.

Bulking should be prioritized for females with less than 16-20% body fat and guys with less than 6% body fat.

These are the body fat percentages that most professional bodybuilders have when they compete, and they don’t stay at those levels all year. If you’re already so slim, there’s no incentive to keep losing body fat.

Final words 

Overall, deciding whether or not to shed weight before building muscle is simple. If you have a high body fat percentage or have been in a bulking phase for a long period, it is preferable to decrease fat before attempting to gain muscle.