How to lose body fat and preserve muscle mass may seem like contradictory terms at first, but it’s not as hard as you might think. In fact, keeping your muscle mass intact as you burn body fat can improve your health and your appearance, making it easier to lose weight in the long run. Read on to learn more about how to lose body fat and preserve muscle mass with exercise and healthy eating.
Counting Calories is not Necessary
Calorie counting is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to getting lean. In fact, studies have shown that even when caloric intake stays the same, those who are in a caloric deficit will lose more fat (and less muscle) than those who are not in a caloric deficit. To start losing body fat and preserving muscle mass, the first thing you should do is figure out your total daily energy expenditure.
You can do this by adding your basal metabolic rate (BMR) to your activity level multiplier. Then, create a diet that matches these numbers: if your TDEE is 2500 kcal per day then aim for 1800 kcal or less on workout days and 2000-2200 kcal on rest days. Make sure that you’re consuming enough protein on both days.
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Right after determining your TDEE, calculate how many grams of carbs, fats, and proteins you need to hit that number based on your goals. Keep an eye on the amount of protein you consume as too much can lead to a decrease in BMR (this doesn’t happen with carbs or fats). Remember – don’t go too low with any macro group! It may be tempting but try not to consume less than 50g of carbs at any time and make sure each meal has some fat with it because they make food taste better! And most importantly: drink lots of water!
Eat Enough Protein
As people embark on a journey towards better health and fitness, it’s important to eat enough protein. Protein is the building block of muscles, so the more you have, the more muscle mass you will be able to preserve. And since a person may not be exercising as often when beginning this lifestyle change, preserving muscle is particularly important. It’s best to eat about 1 gram of protein per day for every kilogram of body weight (1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds), or about .36 grams per pound of body weight.
Carbohydrates are not Evil
Carbohydrates are not bad for you, they provide your body with important energy. Your body has many functions, one of which is energy storage. We use carbohydrates as our main source of fuel because they break down into glucose more quickly than protein or fat.
Plus, glycogen stores in the liver and muscles are depleted during intense activity like weight training. It’s essential to replenish these stores if you want to train at your best! Protein will only take care of so much. That’s why it’s recommended that athletes consume a high-carbohydrate diet (60% of calories) alongside protein (30%) and healthy fats (10%). High carbohydrate diets have been shown to be superior for muscle preservation while dieting.
The reason is that ketones (the result when fat cells are broken down) can’t cross from the blood stream into cells, so a high carbohydrate diet won’t inhibit lean muscle growth. Furthermore, ketones increase an athlete’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by impairing insulin sensitivity.
A good place to start is with some supplements, such as whey protein shakes. By including protein in your diet, you can help maintain or build up muscle mass when attempting to lose weight. Protein helps with hunger and promotes a feeling of fullness in your stomach so that you will not be tempted by unhealthy snacks or beverages.
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Whey protein shakes are easy to prepare as they come in powder form, which makes them convenient for a post-workout snack or meal. In addition, they contain other nutrients such as calcium and vitamins A & D that support bone health—an important aspect of maintaining lean muscle while losing fat.
Exercise at the Right Time
It’s always important to get a good night’s sleep, but even more so if you’re trying with the lose body fat. Be sure not only to take care of your sleeping schedule, but your diet as well. For example, eat plenty of protein at breakfast so that you can burn it off all day! When it comes time for bedtime, avoid consuming anything within two hours because food takes about that much time before it starts releasing its sugars into the bloodstream.
Mix Up Exercises
Mix up your workouts to keep things interesting. You don’t want your body to get too accustomed to what you’re doing or you will have a difficult time progressing. Here are four ideas: 1) Push yourself outside of your comfort zone by adding an extra 2-3 sets of heavy reps; 2) Switch between heavy weightlifting with lighter weight training; 3) Try new ways of working out like tabata intervals; 4) Avoid monotonous cardio and focus on high intensity interval training or strength training instead.
Don’t forget Rest Days
If you train every day, your body will never recover. In addition, muscles will break down if they are not given sufficient time to heal. Remember that it is absolutely important to have days where you don’t work out in order for your body to fully recover. Try alternating days of training with active rest days- where you do low intensity activities such as stretching or light cardio. Resting after intense workouts for at least 48 hours will help alleviate muscle soreness and accelerate the muscle healing process.