We Asked an Expert If You Have to Lose Weight Before Building Muscle - Here's What They Said

If you're new to strength training and your goal is to build muscle, you may be wondering if you need to lose weight first - and that's a completely reasonable question. To find out exactly what you should be doing to build lean muscle, POPSUGAR spoke to Heather Milton, MS, RCEP, CSCS, an exercise physiologist clinical specialist at NYU Langone's Sports Performance Center.

"One thing that we concentrate on a lot, especially for people who are trying to lose weight, is to do strength training in order to maintain and avoid losing muscle mass," Heather told POPSUGAR. "If you are not doing any exercise to maintain or build your musculature when you're trying to lose weight, you might actually lose muscle mass," she explained. If you want to build muscle, losing weight before you begin strength training is not a prerequisite.

You've probably heard making healthier nutritional choices result in weight loss, which is true, but "if you're just losing weight by diet, then you tend to lose fat and muscle at the same rate, which is not ideal because then your metabolism will also slow down," Heather explained. If you want lose weight and maintain or build muscle, you should incorporate strength training into your workout routine to prevent muscle catabolism (when your body begins to burn your muscle).

Related: According to 3 Experts, This Is How Often You Should Lift Weights If You Want to Lose Weight