Almost all men say that their number one fitness goal is to “reduce belly fat and build muscle” And while there is no surprise, many scientists, personal trainers, and dietitians claim that those are actually separate goals-that you can’t accomplish both simultaneously.

Why? Because there’s a widely held belief among these experts that your body won’t allow you to gain a significant amount of muscle without also adding fat. At the same time, such experts will tell you that you’d be hard-pressed to reduce belly fat without sacrificing some of your muscle. For instance, research on dieters shows that, on average, when you reduce belly fat, 75 percent of the weight loss is fat, and 25 percent is muscle. So you have to choose one goal or the other, these experts say. To which we offer a simple reply: Hogwash.

The problem is that the vast majority of fitness and nutrition experts subscribe to an approach that focuses mainly on the number of calories you consume. Want to gain muscle? You’ll need to eat more calories than you burn, even though that means that you’ll also pack on fat. Reduce belly fat and make it your goal. Do the opposite, but be prepared to part with some of your hard-earned muscle. So no matter what you decide, it’s a win-lose proposition. The idea is that, at any one time, your body can only be growing bigger, by building new muscle and adding to your fat stores or getting smaller, by breaking down muscle and fat for energy. This concept is so well established as “fact” that even we used to think this way ourselves.

But imagine, for a moment, if you had the power to control what your body does with the calories you eat. For example, instead of storing your calories as belly flab, you’d turn them into sleeve-busting muscle. And because you’d be using those incoming nutrients to build more-muscular arms, you’d automatically burn your stored fat for energy. Think of it as the panacea for the modern male body: Your biceps grow as your love handles shrink.


All your life, you’ve been trained to think in terms of calories. Which, of course, is useful. But we Want you to adopt a slightly different mindset: Instead of concentrating on the number of calories you consume, start focusing on where those calories go. This is a concept known as nutrient partitioning. And it's the key to reduce belly fat and creating the metabolic shift that allows you to simultaneously build muscle and reduce belly fat. That’s because nutrient partitioning refers to the process in which calories are diverted away from your fat cells and redirected toward your muscle cells. (It works in reverse, too.)
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If you’ve never heard of this, you might wonder if it’s even possible. So let's start with a basic, albeit odd, example: Growth hormone-treated pigs. Research shows that when pigs are given growth hormone, their fat stores decrease by 50 to 80 percent, while their muscle mass increases by 10 to 20 percent. Growth hormone treatment accomplishes this by inhibiting certain enzymes that are involved in fat storage, While stimulating other enzymes related to muscle growth. What’s more, these effects are seen while the pigs are eating 10 to 15 percent fewer calories than usual. In other Words, the pigs eat less, gain more muscle, and reduce belly fat when they’re on growth hormone. Ever notice how lean pork is these days? That’s due to nutrient partitioning.

All of which sounds pretty fascinating, but leads to the million-dollar question: Can we create nutrient partitioning in humans? And, just as important, can we reduce belly fat with diet and exercise, and not drugs? The short answer: Yes.