Everyone has different goals when they start their fitness journey. Be it to lose weight, lose fat but not pounds, to build muscle, to improve a medical condition, to improve athletic performance, or to just look good and feel good.
And those are just broad goals, yours might even be more specific. Things like losing a set number of inches from your waist, building a peak to your bicep, or prevent heart disease.
When you start a diet plan, it's best to know out the gate when it's time to start, as to maximize your ability to approach those goals throughout your cycle.
Based on the goal of your plan, certain aspects will need to be adjusted to accommodate that specific goal. As you imagine, many people can start with too many goals at once. And yes, it certainly is possible to both lose fat and gain muscle for certain people, but not for everyone.
Instead there are two different types of diet goals, lose and reduce being one, and build and gain is the other.
Lose and reduce is the first and probably most common, and that is the primary goal of losing fat. And it doesn't matter if it's a little or a lot, male or female, old or young. No matter how much you want to lose, this is the category of your goal.
This also includes anything involving losing or reducing anything really, inches on the waist, flab off the arm, or removing fat from really anywhere on your body.
When you're on this specific type of diet, you generally want to be operating at a caloric deficit. In other words, you want to be putting out more energy through exercise or your daily routine, than you get from eating.
The second type of diet is to build and gain. People who are in this group of dieters have the primary goal of building muscle. Whether you're looking to be cut and shredded, or just getting big and strong and packing on all the muscle you can.
Also in this category is anyone who has the general goal of gaining weight, such as someone who's underweight and must put on the pounds for medical reasons.
In the majority of cases, even like those above, the primary goal is to gain muscle. And in this case, your diet will need to keep you at a caloric surplus, because with the weight you'll be lifting and the muscle building exercise you'll be doing your body will need the extra calories to make sure they can keep you in working order and repair the muscles after hypertrophy.
Also in this type of diet you'll need to eat a LOT of protein, with the ideal goal of a gram per pound you weight. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, 180 grams of protein is a good goal for your daily protein intake.