If you’ve been working hard to get in shape yet still want to lose fat, you may have concerns that you’ll lose muscle as well. To prevent this, you can follow a few eating and fitness guidelines that will help you achieve the results you want.
You must go about losing weight safely and effectively to optimize fat loss and muscle maintenance. This is especially important if you want to maintain your fitness level, physical activity, and overall function.
With the right approach, it’s possible to lose fat while maintaining muscle mass. This article outlines how you can use an exercise and eating plan to effectively shed fat without losing muscle.
What it takes to lose fat
To lose fat, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn each day and exercise regularly. Frequent physical activity helps get rid of fat. If you lose weight without exercise, you’re more likely to lose both muscle and fat.
While it’s not possible to lose fat in particular areas of your body, you can work on lowering your overall body fat percentage.
Go slowly. Losing weight quickly may contribute to muscle loss. It’s best to lose a small amount of weight each week over a longer period.
How to maintain muscle
To keep the muscle you have while losing fat, you’ll need to strike a balance between limiting yourself and pushing yourself as much as you can.
Each person will have different results. Listen to your body, and adjust your workout and eating plan accordingly.
Schedule recovery time
Give yourself enough time to recover between workouts. This is especially important if you’re eating fewer calories and doing intense workouts. Get plenty of sleep, which helps restore your energy levels.
Avoid any type of eating plan that’s too drastic or restrictive. It will be harder to keep up with the long term.
Avoid overtraining, and stay away from any workout plan that has the potential to drain you or cause injury. Pushing yourself too hard or fast may result in missing workouts due to fatigue or injury. Remember, rest days are important.
Exercise is another important aspect of maintaining muscle mass. Research from 2018 examined the effect of calorie restriction combined with resistance, endurance, or both types of training in older adults with obesity.
The researchers found that when individuals followed an eating plan and did some type of exercise, they were able to prevent muscle loss due to calorie restriction.
Most of the eating plans consisted of 55 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent protein, and 30 percent fat. More research is needed to determine which type of exercise is most effective in preventing muscle loss.
Change up your eating plan to include healthy proteins and fewer unhealthy fat sources.