How To Lose Body Fats But Keep That Muscle Mass
If you want to lose body fat, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. This is true regardless of whether you’re eating a low-carb or high-carb diet. But if you want to preserve or increase your muscle mass, there’s an additional consideration: You can’t lose too much weight too quickly, or you’ll “lose” muscle instead of fat.
To understand why this happens, let’s look at the basic physiology of weight loss and gain.
When your body burns more energy than it takes in from food, it burns stored fat as fuel. This process is known as lipolysis (breaking down fat). When lipolysis occurs, free fatty acids are released into the bloodstream and used as fuel by cells throughout the body. Some free fatty acids will be converted into ketones (a type of molecule that fuels metabolism), which are then used as fuel by cells such as brain cells and red blood cells that cannot use fatty acids directly for energy production. The rest will be removed from the body through urination (in other words, they’ll be flushed out with urine).
You can lose body fat without losing muscle mass. You should if you want to look leaner and more toned.
The key is to lose fat while preserving your muscle mass. The problem is that when you lose weight, it’s impossible to tell the difference between fat loss and muscle loss — which means you don’t know if you’re losing too much muscle mass in the process.
If you want to know how to lose body fat without losing muscle mass, here are six tips:
- Eat enough protein
Protein is an essential nutrient that helps build muscles. It also allows you to feel full, which can help control your hunger and reduce overeating. Protein-rich foods include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and beans. Nuts and seeds are also good sources of protein.
To lose body fat, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn through physical activity. If you cut back too much on calories (especially those from fat), it will be difficult for your body to get the energy it needs. This can cause muscle loss and weight loss from less muscle tissue than fat.
- Get plenty of sleep
Sleep deprivation can increase hunger and decrease your ability to burn fat. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep a night, which will help you feel more alert when you wake up and make it easier to avoid overeating during the day. It also raises cortisol levels (which reduces muscle mass), increases insulin resistance, and elevates blood sugar levels, promoting fat storage and inhibiting fat burning.
- Use compound exercises in your workout routine
Compound exercises involve multiple muscle groups, such as squats or deadlifts. These exercises are more effective than isolation exercises because they require more energy from your body, which results in more significant calorie burn during and after the workout.
Compound exercises also help you preserve muscle mass by working multiple muscles at once, which helps prevent muscle loss. Examples include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and cleans.
- Use high-intensity interval training (HIIT) as part of your exercise routine.
The idea behind HIIT is simple: You perform bursts of intense activity followed by short periods of rest or low-intensity activity. Not only does this method help you burn more calories than low-intensity steady state (LISS) exercise, but it also helps preserve muscle mass, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
- Lifting weights helps preserve lean muscle tissue during weight loss.
Lean muscle tissue is a great thing, especially when losing fat. Here’s how it works: Lean muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning that it burns calories even when you’re not exercising. A pound of lean muscle can burn up to 50 calories per day—more than ten times the calories burned by a pound of fat.
- Drink lots of water
Water helps flush out toxins, keep skin looking young, and fill you to eat less food. Water helps maintain the normal function of all your body systems, including digestion and absorption of nutrients from food and excretion of waste products from the liver, kidneys, and colon. It also helps regulate body temperature and transports nutrients such as glucose into cells where they can be stored or used as energy.
- Avoid processed food and soda pop.
Avoid processed foods as much as possible since they tend to be high in sodium, sugar, fats, and other unhealthy ingredients, leading to weight gain over time if consumed regularly. These foods are loaded with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients that can impair muscle development and promote fat storage in the body.
- Eat breakfast every morning.
A healthy breakfast will help curb your appetite throughout the day and prevent you from overeating at lunch or dinner time. It’s also a good idea to eat within two hours of waking up so that your metabolism is running at full speed right off the bat.
- Eat smaller portions at mealtime.
Eating smaller portions can help control the number of calories you consume during the day while still giving you enough nutrients to maintain good health. You may find that if you eat five or six small meals throughout the day instead of three larger ones, it helps keep your metabolism active throughout the day and helps keep your blood sugar levels from spiking too high after each meal.