How to lose fat and not muscle
To lose fat, it’s essential to understand the difference between fat and muscle. You can’t just eat less without considering how that will affect your body composition, that is, the proportion of your body that’s a muscle, water, bone and everything else.
While gaining muscle and losing fat might seem like two sides of the same coin (and it often is), there are times when you’ll want to do one at the expense of the other, like if you’re looking for a leaner physique or trying to lose weight before beach season rolls around again.
Eat protein sources with every meal.
Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle and keeping it strong. If you want to preserve your hard-earned muscle mass when you’re dieting, make sure to include high-protein foods in every meal and snack.
Protein helps you feel full longer, so it’s a great way to control hunger. It also provides energy. One ounce of protein can equal roughly 3 ounces of carbohydrates or 4 ounces of fat (source).
Do circuit-based workouts.
Circuit training is a great way to burn fat and build muscle. It involves alternating between different exercises, resting only briefly in between. You can do circuit training at home or the gym.
To create a circuit routine, select four or five movements for each workout (upper body one day, lower body another day). For example:
- Dumbbell chest press
- Cable rows
- Triceps extensions
Don’t cut calories drastically.
The key to success is simple: calories in versus calories out. In simple terms, if you want to lose fat, you need to eat fewer calories than your body burns daily. Eating more than your body needs will store the excess as fat, which is why it’s so important not to cut down on food when trying to lose weight drastically.
If you drastically cut your calorie intake by eating less than 1,200 calories per day (for example), your body will start feeling very hungry and sluggish after a few days of eating so little food.
This can make it harder for you because instead of focusing on exercising or other healthy activities like cooking healthy meals and taking walks outside with friends or family, all that matters is getting some energy back into your system by consuming more calories.
That’s why most people crave chips or sweets when they start restricting what they’re overeating because their bodies want something quick but nutrient-rich since there isn’t enough energy from food.
Also, remember that muscle weighs more than fat, so if someone loses 20 pounds but gains 10 pounds worth of muscle along with those 20 pounds worth of lost body fat (and thus had 24 pounds total removed from their frame), would they look any different?
Strength training is an essential part of your plan. It’s how you can preserve muscle and burn fat simultaneously.
- Strength training will help you burn more calories, even when resting. So once again, not only do you see results faster, but it also means that if you get bored with your exercise routine (which happens to everyone) and stop going to the gym for a month or two, once you start back up again, those pounds won’t come right back on because your body will still have been burning more calories than usual!
- By working out regularly and lifting weights with good form (not too heavy), muscles get stronger over time without getting bigger, so it’s possible for women who want thin arms or legs without bulky muscles to use resistance training as part of their fitness routine while avoiding bulking up like a man might do during heavy lifting sessions).
Team up with a workout buddy.
If you make your fitness goals a reality, it helps to have someone to keep you accountable. Having a workout buddy is one of the best ways to stay on track and reach your goals faster. But not all workout buddies are created equal. Some could even hinder your progress or cost you time and money! So if you want the best results possible, here are some tips for finding a good workout buddy:
- Find someone who shares similar goals as yourself. If they have different expectations from yours (i.e., losing 5 pounds vs losing 10 pounds), then it may not be worth having them as a partner in crime because their end goal might lead them down a different path than your own will take during this journey together.
- Seek out people who can help get through difficult times when motivation isn’t at its highest (i.e., when everyone else is eating pizza). This person should understand what it’s like starting up again after being inactive for weeks/months/years and how much work has gone into finally making healthy choices.
Don’t cut calories drastically; be sure to eat enough protein and do strength training to preserve muscle when trying to lose fat safely.
When you’re trying to lose fat and not muscle, the worst thing you can do is cut calories drastically. When your body is deprived of a particular macronutrient or micronutrient, it will start to burn muscle for fuel instead of fat.
Don’t cut out any macronutrients (protein, carbs, or fat) to protect your muscles from being used as fuel. You also want to ensure you eat enough protein daily; otherwise, your body will start breaking down its tissue to maintain essential functions like breathing and thinking.
The best way to avoid this is by eating plenty of variety in all three macronutrients each day:
- Protein sources such as chicken breast with salad or tuna mixed with greens
- Carbs such as lentil soup or sweet potato chips
- Fats like avocado slices on toast or olive oil drizzled over steamed broccoli
Don’t let muscle loss get you down. You can avoid it by eating enough protein and doing strength training regularly. Monitor your progress with regular measurements of your body fat percentage, and make sure that your workouts are helping you lose fat rather than muscle mass. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the look you want.