It took me many years to figure out the correct balance of caloric intake in connection with fat loss without losing muscle in order to maintain lean muscle mass.
When I was running several hours a day plus starving myself (an absolutely horrible combination) I was not seeing results. With all of whimsical practices aside, it is important to note the do’s when looking to lose fat without losing muscle while gaining lean muscle mass.
A low carb diet would be a wise incorporation because these types of foods allow the body to burn fat storage while replenishing the rebuilding muscles with the nutrients they need to get back to full recovery. Another thing to do when looking to lose fat without losing muscle is to balance cardio and strength training.
If you lift and do cardio on the same day you should consider lifting first and following up with cardio. So if you are looking to lose fat without losing muscle, consider changing your diet habits to eating foods that promote caloric and fat burn. Enter your email address to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive notifications of new ideas to improve health and wellness. The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. A lack of training with heavy stuff is the number one mistake people make when trying to lose weight.
This is why it is of utmost importance that when we are trying to get lean we always continue to, or begin to, train hard with resistance. In the real world though we may not be looking like this or the female equivalent at the end of our endeavours, but one thing is for sure, we can lose weight without losing whatever muscle we have built up so far. And there are plenty of reasons why we should get lean in the first place, before we carry on our training to build up our muscular size.
The point is that whatever our results so far from our training lots of us would rather show off what we have rather than it all be hidden under a layer of fat. The absolute best thing to do when dieting down to a lower bodyweight is to still continually strive to get stronger and build more muscle. The reality is that when cutting calories and trying to look our best, then we should carry on training just like we always have. Cutting calories can get you most of the way to the bodyfat you want to be at, and although you may need to add in a some ways to boost your metabolim, and keep the furnace running fast, you shouldn’t do that at the expense of having the enrgy to train hard just like you always have. The best exercise to lose weight, and keep your sanity and your energy levels high, is simply a good walk every morning. But if we are on a sensible diet, cycling carbs and following the Lean Ape Blueprint, then you will be amazed at how little your calorie restriction effects your training. Carry on training hard and you should find that at the very least you can maintain your strength levels. If you cannot at least maintain your strength levels in your workouts when you are dieting then you may simply be cutting the calories too extremely. Done slowly and sensibly it willl mean that you uncover all that you have worked so hard to achieve.
We may not all have a ton of muscle at the moment anyway, some of us are simply born to be hardgainers, so it is even more important that we strive to keep all the muscle that we possibly can.
I’m finding it very difficult to talk myself out of extensive cardio while working on getting back into shape. The thing is that if the cardio eats into your muscle recovery time then how will the muscles grow? A lot of people swear by HIIT for health and calorie burning, so it may be worth looking into. Great, but how should you structure your training and nutrition approach in order to lose fat without losing muscle, so that your hard-earned gains remain intact? Building quality muscle certainly requires a good deal of hard work and patience (not to mention that it happens a lot more slowly than fat loss does), so it’s understandable why you might be concerned about this.
If you want to burn fat and maintain muscle as effectively as possible, you’ll want to make sure that your basic weight training approach remains the same as it was when you were aiming to gain muscle.
In reality, altering your workout plan in this way is completely misguided and will actually increase the chances of muscle loss throughout your fat loss phase.
Resistance training targets only the muscles that are involved in the exercise and NOT the fat surrounding that area. Fat loss only occurs on a total-body scale as you keep yourself in a calorie deficit over time.
Every time you perform a weight training workout, your goal is simple: to provide the most powerful stimulus to your muscles possible. Training with a sufficient level of intensity by performing each set about 1-2 reps short of muscular failure.
Maintaining an adequate rest time between sets of around 1.5-3 minutes in order to keep training performance maximized.
Continually striving for progressive overload by gradually increasing the weight lifted on your exercises over time. Following all of these basic steps will give your body the proper incentive it needs to hold onto its existing muscle mass despite being in a calorie deficit. Altering your plan with lighter weights, higher reps, more isolation movements and shorter rest periods is only going to weaken the training stimulus on your muscles and have the opposite effect that you’re striving for. If you’re creating a proper calorie deficit through your diet and are sticking to an intensive weight training plan, there’s really no need to perform huge amounts of cardio to get the results you’re after.
Yes, cardio is a useful tool for burning additional calories and promoting a variety of physical and mental benefits, but going overboard can impair workout recovery and increase your total calorie deficit to an excessive level that may promote muscle loss. 2-3 weekly cardio sessions is a good basic starting point for most people, and you should only throw in additional sessions later on if your rate of fat loss stalls and it becomes necessary. You’ll also want to space your cardio sessions away from your weight training sessions whenever possible, with a 6-8 hour gap being ideal.

If you do want to combine them because you have a busy schedule and want to be as time-efficient as possible, always perform cardio after your weight training workout is over. Weight training should always be treated as the number one priority if you want to lose fat without losing muscle, and you don’t want to enter your weight training workout already pre-fatigued from a full cardio session. As a final note, the amount of cardio you’ll require also depends on what your activity level is like outside of the gym. This creates the necessary calorie deficit needed to stimulate your body to burn fat as a source of fuel. Although a calorie deficit is a mandatory pre-requisite for fat loss, trying to speed up the process by using a very large deficit is rarely a good idea. Larger calorie deficits can be okay for some people in the short term, but for most individuals, aggressive deficits will quickly result in significantly lowered training performance, energy levels, mood and appetite control, and in turn will increase the chances of excessive muscle loss. A much better approach for most dieters is to stick with only a moderate calorie deficit of about 500 calories below maintenance level, with a focus on losing fat at a gradual pace of about 1-2 pounds per week.
This calorie deficit and rate of fat loss are large enough to produce significant ongoing results, but small enough that the majority of your muscle will be left intact. If you don’t know your current calorie maintenance level, you can roughly estimate it by multiplying your body weight in pounds by 14-16, going with the higher or lower end depending on your overall activity level.
This will give you your calorie maintenance level, and you’ll then simply subtract 500 calories from that to calculate how much you should eat per day.
Treat whatever caloric figure you end up with as an initial starting point, and then measure your weekly weight loss. Protein is important for the obvious reason that it is responsible for the building and maintenance of lean muscle tissue.
In order to burn fat and maintain muscle optimally, make sure to consume between 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily.
Anywhere within this range will likely be enough to eliminate any concern of muscle loss, and if you want to be fully on the safe side then just go with the upper figure of 1 gram per pound.
I wouldn’t recommend going much beyond this amount though, as any more than 1 gram is almost certainly unnecessary and could even be potentially counter-productive. The more protein you eat beyond what you actually require, the fewer carbohydrates you’ll be able to fit into your daily calorie totals, and this could prevent you from maximizing your energy levels, mood and focus throughout your fat loss phase since carbs play a central role in these factors. Also keep in mind that the idea that lifters require more protein while cutting is not necessarily true.
This is because you only require enough protein to maintain your existing muscle mass when cutting, whereas during a bulking phase you require protein both for maintenance and for building additional tissue. Don’t forget about fat intake either, as dietary fat plays a key role in keeping testosterone levels elevated and also prevents negative effects on mood and appetite which may impact your training performance. 20% of total calories from fat would be the minimum, and I wouldn’t recommend going below this for any extended period of time. 2) Keep your cardio frequency on the moderate side by starting off with 2-3 weekly sessions spaced 6-8 hours away from your weight training workouts. 3) Stick to a controlled calorie surplus of about 500 calories below your maintenance level and focus on losing fat gradually at a rate of around 1-2 pounds per week. If you want to burn fat without losing muscle, these are the 4 most important steps to follow. Sean Nalewanyj is a best-selling fitness author, natural bodybuilder and success coach who has been publishing science-based, no B.S muscle building and fat loss information online since 2005.
But even the most mild-mannered of person can be transformed into a screaming wreck after a few days of the ensuing hunger.
Jonny Rees, a personal trainer at Ultimate Performance Fitness, London, explains carb cycling involves eating carbohydrates on days where the person exercise, and fewer on days where they rest. Too many carbohydrates can lead to fat being stored around the middle – increasing the chance of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic disorder.
Therefore, doing a mixture of both allows the body to remain lean without losing muscle mass. Working out how many carbohydrates people should eat depends on their weight and exercise levels, Mr Rees said. This is the equivalent of one baked potatoes, three or four new potatoes, a palmful of precooked rice, an apple and a banana, or a normal bowl of porridge.
In his gym, people are usually put on a very low carb diet for 10 days to 2 weeks, and then he introduces carb cycling – an eating plan he says people can sustain long-term. The programme is as effective for women as men, although the results may be more obvious in men who naturally have more muscle mass, he said. He said that for the best results, people need to be doing intense exercise such as weight lifting or resistance training such as press up, sprints or intervals on the rower. Following these simple tips on what to do and what not to do should get you off to a great start. I was always trying to get lean in order to compete at my maximum performance in the proper weight class.
After 14 years of wrestling, I finally got a knack for the proper way to make the cut to a certain weight class and maintain my strength at that weight class. Whatever your reason, I will provide tips on what not to do then counter them with proper methods to lose fat without losing muscle when getting lean. Yes, it is true that in order to lose weight you need to have your calories in be less than calories out. Yes, there is a need to cut back calorie intake, but that should not be done through skipping meals and intentional starving. If you do your cardio first your body will be more tired and you will not get the same muscle push that you would normally experience.
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A lot of us have been working out with weights, or using bodyweight training programs for some time, and there always comes a point when we want to finally reveal what we have built after all our hard work. And if we want to achieve something like this then we would have to be extremely dedicated and focused. But we freak out about losing our gains as we switch to a calorie deficit to get the bodyfat percentage we want. Losing fat is so much down to diet that there really is little point in killing yourself with additional cardio and the like unless you really enjoy it. Recovery is still as important as ever, and if we want to keep our muscle mass then we need to try to stay as strong as ever.
Slow and steady wins the race over the long term, and the results will last a lot better too. The lean look is more and more popular than ever, but we don’t want to end up kidding ourselves about what we look like, when we are simply skinny really. Which means hard and brief.  And strive to get as strong as you can while you eat less food. 45 mins of cardio is not going to burn much fat, a few short hill sprints totalling a couple of minutes will probably do more for you on that front, and keep you burning fat for longer afterwards too. If you do cardio I would at least save it for just days that you train on, always emphasising the weights training over anything else. I’m a 30 year old former college athlete so I know what its like to be healthy and fit.
Before beginning a new exercise regime or diet plan please consult with your own physician. And this is achieved using the exact same principles you were using during your bulking phase. So, if you weighed 200 pounds with 25% body fat, you’d be carrying 50 pounds of fat and 150 pounds of lean mass.
From there, increase or decrease it if necessary until you’re consistently landing in the appropriate weekly weight loss range.
If protein intake drops too low, you won’t maintain muscle at your maximum capacity throughout your cut.
Then, since fat contains 9 calories per gram, divide that number by 9 in order to get your daily grams of fat.
Only increase the amount of cardio later on if your rate of fat loss stalls and you don’t want to reduce your calorie intake any further. Through the comprehensive free content found in his Articles, YouTube Channel, Facebook Page and online newsletters, Sean has helped hundreds of thousands of average, everyday people from all over the world build muscle, lose fat and completely transform their bodies and lives. I give out real, science-based, no B.S training, nutrition and supplementation advice to help you build muscle and lose fat in the most productive yet practical way possible. If you have your car and you have you’re going on a long drive from London to Scotland, you’d want a full tank of fuel.
If your body doesn’t have the nutrients to replenish after a cardio workout it is forced to take from your lean mass storage. Rather, you should eat good foods, foods that are going to provide direct energy for your body. You should also ensure that you are eating plenty of proteins to help rebuild your muscles. You may also want to try taking a supplement like L-Glutamine which helps to build muscle and lose fat.
Sure, you can lose the weight relatively easily, but the problem is that you look pretty awful when your scrawny frame is revealed in the mirror. But we want to reveal our killer bodies in a way that stops us losing our muscle as we diet down to a good low bodyfat percentage.
As we lose weight then there is no doubt that energy levels lower somewhat, less fuel means less energy to some degree.
Rather than rush it then dieting down over 3 months or so to that new low bodyfat percentage would be a much more sensible approach to take. In that way the results will come nice and steadily, and the end result may even be that you are stronger at the end of your period of leaning out than you were at the beginning. After graduating and entering the workforce I kept eating like I wad working out everyday and balooned from 220 pounds to 360 in about 8 years.
In an industry that has become completely overrun with gimmicks, false information and outright scams, you can trust this site as an honest, reliable resource to help you reach your fitness goals.
However, if you do strictly cardio or strictly strength you will not achieve the goal that you set out. Once you shed the weight it is easy to keep it off because your metabolism works faster with muscle instead of fat!
If I’m still lifting at a high intensity level with heavy weight will my 30-45 minutes of cardio a day still result in muscle loss? But then, I can’t think of anything worse than jogging and the like so I may be biased ?? But really it just comes down to calories in and lowering that a lot gives the best results. I just started IFing 2 weeks ago and love it (researching IF is how i stumbled upon your site) But looking good isn’t my number 1 goal.
My blood pressure did get into the pre-hypertension area and my resting heart rate was absurdly high.

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