Ways to Lose Body Fat Without Losing Muscle
Generally, lots of people think that getting a lean physique is just about losing weight. Well, the truth is that it’s about both losing body fat and maintaining muscle mass. In other words, it’s about enhancing body composition. Keep on reading if you want to learn how to do this the right way.
There are a lot of weight loss plans are out there today. For example, one particular plan states that the secret to loosing weight is to stay away from foods that cause certain biological factors that lead to weight gain. Unfortunately, many plans, such as this one, are not based on facts and can make losing weight an overwhelming challenge. Fortunately, you can read on and learn the proven facts of the matter.
The Goal is to Lose Body Fat and NOT Muscle Mass
When getting lean is your goal, it’s important to focus on the amount of calories consumed versus those burned. Specifically, fewer calories should be consumed than burned to lose weight. However, you don’t want to consume too little calories, since this can diminish your muscle mass. As a general rule of thumb, always aim to consume at least approximately 71% of the calories burned. For example, a man that works out 4-5 times each week and weighs around 195 pounds would burn roughly 2450-2550 daily calories. In this case, consuming under ~1890 calories every day would be in the danger zone so to speak. Note that these parameters can be expanded for people that are considered to be extremely overweight. Studies by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) have indicated that the higher your body fat percentage is, the fewer amount of calories you’ll need to sustain your muscle mass.
Create a Slight Calorie Deficit and Maintain a High Protein Diet
Not all calories are equal when it comes to preserving muscle mass, so you should pay special attention to the foods and drinks that you choose to consume. In particular, it’s crucial to make sure that you are getting the right macronutrient mix. Hence, you shouldn’t get most calories from unhealthy fats or carbohydrates for example. Instead, you should make sure that you’re eating a good amount of foods that are that are excellent sources of protein, such as lean beef or chicken. According to NCBI studies, a protein rich diet:
- Keeps you full longer
- Promotes muscle
- Supports fat loss
Now you are probably wondering how much protein is needed each day. An Auckland University of Technology (AUT) study shows that about 1-1.5 grams of protein are needed for every pound of lean body mass. The study goes on to say that this is “scaled upwards with severity of caloric restriction and leanness.” Take note that even once you are lean, protein intake remains important. Don’t let your intake of protein get less than 1 gram for each pound, since this can cause a rapid loss of muscle mass and strength.
Do More Strength Training and Less Cardio
The next piece of the puzzle deals with exercise. Note that protein goes hand in hand with exercise, since such physical activity causes the body to need even more beneficial amino acids. Anyway, you should focus on doing strength training exercises about three to four days every week. Studies done by NCBI have revealed that this type of training is the best method for sustaining and building muscle when limiting caloric intake. What’s more is that this training has been proven to be the best for fat loss. Keep in mind that you might not lose as much weight as you expected with this type of training, since you’ll be maintaining and gaining muscle too. Remember that getting lean is about improving your body’s overall composition.
You’re probably wondering about cardiovascular exercise now. Well the truth is that it’s not nearly as important as strength training when your goal is to get lean. Why? NCBI research has shown that lengthy, extreme cardiovascular training can lead to what is known as over-training. This is particularly true when you’re already stressing your body by limiting daily calories. Over-training is not good because it can lead to chronic tiredness, a weakened immune system, depression, and even slowing of the metabolism. When the metabolism is slow, it can make losing and even just maintaining weight difficult. Therefore, instead of doing long sessions of cardio, it’s more effective to do what is known as high intensity interval training (HIIT), which is short, yet intense.
What are your thoughts about the information this post? Is there something you’d like to add?