This is a VERY commonly asked question with gym-goers and non gym-goers alike who are desperate to see results quickly without having to make any drastic changes to their lifestyle.
So what is the answer that you’ve been dying to hear:
YES you can, BUT to a certain point.
The basic physiology behind building muscle is that muscle fibres become more numerous and thicker as we progressively apply force and tension. It’s an adaptive process and it can be very slow. It is enabled long-term by a surplus of calories and protein fits the role as the fuel for growth
The same can also be said when it comes to fat loss. The simple formula of CICO, calories in/ calories out is a bit too over-simplified when it comes down to achieving real results. Energy balance in the body will dictate the outcome and we do not burn calories in the same way or at the same rate, in which we consume them. Our hormones play a major part in this process and will constantly make adjustments to where energy goes and what it does.
Sometimes you may notice yourself getting more muscular and leaner and have not necessarily been focused on being in a calorie surplus for muscle growth or a calorie deficit for fat loss, so it CAN happen. The reason for this is because they don’t actually happen at the same EXACT moment. The natural flow of energy balance in the body and the different energy systems, can allow for some exceptions.
As a short-term option, a new training plan with enough calories can yield some good results in muscle growth and fat loss. This can usually be seen with someone who is new to the gym or someone who is an experience gym-goer, returning to training after a long lay-off. It can last from a few weeks to a few months but eventually, it will end.
In truth, the reality is that this is ok for a short-term solution to your training goals and to help you quickly see some good visible results. For better, long-term results you’re much better off choosing to focus on either muscle growth or weight loss and following a 12-week plan.