How To Lose Fat Without Losing Muscles
This article’s main focus is on how you can conserve lean muscle while losing fat. If you want to know how to lose fat, read this article.
Related Article: How To Lose Fat | In Five Simple Steps
Many people focus on the weight on a scale, and if the weight is going down fast enough, they think they are doing a good job. Are you sure, though? You might just be losing water (70% of your body is water), bone mass, or organ weight!
Many weight loss programs promote restricting calories and prolonged cardio-only sessions for faster results. The result, though, is that one not only loses a lot of muscle mass but health deteriorates as well.
When engaging in any weight (fat) loss program, it is imperative to focus on reducing only the adipose tissue (fat) and nothing else.
How To Lose Fat And Preserve Muscle | Five Critical Things
1) Consume 1.4-2.0g Of Protein/Kg Of Body Weight When Trying To Lose Body Fat
To know more about how much protein one needs every day for the best results.
Related Article: How Much Protein Should I Eat Per Day?
2) Weight Training 2-3 Times Per Week
Weight training builds muscle, and building muscle burns fat at a higher rate. Muscles are catabolically more active tissues than fat, meaning they need more energy to survive. So if one gains 10 lbs of muscle, he will burn roughly 50-70 extra calories per day without moving.
Isn’t that awesome?
Besides, weight training has an EPOC (Energy post-oxygen consumption) effect and can boost your metabolism for up to 16 hours (sometimes even more, depending on the intensity of your workouts). This added advantage of elevated metabolism results in more calorie burns without doing anything! 1https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11882927/
3) Lose Fat Slowly
Most experts suggest that you can lose between one and two pounds of fat per week. When starting any weight loss program, losing up to 2 lbs in a week is fine, but as you progress, the body’s natural defenses kick in.
The body loves fat; that’s how we are genetically built, so eat only slightly less than your total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE (10-20% less at most).
However, there are certain individuals blessed with good genetics who can keep losing fat at a higher rate without losing muscles. So keep an eye on your muscle mass to ensure you are not losing too much.
Related Article: How To Lose Body Fat | How Much Can You Lose In A Month?
4) Forget About Long, Boring, Low-Intensity Cardio; Do HIIT Instead
Consider this: Trapp et al. conducted a study in which young women performed HIIT for 15 weeks with 3-20 minute sessions per week.
HIIT consisted of an 8-second sprint followed by 12 seconds of low-intensity cycling, repeated for 20 minutes. Another group of women carried out an aerobic cycling protocol for 40 minutes for each session. 2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18197184/
Related Article: HIIT Or Steady State Cardio?
Results showed that women in the HIIT group lost 2.5 kg subcutaneous fat, whereas no change occurred with steady-state aerobic exercise. Fat loss over 15 weeks of HIIT was attained with 50% less exercise time and a similar energy expenditure to that of steady-state exercise.
5) Don’t Try To Build Muscles At The Same Time
Many experts claim that it’s possible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. In a few cases, this might be true, especially when you are a beginner.
Related Article: Weekly Gym Workout Schedule For Beginners
Many ectomorphs fear losing fat might eat up their muscles, but it’s not the case. Fat is like cotton, and muscle is like a piece of iron. When you lose fat, you become smaller but toned. Psychologically it can play havoc on the mind of a skinny guy who doesn’t have enough muscles to show when his body fat drops below 15%.
I have suffered from this mental agony time and time again, and as a result, I started to eat more, thinking I might lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. But, in the end, eating more only hindered the process of losing fat.
So, focus on one thing at a time-either fat loss or muscle gain-and you will reach your goals faster. I always advise that before you think about gaining muscles, your body fat should be less than 15% and ideally around 12%.
Gaining muscles requires you to eat more than your TDEE, and a little bit of fat gain, in that case, is acceptable.
Related Article: Ultimate Guide On How To Gain Weight | The Right Way
How To Know If Your Weight Loss Is Fat Loss
Bio-electrical impedance is a pretty decent way to analyze your fat levels. Fat calipers can help too. However, I personally get a pretty good idea of whether I am losing fat without losing muscles by closely observing how my clothes fit.
If my shirt is not getting lost around my shoulders, I know I am not losing muscles. And if my trousers are getting loose, I am definitely losing fat.
Another indicator that you might be losing muscles is to watch your strength in the weight room closely. I work very hard to make sure my strength doesn’t decrease. Since I weight train only 2 or 3 times per week, I am quite charged up for my workouts and give 110% every time.
Observing changes in the fat on my face is also another indicator. (I never said I was not vain.) Once I see my jawline getting more defined, my face starts to get more angular; I am positive I am on the right track.
I see a majority of people measuring their weight almost every other day, which I believe is futile. By weight, 70% of your body is water; water loss or gain can make a difference of a few pounds.
Don’t lose your hard-earned muscles while cutting (losing fat). Make sure to follow the five points above to the T. If you don’t measure, adjust, and improve accordingly, you may not see success.
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About Akash Sehrawat
Akash is a creator of 25+ programs and certificate courses in which more than 200,000 students have enrolled both on Udemy and Fabulous Body's native platform. Akash is also an author of three books that can be found on Amazon. His answers on Quora have gathered more than 12 million views in less than a year.