How To Lose Weight Without Losing Muscles?
Posted on March 20 2021
ow would you answer me, if I ask you a straight question, what are the 3 things that come to your mind when you hear the word, weight loss? 1. Number on the scale getting lower 2. Eating less than usual 3. Workouts. If you said these 3 points, that’s great!
Let’s head to the next question, what are you going to reduce when you lose weight, are you saying, obviously, fat! Your answer could be wrong, think again…is it the weight of fat mass or the lean muscle mass you’ll lose when the number on the scale comes down?
This you never thought of, I guess? Your body weight comprises muscle mass, bone mass, organ weight, tissue weight, water mass and fat mass. Now think, when you say you want to lose weight, are you referring to losing fat or losing lean muscle mass? You must be getting confused…
The right way to lose weight is to lose fat while retaining muscles. How’s that possible? Won’t we lose muscle while we lose fat?
Weight loss is a tricky thing, losing body fat while gaining/maintaining muscle requires somewhat conflicting approaches.
This article outlines how you can effectively shed fat without losing muscle…While you go ahead reading this article, try to catch the highlighted words…
Since we have taken the words, fat loss and muscle loss, let’s go ahead this way…
HOW DOES FAT LOSS HAPPEN?
The basic requirement for a fat loss is a caloric deficit.
When you’re in a caloric deficit state, your body will find an alternative source of energy to burn for fuel, which primarily ends up being your stored body fat.
HOW DOES MUSCLE LOSS HAPPEN?
The first thing your body would burn while in a caloric deficit is your stored body fat. However, it turns out there’s a second source of energy available, your muscle tissue.
While you may want your body to only burn fat and not burn any muscle, the reality is that your body is not set to be picky. It will literally take energy from any source it gets. Hence, if you are running very low on calories, your body will need to take energy from your muscles, resulting in loss of muscle mass.
I hope something is made clear?...okay, the next highlighted word, what is the caloric deficit?
WHAT IS CALORIC DEFICIT?
The caloric deficit as most people think doesn’t mean eating as little as possible or trying to avoid eating. A caloric deficit occurs when you take in fewer calories than your body expends/burns off in a day.
You create a shortage in the number of calories consumed relative to the number of calories required to maintain your current body weight.
A standard way to go on a caloric deficit for weight loss is by reducing 500 calories a day from your typical 2000 calorie diet.
Here is how it goes as in the image represented.
HOW DOES CALORIC DEFICIT CONTRIBUTE TO WEIGHT LOSS?
When you are taking in fewer calories from your diet, your body will turn to itself to meet its energy needs, this is precisely the reason your body ultimately ends up converting stored fat into energy in order to compensate for the energy deficit.
If that is so, why not go for a larger calorie deficit? I know, this is exactly how you’ll thinking…
As already explained, an extremely low-calorie diet will signal your body to find energy from any available source, the 2 major sources, fat and muscles are targeted. Hence the ultimate result is losing muscle and strength.
Now, remember this mantra, limit yourself but push yourself, which I am going to explain to you in the end.
Tips to reach your goal of losing weight without losing muscle mass...
1. Your first move to muscle preserving and weight loss diet should be consuming sufficient amounts of protein daily. Working out in a calorie deficit state is associated with greater losses in lean muscle mass. Protein as a muscle fuel helps to preserve muscle mass while you are on a weight loss diet. Protein boosts your metabolism, helps keep you fuller for longer, prevent you from overeating, helps to repair, rebuild and maintain muscle tissue.
2. Avoid any type of eating plan that’s too drastic or restrictive. One who can’t forbid carbs shouldn’t try the keto diet. To optimize fat loss while maintaining muscle mass, follow a diet pattern that meets your nutritional and energy needs. As suggested by the image above, 500 calories a day is the standard daily cut back calories. Don’t omit carbs, instead choose non-refined carbs that help to boost energy levels. Vegetables being low in density and calories fills you up without the calorie count climbing too high.
1. Building or maintaining muscles requires exercise stimulus, this shouldn’t mean you should push yourself too hard which will eventually result in missing out on a workout, set fatigue and cause muscle loss. To burn fat and maintain muscle requires both aerobic and strength training. Click on our blog link Cardio Or Strength Training
While cardio is necessary for burning fat, strength training provides the necessary stimulus for building and maintaining muscle.
2. For effective fat loss, prioritize compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups over isolation exercises like leg extensions and bicep curls. Resistance training and a high protein diet increase muscle synthesis within the body. This will assure you that your muscle protein synthesis is above your levels of muscle protein breakdown during a calorie-restricted diet.
3. Focus on recovery, work on lowering your stress levels, and get enough sleep. For your information, if you are overstressed and underslept, your body will hold onto body fat. Click on our blog link Stress Leads To Weight Gain
People who follow a vegetarian diet will no doubt find it tough to meet the amino acid needs of muscles. Thanks to supplements who come to the rescue.
Taking supplements like BCAA can be an easy way to attenuate muscle loss while on a weight loss diet. BCAAs repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Supplementing them in your diet is an easy way to assure that your muscles are getting an adequate supply of the essential nutrients during a caloric deficit. They are calorie-free and will ensure that you’re still maintaining the calorie deficit necessary to get leaner.
Doing a heavy workout when on the caloric deficit will make you lose fat and cause too much muscle breakdown, as opposed to increasing muscle mass.
Don’t fall into the false myth that upping your rep range is going to signal your body to burn fat. This will also lead to excessive muscle breakdown.
The more exact calculation to determine the specific calories required to lose weight is to multiply body weight in kilograms by 29 for fat loss and by 40 for muscle gain.
Limit yourself but push yourself…means limit your calorie intake, overthinking, the intensity of your workout but push yourself through regular workout routine, push your spirits up and push yourself through consistency….
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your hard work…after all, that’s the way you feel motivated…