Many people talk about losing weight, but they’re really talking about losing fat. Our body weight is made up of different components including fat, water, and muscle, so we clearly don’t want to lose all of this – fat is usually the main thing we want rid of.
So, to lose fat we need to create a caloric deficit. This is when we consume less calories than the body needs to function. When this happens, the body looks elsewhere for energy, pulling from fat reserves to get the energy it needs to function.
We can increase our caloric deficit through a combination of diet and exercise, the latter helping to burn fat much quicker by creating a larger caloric deficit. However, when we’re doing this the body doesn’t just look for fat for energy – muscle mass is also burned during this process.
This doesn’t need to be the case, however, as we can actually minimize and prevent muscle loss while stilling burning fat to get the desired body. Here seven ways to burn fat without losing muscle:
Don’t Cut Too Many Calories
The higher the caloric deficit the more fat (and muscle) we burn, so if you take steps to cut fewer calories you can ensure only moderate amounts of far at burning. This helps to maintain a healthy level of fat burning without affecting our muscle mass, with a reduction of around 400 (for females) and 600 (for males) calories recommended.
By cutting fewer calories you still lose a decent amount of fat without risking any muscle mass, while you also have more energy to maintain your workouts as you aren’t starving yourself with a crazy low-calorie diet. Doing that would only increase the rate of muscle loss!
Eat More Protein
Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass, so it’s important to eat more lean protein when trying to burn fat without losing muscle. If you’re creating a caloric deficit through dieting, make sure not to reduce any protein from your diet, which is gained through foods like eggs, yogurt, fish, and white meat.
Lean white meats are especially good sources of protein, providing with the high volume of protein but in fewer calories, meaning you have enough protein to maintain muscle mass while still creating a caloric deficit to burn fat. Research from Gymequipmentgb.co.uk in their guide “10 Reasons to Eat More Protein” shows just how important protein is when it comes to building and maintaining muscle mass.
Keep Strength Training
Another important aspect of maintaining muscle mass when burning fat is to maintain your current strength levels. Doing this ensures the body maintains it current strength levels and muscle mass while still burning fat, so don’t forget to keep hitting the weights if you want to keep your muscles their current size.
Don’t make the mistake of reducing weight during strength training, as this programs the brain to reduce strength levels, resulting in a loss of muscle mass you’re trying to avoid. So, live the same heavy weights you’ve been training with to ensure muscle mass is unaffected by your fat loss efforts.
Focus on Pre and Post Workout Nutrition
When creating a caloric deficit, you have less energy than normal so you’re more susceptible to fatigue and will take longer to recover from workouts. This is bad news for performance levels, making it harder to do exercises need to burn fat and maintain muscle.
You can balance this out through effective nutrition before and after workouts. By eating the right food you’ll have a suitable amount of energy to maintain your performance levels, ensuring you keep working out to burn fat and maintain muscle mass. You also recover quicker, making it easier to get back into training.
Don’t overcomplicate things either – eat a high volume of protein with a decent amount of carbohydrates. This gives you suitable energy for a good workout, so eat a nutritional meal around 1-2 hours before your workout.
Don’t Restrict Carbs Too Much
Low-carb diets are popular for weight loss, yet they can often be detrimental when trying to maintain muscle mass and lose fat. This is because carbs offer sustained energy release that helps power the workouts needed to burn fat and maintain muscle, so don’t think you need to cut all your carbs to help lose weight.
A 2:1 carb to protein ratio should be more than enough to give you the energy levels needed for effective workouts and muscle maintenance. Remember, if you combine this with fewer restricted calories you can lose fat at a nice pace while keeping your muscles in good shape.
Get 8 hours of Sleep
It’s important to get a good amount of sleep when trying to lose fat and maintain muscle. Firstly, we need a restful sleep to give us the energy for working out, while feeling less tired ensures you won’t be tempted to cheat on your diet through stress and being irritated.
Secondly, sleep is important for muscle maintenance. For instance, when in the 2nd stage of sleep cycle the body releases hum growth hormones that help with muscle recovery and growth. When trying to maintain muscles we need to ensure they are fully recovered and energized, which is exactly what getting a good eight hours sleep does for them!
Do Not Overlook Recovery
It’s easy to get into the habit of overworking when trying to lose fat and maintain muscle. You want to burn more calories for fat loss while keeping strength levels high to avoid muscle loss, so you push yourself to limit and give less time for recovery.
This could be detrimental to your weight loss goals, however. For example, not taking the time to properly recover usually results in reduced performance levels. This isn’t going to make the fat loss any more successful.
Similarly, a lack of recovery tends to be felt most in our sleeping habits. We’ve touched on the importance of sleep for muscle recovery, but stress hormones like cortisol that are produced from a lack of sleep also limit fat loss and increase muscle degradation.
Take the time to properly recover, giving yourself a day’s rest whenever necessary and always focusing on getting the necessary amount of sleep.
Disclaimer: This post was written by our guest contributor. The content herein is owned by the blogger. Gympik is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.