It’s hard enough to shed weight, let alone trying to lose body fat and preserve muscle mass, but it can be done. It all starts with eating a healthy diet that contains nutritious food, plus enough protein to help build or maintain muscle mass. It should be between 0.8-1.3 grams of protein per pound of current body weight. Not only do you have to have a healthy diet, you have to have one that has a deficit of calories, but not excessively lower, to avoid shedding both fat and muscle tissue.
No matter what your diet philosophy, it all boils down to a few requirements.
When people go on a diet, they want to lose fat, not just weight. That decision means you need to cut out processed sugar, food with empty calories and improving the quality of fat consumed. It means cutting down on salt, too. One method that has helped many is intermittent fasting. It’s about limiting your food consumption to 8 hours of the day and fasting the other 16. Intermittent fasting has been shown to boost HGH—human growth hormone. It also helps improve insulin sensitivity, lower triglyceride levels, reduce inflammation and slow cell damage from free radicals. Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is also modulated with intermittent fasting.
If you want to shed pounds and maintain muscle mass, the answer is strength training. Doing exclusively cardio burns calories, but they come from both fat and muscle tissue. Strength training tends to burn more fat. Anyone that works out, knows that you can’t do a high intensity workout, particularly one with strength training, seven days a week and expect to get the results you want. You need time to recover or you’ll actually lose muscle tissue rather than gain it.
Cutting too many calories, crash dieting, puts your body in starvation mode.
Fat is harder for the body to metabolize than muscle tissue. So when you crash diet, you’ll lose muscle tissue, making weight loss even harder. Cutting calories also doesn’t provide the nutrients the body needs to heal muscle tissue. Take smaller steps. Cut back two to five hundred calories a day, so you don’t see your metabolism drop like a rock.
- It’s important to maintain muscle mass. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, so the more you have, the higher your metabolism is.
- Don’t do strength building workouts every day. Give yourself a day or two of rest between sessions so your muscles can heal.
- Eat before and after your workout to help build or maintain your muscles. It should be a balanced combination of high quality carbs and protein.
- While too much cardio is bad for maintaining muscles, you still need some to be healthy. On days between strength training, do gentle cardio, like bicycling, walking or swimming. Keep at a pace that allows you to carry on a conversation without gasping for air.
For more information, contact us today at 180 Fitness