My first question is factual, while my second question is regarding myself.
- Is it possible to build muscle on fat? That is, is it possible to build muscle (say ab muscles) underneath your already-existing fat without losing much of that fat during the process? I have heard people say that's a thing; also, I have seen some (really) overweight people at the gym lifting a lot of weights. To me, that was an example of building muscle on fat that hasn't been shed. On the other hand, I have read some articles saying this notion is a myth.
I myself suffer from a beer belly. To be clear, I do not drink; I have gained weight and my body has decided to store it all in my abdominal area---hence the beer belly. I'm exercising regularly now with focus on both cardio and weight lifting. For my abs, I do the medicine ball V-up and plank exercises. I can already feel my ab muscles getting harder and stronger, BUT, I also feel like my abdominal fat has also gotten stiffer. This might be a simple consequence of my overall abdomen having gotten stronger, but I'm not sure.
I want to make sure I do not build muscles on fat. I'd like to get lean (not a bodybuilder kind of lean, but just a regular athletic look) and not like that still-overweight-albeit-very-strong guy at the gym. Any suggestions besides a healthy diet and the workout I already do? Should I change my workout routines? Any suggestions there?
I am 21 years old, weigh 165Lbs, 5'5" tall; 21% body fat; calorie intake set at 2500 according to Samsung Health app, but my average intake is about 1900-2000.
I go to the gym 5 days a week. Mon, Wed, Fri I do cardio (exercise bike) for 45 minutes, and conclude with 30 minutes of weight lifting. I do upper body (bicep curls, etc.), 3 minutes of plank, squats, and calf raises. Tu and Thur I focus only on cardio with 60 minutes on the exercise bike. I conclude it with 3 minutes of plank.
By "I don't want to build muscle on fat" I mean I do not wish to maintain my fat while getting stronger and building more muscle. I understand that it is inevitable to have fat and muscle at the same time for a while; I just want to be on a plan where I am sure to reach a point where my fat is gone. It might have come across as that I absolutely don't want any fat present while making muscle. I just wanted to clarify that is not what I meant. I just want the fat gone some reasonable time later down the road.