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Muscular With Belly Fat, Science Explained!

Having muscles along with belly fat is a common problem of many bodybuilders and those who are struggling to build muscles through weight training exercises. It is easy to build muscles rather than lose belly fat.

What are the factors to work on if you are muscular with belly fat?

To lose belly fat, there are a number  of things to keep in mind. The main thing is that the belly fat loss process is slower as compared to fat loss from other body parts.   That’s why  a lot of people are struggling hard to lose belly fat even after building muscles. 

The article is going to reveal the reasons for belly fat even after gaining muscles. Also, here are some best ways to get a flat stomach.

Table of Content

What is the Science Behind Being Muscular with Belly Fat?

If you have muscles, and you have belly fat too, what does it mean? According to the structural composition of the human body, this fat lies above those muscles in the subcutaneous tissues or over the organs.

There are mainly two recognizable layers when it comes to belly fat. These fat layers are different in composition and need different types of ways to melt.


There is visceral belly fat. It is the deep layer of fat. It is present around the organs around the abdominal muscles. You can not see or pinch this layer of fat. This fat layer is easier to burn.

Another is superficial subcutaneous belly fat. It hangs over the waistline and can be pinched such as love handles. This fat layer is harder to burn. This is the fat layer that most of us are concerned about.

If you are muscular with belly fat, this is mainly the subcutaneous fat layer that is present in your belly. But as you have visible muscles, this fat along with muscles gives your gut a protruding appearance and not the flat one.

Most Common Reasons of Being Muscular with Belly Fat

Can you be muscular and fat at the same time? Yes, that is possible. Here are the common reasons for this problem.

Caloric Surplus

Consumption of more than the required amount of calories is called a caloric surplus. It is the oppof a calorie deficit. 

If you have got muscles but also a stubborn layer of fat on your belly, it means that you are consuming more calories to gain more and more muscles.

This extra amount of calories and energy stores mainly around your belly. Even if you have got muscles, still your belly doesn’t look flat.

Excess Salt and Sugar Intake

Salt and sugar are the main reasons that cause belly fat to accumulate. They also cause bloating and water retention so you get a bloated belly.

Even if you are trying to build muscles but you are not cutting out your sugar and sodium intake, you are most likely to get a fatty tummy.

When you consume a lot of salt and sugar, it converts into glucose and gets accumulated in the belly areas. It also causes other significant health-related problems such as obesity.

High Cortisol Levels

Some people who are struggling with weight loss and bodybuilding forget about the main aspect of losing belly fat. Yes, that is to overcome stress.

Stress causes a release of stress hormones mainly cortisol that can damage your body’s organs. So, to protect the vital organs, your body accumulates fat around them.

As most of the vital organs are present in your belly, most of the fat accumulates here. So, stress is another factor that can cause belly fat even if you have strong muscles.

Inappropriate Exercise Methods

Although spot reduction doesn’t work much for weight loss, still there are certain methods to exercise for belly fat loss. Not following those techniques will not work for belly fat loss.

Some people do a lot of cardio exercises for belly fat loss. They forget about strength training. And sometimes there is no balance with aerobic exercises and strength training.

This inappropriate exercise method can help you build muscles, but you will not be able to burn belly fat. So you end up being muscular with belly fat. 

Absence of Weight Maintenance

Belly fat is a stubborn fatty part of the body most often, it is the last place where the fat starts to melt. This is especially for men who store their fat in the midsection.

Most people start a diet and weight training exercises for weight loss and to gain muscle. But after hitting their target, they do not maintain their weight.

Doing overeating and not maintaining the proper exercise program after building muscles can lead to the deposition of belly fat. This belly fat remains increasing until you practice a calorie deficit diet.

Ways to Maintain Muscles and Lose Belly Fat

To fix belly fat and maintain muscles you have to work mainly on your diet and exercise. Here is a brief guide about diet and exercise plans to lose belly fat and gain muscles.

Diet to Lose Belly Fat and Maintain Muscles

It doesn’t matter whether you are following  low carb or a low-fat diet. The weight loss is almost the same. This supports the fact that you can follow any diet that suits your body and enhances your metabolism to lose weight.

It means that you choose a diet or way of eating that is easy for you to follow and you can maintain it for a long time. That’s how you can reduce your belly fat levels and keep them down along with preserving your muscle mass.

The only way to maintain a flat belly is to find a nutrition plan that works for you in the long term. A calorie deficit diet along with high protein is a key to reducing and maintaining weight. And that’s what you have to work on.

So, find a nutrition plan that  suits your body needs and cuts your calories enough for you to lose  belly fat. It should also be sustainable for you and includes your favorite food. Because diets only work as long as you follow them consistently.

Exercise Planning to Lose Belly Fat but Not Muscles

Now if you are muscular, it means that you’ve achieved it through training or you got the natural muscles. If you have belly fat along with the muscles, you should follow a proper exercise program.

Following exercises can help you in getting rid of belly fat and maintaining muscles.

  • Crunches
  • Bicycle Exercise
  • Pilates
  • Planks
  • Leg lifts

Remember, to lose belly fat and maintain muscle mass, you should focus on weight training and resistance training exercises. A little cardio can also be helpful in this regard.

Doing an excessive amount of cardio makes you lose your muscles along with losing fat. So it is important to perform weight training exercises to strengthen your muscles and lose belly fat.

Other Effective Tips

To lose belly fat, it is important to change your lifestyle. Adapt some healthier habits and maintain them to get a flat stomach and good muscle mass. Here are some tips to get the desired body with a flat belly.

  • Stop eating a lot to build your muscles. Just maintain the muscular mass and keep your body in a calorie deficit to lose belly fat.
  • Do strength training exercises to lose belly fat and strengthen your muscles.
  • Avoid intake of sugar and sodium as they can make your belly fat by depositing more fat around your stomach.
  • Avoid stress and engage yourself in healthy recreational activities. Stress is your enemy in case you want to lose belly fat.
  • Increase your protein and fiber intake. Proteins will help you maintain muscles and fiber will keep your stomach full for longer.
  • Once you have attained your target muscle mass, keep doing exercises and follow a diet routine to keep your stomach flat.
  • Take a quality sleep, because lack of sleep can enhance your cravings for fatty food.
  • Stay hydrated to boost up your metabolism and to lose excess body weight.

These trips are very effective in getting a flat belly. The key is to follow these tricks consistently and include them in your lifestyle habits.


Can I lose belly fat while gaining muscles?

Answer: Yes, you can lose belly fat while gaining muscles if you follow a high protein, low carb diet. The diet rich in protein will help you gain muscles and the low carbohydrates will help lose belly fat 

What exercises can get rid of belly fat?

Answer: Weight training and resistance training exercises can help get rid of belly fat. Planks, crunches, and all the vertical leg exercises can help reduce belly fat.

Can you be muscular and fat at the same time?

Answer: Yes, it is possible to be muscular and fat at the same time. This is because of so many reasons. Either it is the result of sleep deprivation or a diet with a high amount of calories. There might be some other clinical issues for protruding belly.

Bottom Line

So, if you are muscular with belly fat, first of all, you need to get yourself into a calorie deficit and maintain it for a long time. It should not be for a month or two because you will start noticing belly fat again.

Maintain some weight training exercises and incorporate some cardio. And of course, do not forget to consume the right amount of protein to strengthen your muscular body.

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