4 tips for fat loss without muscle loss
Ever hear of someone who loses 20 pounds in a month, only to gain it back (and then some) a couple months later? This is unfortunately, highly typical. In fact….
Most people fail at fat loss without muscle loss.
In order to do it properly, you must first know the following:
1. Many sources agree that under vigorous strength training, it takes approximately four weeks to gain one pound of muscle.
2. In the absence of readily available energy, our body breaks down muscle fiber.
3. There are about 3500 calories in one pound of fat.
Many people exercise, and fall into the rut of not eating, and doing too much aerobic exercise in their everyday routine.
I’m the first to acknowledge that aerobic exercise is extremely important. However, in excess and without the proper support to maintain muscle, large amounts of aerobic exercise can also break down our muscle as well.
The cycle can go on and on through the point we break down 5, 10 pounds of muscle fiber, and our body is now set to a new lower basal metabolic rate (fancy term for rate at which we burn calories at rest), and it ultimately gets harder to lose fat.
Although this doesn’t sound like a great option to most people, the majority of them still fall into this rut anyway. So, what then are some things we can do in order to have fat loss without muscle loss? Many things, actually. But among the most important are as follows:
1. Lift Weights heavy enough so that you can only do 8-12 repetitions per set. Building (and maintaining) muscle comes through a process of producing tiny micro-tears within the muscle fibers. (Sounds violent, but that’s how it works–trust me, if you do several push-ups, you’ve done some micro-tearing).
Our bodies then create more muscle fiber to repair what’s been torn, and we have the action of building (or maintaining) muscle. This is a critical step, especially for women, but men too, to achieve fat loss without muscle loss
Lifting a light weight many times doesn’t maximally produce this desired effect. However, using heavier weights with less repetitions does. It’s extremely important, if you want to have fat loss without muscle loss, that you perform strengthening exercises.
2. Eat small, frequent meals though the course of the day. When we only eat two or three meals in a day, our bodies don’t keep energy as readily available as when we eat more often. When the energy isn’t as readily available, our muscles can become a viable energy source for our body. Need help deciding which foods to eat? Check out this free video.
If you want fat loss without muscle loss, it’s important that you eat between 4-6 smaller portions of food per day.
3. Don’t starve yourself. The daily recommended amount of calories for a male is between 1700 and 2400 for males, and about 1500-2200 for females. Lower than the recommended amounts, and our bodies (quickly) lower our basal metabolic rate (go into starvation mode). This means we need to now work harder to burn the same amount of calories.
Furthermore, when we do burn those calories, as stated in the point above, our muscles are prime targets that our bodies turn to in the search for viable energy. People often talk about how quickly they want to lose weight, and I assure them that if they accurately measure their calories in, and maintain the recommended amounts, and get some exercise 4-6 days a week, they’ll have no problem achieving fat loss without muscle loss.
4. Eat plenty of protien. Unlike fat, our bodies don’t have the capability to store extra protein. In other words, the protein that you eat today can’t go to a special spot on your belly or hips to be used next week. It’s important that we eat protein every day to prevent the breakdown of muscle. It only takes about a day or so before our bodies begin breaking down muscle fiber in the absence of proper levels.
How much protein? About 10%-15% of your total calorie intake for the day. Since one gram of protein is equal to 4 calories, someone eating 2000 calories per day should maintain at least 50-75 grams of protein per day. Many people think they eat enough protein and really don’t. Food journaling is a great way to find this out.
PS: One of my few trusted nutritionist friends, Mike Geary, shows more awesome ways to lose fat in this free video (click here to see it).
Hope this helps!
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