If you’re looking to lose fat and maintain muscle mass, this article will provide you with the resources you need to start that process. If you want to lose fat more effectively, this follow-up post is an important read to help you understand how you can reduce body fat and prevent losing lean muscle mass in the process. If you’re not interested in maintaining muscle mass and the skinny-fat look is what you’re going for, then this article is probably not in your best interest to read. The recommended calorie-intake required to promote fat-loss while maintaining muscle mass is a 20-25% reduction in calories per day based on how your TDEE is calculated. This recommendation is supported by many studies analyzing changes in muscle mass during calorie-restricted diets. So the first and most important concept in losing body fat while maintaining muscle mass then, is to eat at a caloric deficit of roughly 20-25% of your total daily energy expenditure, scaled according to changes in current body composition and physical activity levels. Below are two different studies that illustrate the benefits of high-protein consumption while on calorie-restricted diets. This article provides another perspective on protein requirements for individuals who seek to prevent lean muscle mass loss during caloric restriction when promoting fat-loss. As individuals respond to nutrients and physical stressors differently, I recommend playing around with protein and fat intake and sticking with the amount that works best for your body. One gram per pound of lean mass is widely accepted as the minimum requirement in the bodybuilding world.
The second key component to lose body fat and not muscle is to eat a high-protein diet at a minimum of 1g of protein per pound of  lean body mass. You can certainly lose body fat and maintain muscle just by eating at a moderate, negative energy balance and keeping protein-intake high. This is demonstrated in the following study: Resistance Weight Training During Caloric Restriction Enhances Lean Body Weight Maintenance.
It was found that weight training resulted in comparable muscle area and strength gains for the DPE and EO test groups. The third key component in maintaining muscle while reducing body fat is to do resistance training.
Another downside to excessive steady-state cardio while on a calorie-restricted diet is that you run the risk of overtraining, which is not a good state to be in.
When I’m eating at a caloric-deficit, I don’t usually do cardio more than three times per week because I don’t want a lack of recovery to impact the intensity of my strength-training sessions. The last key component in preserving muscle mass during fat-loss then, is to avoid excessive amounts of cardio.
Mainly do cardio to lose fat but maintain muscle, bare in mind that doing only cardio will eventually lead your body not doing enough resistance training and to much endurance so you get the long distance runner look and you muscle definition will deminish.So you need to add resistance to your cardio by doing weights. If you want to lose fat most effectively, then you’ll want to learn how to calculate the calories necessary to hit your fat-loss goals. This article, combined with the two aforementioned posts, will equip you with the necessary tools to take your fat-loss to the next level and get you closer to a leaner, more sculpted physique. The details of how to calculate your TDEE for fat loss is outlined in Lose Fat and Reduce Body Fat Percentage with Basic Math.
As an example, based on my TDEE, my calorie target to lose fat is about 1,400-1,500 calories per day. In calculating your macros to lose fat, the first macronutrient we should focus on is protein. The easiest way to determine your protein requirement if you don’t have a way to measure your body fat percentage is to consume 1g of protein per pound of body weight.
Using myself as an example, if I currently weigh 105 pounds, I should be eating about 105g of protein per day. Using myself as the guinea pig, if 25% of my calories should come from fat, then I should consume roughly 360 calories of fat (1,450 x 25%). The last macronutrient ratio we should determine is our contribution of calories from carbohydrates. Since I know my calorie requirement for proteins and fats are 420 and 360, respectively, I can now determine what my calorie needs should be from carbohydrates. As my body has been my personal science project for quite some time, I’ve experimented with a variety of splits. In the end, improving body composition is about understanding how you respond to certain diet and training protocol and sticking to what works. There’s a wide variety of exercises to lose belly fat, but not all of them are that effective. Find out which ones are the most effective and will have your belly fat melting off in no time!
Then you have the people who want to get away from the gym and only weight train once a week. There’s many different exercises for the arms, but are they effective at losing fat and building fat burning muscle?
It was like most overweight bellies and nothing that would take too long to see amazing improvements in the belly area. When it comes to losing weight, snacking can be a great way to ward off those pesky hunger pains we all get.
Combine this with a proper diet and you’re well on your way to achieving the body of your dreams!
THE classic early-morning, fasted, steady-state cardio is a great way to burn fat and lose weight. Wea€™ve gone through the trouble of putting together 10 tips to make sure you get the most out of your next fat loss diet. If something doesna€™t work for you please dona€™t go on some internet crusade throwing it under the buss to whoever will listen. This doesna€™t necessarily apply to a bodybuilder who is preparing for a competition since they need to make sure every muscle a€?popsa€?.
However, the average guy who is looking to shed a few pounds would be better served on a full-body routine. Finally, these larger muscle groups tend to encourage a larger release of testosterone into the bloodstream which is crucial for maintaining muscle mass while cutting fat. However if you eat them after your body will burn fat for fuel and then use the carbs to restore your glycogen.
Spiking insulin levels after a workout is helpful because it forces nutrients into the muscles and helps them rebuild. However, you dona€™t want to be spiking insulin levels throughout the day if you want to stay lean. Remember that when your body works harder to break down calories you are boosting your BMR.
Yes we know that sounds really fruity and out of place, but ita€™s important every once in awhile, whether its for a single days or an entire week, to change up the types of food you are putting into your system. Wea€™ve been talking a lot about hormones lately on broscience.co due to the heavy influence they have on your physique and bodybuilding goals.
For example, consuming high-fructose corn syrup will reduce your testosterone levels and screw up your fat burning abilities – not to mention your health. Dona€™t settle for lower quality foods just because they contain less calories, that will not help you to lose fat faster. We know, you probably havena€™t seen Two-A-Days in years and thought high school football was the last time you would have to deal with them. This allows you to burn more calories and therefore consume more food – which in burn will help fire up your metabolism and reduce the likelihood of going catabolic.

We know it can be difficult to make it to the gym even once per day, let alone twice, but you dona€™t need to spend too long. If you’re one of the few that are willing to go all in then you should definitely consider using a natural fat burner. As a result you will be able to eat more foods, which in turn will help maintain muscle mass and keep you feeling full. Fortunately, there are some solid fat burning products out there that can help you with this.
Make sure you are using a high-quality product or you will only shoot yourself in the food and short-circuit your fat loss progress.
The use of fat burner will not be beneficial if you are 40% fat and do not exercise or think about your diet at all, also if you use a fat burner with ineffective ingredients you are wasting your money, but if you are already working hard, a legit fat burner will be a great addition to a well balanced diet.
Before you buy a fat burner make sure it contains these key ingredients found in our ultimate guide to getting shredded. However, adding them has been shown to truly maximize fat burning potential, make a a€?gooda€? cut into a a€?greata€? one and help you lose fat faster! The reason they fail is that they lack discipline and dona€™t see the type of progress they want quickly. It may seem counter-intuitive to eat at maintenance calories for an entire week when youa€™ve been making good progress.
We will touch on four critical components of fat-loss and muscle maintenance to get you closer to the body of your dreams.
Eat at a Moderate Caloric Deficit Based on Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) To Lose Fat. However, it is important to understand that caloric restriction should be done in moderation if you want to prevent losing muscle mass in the process. The analysis of these studies indicates that very-low-calorie diets provide rapid weight-loss, but also contribute to a substantial loss in fat-free mass (basically everything in your body that isn’t fat).
Well, an increase in muscle mass has been shown to increase your resting metabolic rate (RMR). To figure out what your TDEE is, you can refer to my previous post (part 1 of 3) to calculate how many calories you need for maintenance and how many calories to consume to lose weight. This is one example: Effect of Two Different Weight-Loss Rates on Body Composition and Strength and Power-Related Performance in Elite Athletes. Protein-intake should be scaled toward the higher ends when severity of caloric-restriction and intensity of exercise is increased. Although the second study recommends a smaller range than the first, I, personally, hover around 1g of protein per pound of lean body weight. This can be scaled upward depending on degree of caloric-restriction and exercise intensity. When you add resistance training to that combo, there’s a good chance you’ll maintain more muscle mass than if you didn’t do any type of strength training. This study assesses the impact of weight training on weight-loss and maintenance of lean body mass in calorie-restricted diets. Aerobic Training Combined With An 800 Calorie Liquid Diet on Lean Body Mass and Resting Metabolic Rate illustrates similar findings. You should aim to either maintain or increase your strength, though the latter may be quite difficult when eating in a caloric deficit. It can negatively alter your mood, induce fatigue and lack of motivation, and impact your performance. I cut them even shorter to 20-25 minutes when I’m doing high intensity interval training (HIIT) because it’s more taxing on the body.
I will sometimes push that to 4-5 times per week depending on energy levels, but those additional sessions are performed at relatively low intensities (such as walking at an incline and hiking at a slow and steady pace). Some would argue that it’s best to do less or none at all, but I actually enjoy cardio and want to stay conditioned year-round.
These are four fundamental concepts that one should understand if your goal is to lose fat and maintain muscle mass.
There will be a bit of basic math, and it may get confusing, so grab a pencil and some paper. The reason why we should focus on protein first is outlined in How to Lose Fat and Maintain Muscle Mass. If you are overweight or obese, it’s a better idea to consume 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass. Because 1g of protein contains four calories, then 105g of protein equals 420 calories (105 x 4). For accelerated fat-loss or those who are already lean and training intensely, you may benefit by consuming about 35% of calories in protein because it has been shown to be the most satiating of all macronutrients, which can be helpful when you’re in a calorie-restricted diet to keep you feeling fuller. A good starting point is to target a range between 20-25% of your calories coming from fats. While protein requirements can stay pretty stable, carbohydrate and fat intake are often the most manipulated substrates in contributions to a bodybuilding diet depending on your goals, training volume and intensity, and the body’s response to them. It is key to test what works best for your body and lifestyle as individual circumstances and needs can vary greatly. Or maybe you are new to cutting fat and want to make sure you get it right the first time around. Generally speaking when two people start a fat loss program at the same time, all other factors being equal, the one on a full-body routine will lose more fatA faster. Also, it means you will be working the larger muscle groups like legs, glutes and back more than once per week. This isna€™t a heck of a lot of calories and you likely arena€™t consuming as many nutrients as you need. All of a sudden you find yourself going catabolic and losing no fat – or even gaining fat! You see, consuming a lot of protein will help you maintain your muscle mass, preventing your body from going catabolic. This is crucial to being able to eat more while on your cut, thereby avoiding that negative thyroid response. Additionally, your body is probably getting used to the types of food youa€™ve been feeding it over the preceding weeks so this change of pace is a great way to shock your metabolism into a higher gear which will allow you to lose fat fast. Whether you are looking to put on mass or lose fat, you want to avoid the types of foods that will impact your hormones the wrong way. Instead, consume healthy foods like sweet potatoes and blueberries which will actually help you burn more calories.
While they may help you hit your macro goals in the short-run they will only hurt you in the long-run. Unfortunately they are back with a vengeance – but this time you might not be so closed off to them when you find out what they can do for you. A simple 20 minute cardio session as a 2nd workout will do wonders for you and help you lose fatA faster.
However, getting all of the nutrients you need can be difficult particularly on a calorie-restricted diet. You will want to look for one that contains all-natural ingredients that are proven to boost metabolism and encourage fat loss. Fortunately for you guys, by following the tips wea€™ve laid out in this article you will be well on your way to making great progress quickly – just as long as you can stick to it.
Not to mention it will reduce the likelihood of going catabolic and losing those sweet gains you worked so hard for. The goal is to accomplish fat-loss without damaging your metabolism and sacrificing muscle.

If you have medical, hormonal, or gut issues, you should seek guidance from a physician before embarking on a fat-loss journey. Loss of muscle mass was positively correlated with increased levels of caloric restriction and exercise. This basically means you need to eat more to maintain the hard-earned muscles you’ve spent countless hours building. I’d recommend starting at a 20% deficit and monitoring changes in body composition and strength.
2.2lbs) per week in athletes eating roughly 2,500 calories per day demonstrated that a slower weight-loss program had more positive effects on lean body mass and performance than the faster weight-loss intervention.
You need to be keenly aware of moderating your protein-intake when you’re trying to maintain lean muscle mass on a fat-loss journey. If you’ve been weight training properly for over a year, the more realistic goal is to maintain muscle mass rather than to increase it during a cutting phase.
Alternatively, an increase in fat-intake can work as well. Whether you should go higher in protein or fat will depend on how your body best adapts to specific elevated levels of substrates (carbs, fats, proteins). Protein intakes at the lower ranges of the scale may be sufficient for those who don’t engage in as much physical activity or who have less muscle tissue to preserve.
This study focuses on a comparison between resistance and aerobic training during a calorie-restricted diet.
The results were that the C+D group lost a significant amount of lean muscle mass, while there was no decrease in the R+D group. This last piece of the puzzle is not a critical component of fat-loss, but it is worth a brief discussion for its potential impact on fat and muscle loss. Yes, you will expend more energy or calories, but if you are pounding away on the treadmill for hours and hours per week, you may actually create a larger than desired caloric deficit. When you are in a caloric-deficit, your body is already undergoing a tremendous amount of stress. HIIT is proven to be more effective than steady-state cardio for fat-loss and preserving muscle mass. When you’re ready to be incredibly dialed into your nutrition and improve your body composition, you’ll also want to be in tune with your macronutrient breakdown.
Write down your numbers, and you’ll be well on your way to understanding and utilizing a highly effective method for fat-loss. To determine the protein percentage of my total caloric target for weight loss, I simply take the 420 calories and divide by my calorie goal of 1,450, which equals to about 29%. Protein is also the most expensive substrate to metabolize, meaning it has the highest thermic effect of all macronutrients.
Keep in mind that is a lot of genetic variation with each individual, so some could benefit with more or less. If I know my total calorie goal is 1,450, then my remaining calories left should be 670 (1,450 – 780). I am in the process of testing a high fat diet so my numbers will vary quite a bit depending on what I’m testing.
Play around with your calorie-intake and macronutrient breakdown and hone in on what’s effective for you and not the person next to you at the gym. As a result, we recommend adding some intensity to your workouts and doing more cardio so you can boost your BMR closer to 2300.
Second, you want to use the suggestions from the previous tip and use cardio and more intense workouts to boost your BMR, thereby allowing you to consume more calories. Additionally, consuming lots of protein will help keep your testosterone levels up and force your body to work harder to process these calories. The funny thing is that most people have the knowledge to go out there and do what needs to be done in order to shed that fat.
After all, you are going through a ton of trouble to consume high quality nutrients so why not make sure you are doing the same with your fat burner? This will make sure your thyroid doesna€™t go haywire and your testosterone levels dona€™t plummet.
When you reduce calories and increase physical exercise too severely, there is a good chance you will lose muscle as well. Maintaining and building muscle are what gives you that “toned” look that many people seek to attain. If you’re not overweight or obese, you should be targeting about 1-2 pounds per week, depending on your weight.
Slower rate (SR) weight-loss was defined as an energy intake that was reduced by roughly 19%, whereas fast rate (FR) weight-loss was set at around 30% of calories per day.
There have been multiple studies proving that an elevated protein-intake well above the RDA is necessary to keep as much of your lean body weight as possible. The latter becomes close to impossible when you’ve got years of proper training under your belt. For the normal person who isn’t a competitive bodybuilder, eating at such high levels of protein is unnecessary and hasn’t proved to be exceptionally beneficial.
This shows that intensive, high-volume resistance training programs can result in the preservation of lean muscle mass. It is also often used excessively by dieters, which can actually harm you more than it can help and can encourage the skinny-fat look.
When you tack on hour-long cardio sessions multiple times per week, you’re just piling on more stress that your body doesn’t have the energy to recover from. If you want to know why HIIT is so good for you, here are 4 Reasons Why You Should Be Doing HIIT.
Your body will use a larger percentage of the calories to digest and absorb the protein relative to carbohydrates and fats.
From here, you can modify the distribution according to how you feel and perform in the gym and how your body responds to this combination. These tips aim to put you on the right path to figuring that out so you can get shredded as soon as possible.
You can’t actually “tone” muscles, which is why the term is quoted here, but I’ve included it as it’s widely used by a portion of the general population who want a more sculpted physique.
What’s interesting is that the SR group was observed to have significantly improved lean body mass and performance, while the FR group demonstrated no significant increase in either. The last thing you want to do is unintentionally reduce your metabolic rate and wreck your metabolism.
Overtraining kicks in when there’s an imbalance between stress and stress tolerance, exercise and exercise capacity, and training and recovery. This is the split that Arnold Schwarzenegger used in his career in bodybuilding as mentioned in Arnold Schwarzenegger Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding. Feel free to scale to 25%, but if you do, you need to ensure you can at least maintain your strength. I recommend this book for anyone interested in fat-loss, muscle building, and ultimately improving body composition.
Thus, if you develop a large number of fat cells in early childhood, you will probably struggle with weight all your life.

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