How to Lose Body Fat and Preserve Muscle Mass

young man exercising

In the world of health and fitness, it is very possible to lose body fat and maintain /gain muscle mass at the same time. It’s not easy, nor is it quick -but it is possible!  It requires lots of patience, consistency, and desire. You can achieve both goals at the same time if you know the right way to go about the process.

Before we discuss this, let’s first clear something up, weight loss and fat loss are not the same. The majority of us say that we want to lose weight, but in reality, we mean that we want to lose some of the fat that our bodies have accumulated and we want to get into better shape. Since weight loss and fat loss are different, we should approach each one differently.

If your goal is to lose weight, creating a calorie deficit is the best way to achieve this. This means that the calories that you burn must be greater than the calories you are taking in. Since your weight depends on factors like a muscle, bone, water retention, and metabolism, it is also possible to lose weight with simple diuretics and body cleansing. In this situation, your body is eliminating matter that can be weighed which at the beginning, is mostly water. If you’re exercising regularly and eating the right foods for your body, you will burn enough calories to lose weight and see the numbers on the scale decreasing.

There are ways to lose body fat and preserve muscle mass. 

First, it is very important that you eat enough protein in your diet because it will help you to lose weight and preserve muscle mass. However, it is possible to eat too much protein. If on a keto diet, the excess protein could delay ketosis. On a keto diet, you’ll want to strive to eat meals that are moderate in protein, high in fat and low in carbs. The keto diet is a very effective way for your body to reach the state of Ketosis which means the body uses its fat reserves to burn calories instead of from carbs or simple sugars. If you want to preserve or gain muscle mass, you may want to consider the amount of protein in your macronutrient ratio even if you are not on the keto diet. 

If you love snacks, it’s also important to eat snacks that are low in carbs and high in protein. Shrewd Food Protein Puffs are an excellent example of a high protein, low carb, delicious, crunchy snack that is satisfying to your taste buds as well as your belly. Enjoying one single-serve bag of Shrewd Food, will give you 14 grams of protein and can keep you filled up for hours. It is a better choice than a traditional salty, high carb, low protein snack like popcorn. The fact that Shrewd Food has the dual advantage of high protein AND low carbs, makes it easier to control the urge to overeat. This in turn helps to control the number of calories you take in per day because you’re filled up for a longer period of time. In short, protein fills you up better, helps preserve your muscle mass, enhances your metabolic rate, all which help you to eat fewer calories per day.

It is also important to choose a diet that aims at eliminating fat. Your focus should be on eating lean protein either from animal or plant sources and trying to eliminate all forms of sugar, avoid sodium, and ingesting low-quality fats. You can be a vegan, follow a paleo or keto diet, or have food restrictions. You may even consider intermittent fasting as an option. There are many benefits to intermittent fasting in another blog one of which is that it’s very flexible. You can fast and eat around periods that fit your schedule and lifestyle.

If you want to burn fat and still maintain your muscle mass then strength training may be a great choice. Yoga, weight lifting, or at-home exercise bands are all different forms of strength training. This can best be described as when your muscles contract against a resisting force, as in supporting your body weight in a yoga pose! After partaking in these types of exercises, you can even burn calories while at rest! 

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is another way that we can burn more calories and has been shown to increase fat loss. This type of workout has a combination of quick bursts of high intensity with short lapses of rest, which results in burning more calories in a shorter amount of time. A fun way to try this while in quarantine if your gym isn’t open for business is by alternating a short run with walking for the same amount of time -each focusing on the time it takes for you to get back to recovery (your normal breathing pattern).

Good ole aerobic exercises are always a favorite which can help to strengthen your heart while losing fat at the same time. Some of these exercises are walking, running, dancing, jump roping, biking, and swimming. They all can be especially fun if you engage in these forms of exercise while listening to music and doing them with a friend. You’ll both be happy you did! Just try to be consistent for better and quicker results with some rest days for muscle recovery.

Try not to eliminate too many calories from your diet. While it’s important to be on a diet to create a calorie deficit, you should never have to go on a crash diet. Doing that will only starve your body which will then cause your body to burn muscle instead of fat. If you want to lower your calorie intake, maybe drinking a protein shake instead of eating a full meal will help you cut down the calories while at the same time boost your protein intake. That should stave off your hunger for a good amount of time leading to a decrease in calories consumed.

Making sure that you’re eating your fruits and veggies will help you ensure that you’re getting the right daily recommendations of vitamins and minerals while simultaneously keeping your fiber intake in check. Fiber is an important factor in weight management but also keeps your gastrointestinal tract clear. If you are clogged and haven’t had a bowel movement in a few days, you can assume that you are not getting an adequate amount of fiber in your diet. Reading labels is a great way to start counting your fiber and there are products that you can buy to help things move along when fiber intake seems to be low. Also, by eating a decent amount of fruits and veggies, you would hopefully stay away from higher calorie foods such as sweet desserts and fried foods. It is in this way that fruits and veggies are an important factor in trying to lower your calorie consumption and keeping your metabolism in check.

The important thing to realize is that there are different ways to lose body fat and maintain muscle mass. Each one of us is different with different goals. Choosing the best ways that feel right for you may take some experimentation. Finding your happy medium in diet and fitness should make you feel better about how you look and to feel your best. As always, make sure you drink enough water daily so that your muscles can be hydrated and performing at their optimum level.