How do you lose fat without losing muscle? So many women want a "look" that is feminine yet lean. This would require you to have enough muscle and a lower body fat percentage to see definition of your muscles. When you are dieting or trying to lose body fat, it is not the most optimal time for muscle retention because your body needs fat to survive not muscle. The goal is to lose fat and keep muscle, so I want to share some information on how to do that !
People always say they want to lose weight. The thing is, "weight" can be a lot of different things. For example: fat, water, glycogen, poop, food content and muscle all weighs something. But out of everything on that list, the only thing we REALLY want to lose is body fat. And we definitely DON'T want to lose muscle.
Unfortunately, people lose muscle during the weight loss process all the time, as muscle is another backup fuel source your body can burn for energy like it does with body fat.
Here are 5 steps:
1- Eat enough protein. Anywhere between 0.8-1.3 grams of protein per pound of your current body weight is fine. Those who are significantly overweight should use their goal body weight in this calculation. If you are an athlete you should be using the higher end of the spectrum.
2- Lift heavy enough to maintain (or increase) your strength levels. The idea of lifting heavy to build muscle and lifting light to lose fat is counterproductive to your goal that will only lead to muscle loss. In reality, you lift heavy to build muscle, and you continue to lift heavy if you want to actually maintain that muscle. More muscle = more lean body mass.
3- Keep your deficit moderate in size. While there are certain cases when a larger deficit can be beneficial/ideal, most people will do best with a deficit that is 15-25% below their maintenance level. Do not try to do a starvation diet that you start to yo-yo on. We want to maintain a consistent stream of weight loss over a longer period of time. Think 3 months, not 3 weeks to lose weight to get to a lower body fat.
4- Do as little cardio as needed. Cardio isn't a bad thing, and it can be a useful fat loss tool. However, when done to an excessive degree as it often is, it can increase the risk of muscle loss. Cardio is used at the end so you can still have the most food possible in your diet and lose weight.
5- Refeeds and diet breaks are methods used to temporarily pause your deficit to allow various physiological and psychological factors to be improved or reversed to some degree, some of which play a role in preserving muscle. You see I didn't say cheat meals because I want you to have good foods just more of them. There is a HUGE difference between eating higher carbs or healthy quality foods vs having an all out binger.
I hope these tips can help you with your weight loss journey. If you ever want more advice or tips, comment below and let's talk!