Jillian Michaels helped dozens of contestants lose hundreds of pounds and transform their lives as the tough-love trainer on The Biggest Loser, so she knows a thing or two about losing weight and building muscle. Between filming intense workouts for her Instagram page and her fitness app My Fitness by Jillian Michaels, she revealed to us the secret to losing weight and building muscle. Spoiler alert: it’s more than just working out.
For fat loss, Jillian recommends lifting weights four times a week: each muscle group twice a week with two days of rest in between. But here’s the kicker — she says you need to weight train four days a week to build muscle, too.
“The difference between weight loss and muscle is really about food,” she told POPSUGAR. “If you want to lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit. If you want to gain muscle, you need to have a calorie surplus.”
Although Jillian isn’t a dietitian, she recommends eating 10 percent more calories than you burn in a day to gain muscle. Registered dietitian and personal trainer Jim White, ACSM, also said to make sure you eat enough protein to put on muscle: 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So if someone weighs 150 pounds, he or she should be eating 75-120 grams of protein daily to gain muscle.
It’s also key to let your muscles recover, especially if you are training so frequently. “While some believe that how you train matters regarding size or muscle gain, the truth of the matter is that it’s about stress and recovery,” Jillian added. “So as long as you stress the muscle then let it recover you will be achieving your goal, whether you lift heavy or do bodyweight resistance.”
Turns out, your strength-training regimen can be the same whether you are trying to lose weight or put on muscle; at the end of the day, it’s all about nutrition.