Results in the fitness industry come from one place and one place only. Specificity.
In order to see the results you want, you have to get super specific with what it is you wish to achieve.
The problem these days is that we tend to want it all and all at one time! Sorry, honey, but biology doesn't exactly work that way.
So what the heck is a girl to do?!
My best advice: Pick one goal. Periodize your training to focus on getting better at only one thing at a time. Maybe 12 weeks of one thing then 12 weeks of another thing.
If you want to build muscle, train for hypertrophy and eat a slight caloric surplus.
If you want to burn fat, eat in a caloric deficit and weight train to preserve muscle while dieting.
If you want to build strength, use big compound lifts with less repetitions and more rest.
Can you accomplish a bit of all of this at once? Sure, with the right programming. And the progress may be a bit slower, but it's totally possible to build strength and muscle at the same time. However, burning fat and building muscle are extremely difficult to accomplish at the same time. And no, neither a diet pill nor a waist trainer will help whatsoever.
Sorry, love, but there are only a few genetically gifted individuals out there who are truly able to make these "lean gains". Some new lifters in the beginning will experience muscle growth without increasing calories due to new muscle stimulus via weight training. However, your body is ridiculously smart and will adapt very quickly.
So, for you ladies who are trying to accomplish it all at one time, trust me, you will get nowhere fast. I learned the hard way and bit the bullet early on in my fitness journey. I knew I wanted to build muscle but I also wanted to be lean. I learned I had to pick the hard one, the one which required me to eat more food and do less cardio (EEK!).
In the middle picture above, I had lost weight with tons and tons of cardio and a severe caloric restriction. My metabolism was sluggish, I had zero energy, and I was sick of feeling attached to my scale. I was also sick of feeling like I couldn't eat whatever the hell I wanted because #YOLO.
With the guidance of a mentor, I increased my calories slightly above my maintenance level (women really only need about 150 calories extra to build muscle). Then, I took the leap away from the elliptical and onto the weight floor to focus on heavy compound lifts for strength plus accessory work for muscle growth.
It wasn't until almost a year later when I had healed my relationship with food that I decided to diet the RIGHT way, tracking my macros, keeping 80% of my diet nutritious and 20% more fun and controlled. And I never looked back. Had I not chosen to focus on one goal at a time, I would probably still be left spinning my wheels.
Once you truly realize and come to terms that it is a journey and you cannot expect everything to happen all at once in a few weeks or even in a few months, the more enjoyable it will be and the quicker the results will seem to come!