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How To Lose Fat Without Losing Muscle
Published on November 21, 2018 and last updated for accuracy on April 4, 2019
Losing weight is a common goal for many people who are dissatisfied with what they see when they look in the mirror. It is also a process that takes time, patience, many hard work but above all – the right methods. You see, when people talk about losing weight, most of the times what they mean is to lose fat and shape their bodies to look like something that they can see on the cover of a magazine. But in order to do that, you have to lose fat while you retain and increase your muscle mass. This, unfortunately, does not go as planned for many people who are new to dieting and working out.
That is why we chose to share the right ways that will help you lose weight, or more precise fat, without having to lose muscle mass at the same time. And even better – how to shape your body while you are losing weight at the same time. Trust us – you might not see the difference in the numbers when you step on your scale, but you and everyone around you will notice the difference in the way you look!
The risks of being overweight
Being overweight and living with obesity is not something that only affects your self-confidence and mental health. It is something that affects your physical health above all. Many people that you see running and working out, avoiding any fast food and choosing a fresh salad instead do it for the physical benefits of staying in shape rather than for their body image. Of course, there is nothing wrong in wanting to feel proud and happy with the way that you look.
Health benefits of working out – in the following we will list only a partial amount of the numerous health benefits that working out has for both your mental and physical health:
- Improved mood, reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, low levels of stress (1)
- Weight loss and increased metabolic rate (2)
- Increased energy levels
- Increase in muscle mass and muscle strength, improved bone health and reduced risk of injuries (3)
- Increased risk of chronic diseases including diabetes type 2, heart disease and early death (4)
- Improved cognitive abilities and reduced risk of cognitive decline due to the aging process
Health risks of overweight and obesity – in the following we will share some of the most significant health risks that come with being overweight and fighting obesity. You will quickly learn that being overweight/obese puts your life in danger with each day passing.
- Increased risk of heart disease and heart attack (5)
- Increased risk of stroke (6)
- Increased risk of high blood pressure (hypertension)
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Increased risk of osteoarthritis
- Increased risk of cancer (7)
- Increased risk of sleep apnea and asthma
- Increased risk of kidney disease
How to lose weight without losing muscle at the same time
Losing weight fast should go hand by hand with increasing your muscle mass and muscle strength. You cannot have the results that you wish and leave one of them behind – diet or regular working outs. Anyone who is convincing you to believe in otherwise is not looking out for your health.
Eat enough proteins through your diet
If you want to lose weight, you may need to work on reducing the calorie intake on a daily basis. And this is where it gets tricky. In order to lose weight, you are required to reduce the number of calories that you normally intake but avoid reaching a calorie deficit at the same time, if you are interested in maintaining and increasing the muscle mass that you have, that is. You see, when your body faces a calorie deficit, it starts to use the fats in your body, and as soon as the stored fats are gone, your proteins are next. And pretty soon you will begin noticing as your muscle mass reduces and you lose muscle strength. Yes, you have faced muscle loss and all of that because you have led your body to a calorie deficit.
So listen closely – while reducing the number of calories is the right way to lose weight and especially fats, you have to choose to include the right foods in your diet to do so. That means including many clean proteins in your diet while excluding any added sugars, fats, processed food and everything that is labeled as a health destroyer.
And when we say clean protein we really do mean clean proteins – nothing that comes in the form of a supplement or a pill or powder. You will have to do some shopping and get all of the essential, natural protein sources that we have including eggs, soy, lean beef, chicken, seafood, milk, cheese, yogurt etc.
Plan your daily menu around these products so that you include enough of them to satisfy your body’s daily needs for protein and more. That way, not only will you lose weight, you will also maintain and work to increase your muscle mass at the same time as well. (8)
Work towards total-body strength training
You cannot deny the fact that working out is the fastest and the most beneficial way to lose weight and improve your body image. Regular working out is also the way that will get you to maintain and work to increase your muscle mass and strength while you are losing that unwanted body fat. But the question is – which workout should you choose?
We kindly recommend all of our readers to proceed towards total-body strength training. Strength training will not only get you to sweat and lose more calories than any other workout, but it will also increase your muscle mass and strength and promote the production of the human growth hormone and testosterone – both vital hormones responsible for great-looking, lean muscles without any fat around them whatsoever.
Recovery is just as important as exercising
You might be wondering why you are not losing weight and building lean muscles even though you spend every free moment at the gym. Let us ask you this – have you ever wondered what might be the exact problem? Recovery is just as important as exercising – do not let yourself forget this.
Cortisol’s levels, inflammatory hormone, rise when you are putting too much stress on your body and getting too little sleep or no sleep at all. Cortisol is what inhibits weight loss and increases muscle degradation which apart from leading to no weight loss, it leads to losing muscle mass and muscle strength as well. On the other hand, the production of the human growth hormone, which is responsible for many things in the human body, including the build-up of lean, strong muscles, increases during your sleep. (9)
In conclusion – go to bed early and make sure that you get at least 9 hours of sleep every night to let your body rest and recover from the workout and stress the day before. This will help you speed up your weight loss process and build the muscles of your dreams.
Get on that treadmill – but not for long
High-intensity training such as doing sprints on the treadmill or stationary bike or even riding your bike outdoors can do a lot for your body image. With the right workout plan, high-intensity training can speed up the weight loss process and help you build great-looking, lean muscles in no time. You might find high-intensity training a bit difficult in the beginning but there is nothing that a bit stronger patience and motivation cannot get your through – and that goes for high-intensity training as well.
In a study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, high-intensity training has been confirmed is a great way for overweight and obese people to lose weight. (10) However, the study confirmed that the individuals who participated in the research only lost weight because they respected the ratio between working out and resting. So remember – for every second that you spend springing on that treadmill or bike, make sure that you spend that much amount of time to get some rest before you get back to the treadmill again.
The importance of pre-workout carbs and post-workout proteins
Your body craves the right carbohydrates in order to function well. Carbohydrates help energize your body, boosting your physical performance and improving the quality of your workouts. (11) That is why you should introduce yourself to the concept of pre-workout carbs where you are supposed to intake enough healthy carbs through fruits, legumes, whole grains, etc.
These healthy carbs will give your body the energy that it needs to get you sweating during your workout, losing that unwanted weight. And then we have the concept of post-workout proteins where you are supposed to intake enough proteins right after your workout while your muscles are warm and able to grow the most with the help of proteins. (12) Plan your workouts so that you have enough time to prepare yourself a nice meal that consists of enough proteins to help your muscles grow stronger and bigger.
Let us remind you that any protein that might come in the form of a powder or a pill is not the one that we encourage you to include in your diet. We strongly recommend you choose a healthy, natural protein source such as the ones that we mentioned a few moments ago over any protein supplement.
You might think that in order for you to build great-looking muscles you have to go through numerous diets and hard workouts to lose all of that unwanted body fat first. Well, we are happy to save you the time and effort and tell you that you are wrong. By choosing the right workout routine and adjusting your calorie intake you can be losing weight and building great muscle mass at the same time.
Do not worry – you will succeed to maintain your muscle mass and even work to increase it, including your muscle strength, during the process. Yes, many unfortunate individuals are losing muscle mass while they are trying to lose weight, but you do not have to be one of them. With the right tricks and tips, you will be on the right path towards building lean muscles and letting your BMI drop by the day.