High-Performance Vegan Letters

3 Ways To Shred Fat & Build Muscle Simultaneously (Blueprint)

letters Jun 20, 2024

If I could fast forward 30 years?

The lesson I’m sure I would tell myself:

Value your health.

I’ve been thinking more about my health…

And the impact it has on our son.

Everything I do he sees.

He watches.

I also want to continue to live a high quality of life as I get deeper into my 30’s and inch closer to my 40’s.

Beyond my 40’s and into my half century, I want to have the ability to move, feel, and look great in my body and health.

Health is a quality of life maximizer.

The better your health?

The higher quality of life you’ll have.

I enjoy my current quality of life.

But I’d prefer that it keeps getting better year after year.

Health can compound just like compound interest.

But only if you invest in your health day after day.

In order to have pre-built health insurance, start investing in your health today.

The best insurance against future calamities is having a high quality of life today.

Lesson: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time? Today.

Here's Your 5 Minute Friday:

The Science Behind Body Recomposition

Building muscle and dropping body fat simultaneously is the holy grail of fitness.

It doesn’t happen for everyone.

But it can definitely happen when you have the right conditions in place.

If you create these conditions, you can prolong the effects of body recomposition and maximize building lean muscle while dropping body fat.

So what’s body composition to start off with?

It’s the amount of lean mass and fat mass that make up a person’s body weight.

When it comes to body recomposition, the ideal conditions are dropping body fat while building lean muscle while keeping a fairly stable bodyweight.

To be clear - you aren’t converting fat into muscle.

Rather, you’re using fat storage as fuel and building lean muscle on top of your current body state.

The combination of dropping fat and building muscle is what gives you the ‘lean and toned’ look many are looking for.

Here’s how you can do this:

#1 Eat at maintenance calories and stay hydrated

While contrary to common belief, you don’t need to be in a deficit to drop body fat.

At least, not all the time.

Dr. Eric Helms, one of world’s leading fitness experts, shares his thought on dieting and dropping weight:

“If you lifted weights and trained hard consistently for 6 months or more every week while eating maintenance calories, you would drop body fat and build lean muscle”.

Why is he so confident saying this?

Because he understands the science behind body recomposition.

So start off by eating at your maintenance calories or the amount of calories to keep your body weight the same.

The second part of this strategy is to stay hydrated.

This is important because your muscle mass is 80% water.

When you’re dehydrated, you also can also lose a significant amount of strength and power when lifting which leads to poor muscle building results.

Aiming for a minimum of ½ of your bodyweight in ounces per day is a good rule of thumb.

Closer to ⅔ of your bodyweight, I’ve seen to be more effective working with busy high achievers who are notoriously dehydrated.

You can increase your hydration from eating plenty of fruits like water based ones like oranges, melon, and apples.

#2 Train hard 3-4x a week; lift heavy and increase your work volume

Training hard is a prerequisite for body recomposition.

If you’re not giving your body a reason to change - it won’t change.

Consistently lifting weights 3-4x a week while challenging yourself each workout will be a key reason to build lean muscle.


How you should structure your workouts during your training cycles:

  • Start each training cycle with less volume (reps and sets) to help adjust to exercises and work on your technique (each cycle should last 6-8 weeks; 8 weeks is a sweet spot I’ve found to retain enjoyability and motivation for exercises while getting most juice out of each cycle’s exercises)
  • As you get deeper into each training cycle, start to reduce your reps left in reserve. For example, the beginning at each cycle, start at 60% intensity with 4 reps left in your tank for each set.
    • Each week afterwards, aim to reduce a rep left in your tank until you’re nearly going to failure by the END of the training cycle.
    • This will protect you from overtraining but also ensure you’re giving your body an effective stimulus each time you workout.
  • Aim for 8-12 reps for muscle building efforts and 2-5 reps for strength building goals; 3-5 sets per exercise with less sets in the beginning of cycle and more later on in the cycle will work nicely with body recomposition goals.
  • Focus on 2-2 cadence of coming down for 2 seconds and up for 2 seconds to force yourself to keep a crisp technique. Also, move through a full range of motion for each exercise.

If you follow the instructions above, you’ll build lean muscle, get stronger, and drop body fat (provided you follow the next 3 steps)

#3 Stay consistent with workouts and nutrition within 80-90% accuracy

Consistency is how you see results.

Not from doing random workouts.

Or once a month nutrition tracking.

But rather from imperfect but consistent behaviors.

The goal here is NOT perfection.

It’s to create a series of winning streaks that build forward momentum for your health and life.

Aim for 2-week winning streaks (one of the principles we teach inside our Accelerator 2.0 Program).

Once you get your first 2-week winning streak, go for longer.

Or start a new one.

Ideally, work on 1 habit at a time and solidify this first before moving onto a new one.

One of the biggest pitfalls to habit development is trying to do too much at once.

Instead, use the ESAD system:

(courtesy of Justin Welsh)

E - eliminate

S - simplify

A - automate

D - delegate

Eliminate what’s unnecessary.

Simplify what’s overcomplicated.

Automate what can be automated.

Delegate out the rest (especially if it’s not in your zone of genius or doesn’t give you energy).

You can use this system in your work life, health endeavors, and life in general.

Use it with caution.

Your life can radically change when you stay consistent with your fitness behaviors and aren't distracted by things that don’t give you energy or are outside your zone of genius.

Stay consistent.

Body recomposition results aren’t possible without a solid base of consistency first.

(shoot for 3-6 months of consistency to see sustainable results).

#4 Eat 0.8 - 1.0 grams of protein per bodyweight

A high protein plant fueled diet can make or break your physique results.

Your body needs amino acids to rebuild muscle tissue as your workouts break down muscle fibers.

The amino acids in protein are used to rebuild new muscle tissue.

The range of 0.8 - 1.0 grams of protein is a safe target to feel confident with getting enough protein.

You can get the majority of your protein from high plant based protein options like:

  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Minimally processed mocks
  • Seitan
  • Plant protein powder
  • High protein carbs (like lentils, beans, and grains)

If you want to maximize dropping body fat while retaining and even building lean muscle during your body composition efforts, protein will be a key pillar to sculpt your body.

You can track your protein intake using different nutrition trackers like Cronometer or MyFitnessPal (I’d suggest Cronometer), but there’s another way you can guarantee you can get enough protein without tracking your calories…

(this is more advanced but I know I have serious lifters reading so use this to your advantage)

Aim to eat ⅓ of your plate in lean protein.

If you breakdown your plate into 3 parts:

  • ⅓ lean protein
  • ⅓ healthy carbs
  • ⅓ vegetables and fruits

You’ll be able to get 33% of each plate’s macros in protein grams.

Each plate should match your hunger levels and body size.

Typically, this will equate to anywhere from 20-40 grams of protein per meal (again depending on how tall and big you are and the plate sizes you eat).

Do this 3-5x a day and you’ll hit anywhere from 100 - 200 grams of protein per day.

Without tracking your calories.

Keep things simple in your fitness.

#5 Keep stress minimal and increase sleep quantity & quality

Stress will derail your results.

While you’re training and working out, you’re already adding physiological stress to your body and life.

Add work, life, family, and miscellaneous stress on top of this and you have a recipe for burnout and overwhelm.

Instead, reduce and simplify your life.

Remove external stressors (or change your relationship with them).

Use body practices like deep breathing, silent meditation, and Qi Gong to recenter and ground yourself.

Slow down your life pace.

Stress increases the faster you go.

Slow down.


Set your intention for each day.

Sleep also goes hand in hand here.

Most of us carry our stress to bed each night.

A high quality deep sleep of 7.5 - 9 hours is important to drop body fat and build lean muscle.

Sleep is where many of these physiological processes happen too.

Without the rest - you won’t get the results.

If you’re going to bed late, cut back by 15 minutes each night until you get where it needs to be.

Take away electronics (especially those emitting blue light and EMF) 2 hours before bedtime.

Add reading to your evening routine (this will make you sleepy).

Create an evening routine.

Systemize your sleep and you’ll see faster and better body composition results.

One Quote To Finish Your Week Strong

“You become mature when you become the authority of your own life.”
― Joseph Campbell

Just slept 6 hours in a row last night.

It’s a family milestone with Anthony sleeping longer.

The future looks bright ahead. 😉

- Gabriel


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