How to Burn Fat without Losing Muscle
The long hours at the gym have finally paid off, and you can show off your deadlifting strength any day of the week (except for the rest day, of course). Then, the holidays sneaked up on you, and now you’re dealing with an unwanted muffin top situation, despite your best efforts to only look at the gingerbread cookies. Fear not, our enthusiastic fitness lovers, because there’s a solution even to this physique conundrum!
Focus on resistance training
It goes without saying that how your train will drastically affect your results. For starters, you need to make sure that your program is predominantly based on compound resistance movements that not only activate your entire body, but also help maintain those gains.
Lifting weights a couple of times per week should help your body produce enough of that growth hormone, testosterone, in order to keep your muscles active and preserve your current muscle mass. This is not the time to push for new PRs at the gym, since you cannot strive for progressive overload at the same time when you’re reducing your caloric intake (and fewer calories mean less energy), but maintenance is your go-to goal.
Add regular cardio
Cardiovascular exercise comes with a slew of benefits that can help you achieve your goal, but only if you strike the right balance. Too much of any type of a workout, and your body will inevitably shed both fat and muscle, since you’ll also enter a caloric deficit, which is a must for any type of weight loss.
Opt for slow and steady cardio to aid in muscle recovery, boost blood flow to your muscles, and flush out metabolic waste that naturally comes with working out. Equipment such as exercise bikes make for a great choice as you can use them both at home and at the gym, and you can use them in your HIIT workouts when you want to combine the perks of intensity and strength in those short-burst workout sessions.
Make protein your best friend
As the building block of life, protein also serves as the building block for your lovely, chiselled muscles. That said, you need to keep up with your protein intake in order to feed your muscles and make sure that you keep rebuilding that muscle tissue after every difficult workout.
Now, unless you’re a professional athlete, or you suffer from a medical condition, the rule of thumb is to go for anywhere between 0.8 to 1g of protein per pound of your bodyweight. So, when you’re evaluating your diet plan, make sure that the calories you do cut do not come from protein, as this will be the key to preserving muscle while you reduce your calories to lose fat.
Manipulate your calories
Your caloric intake does play a key role in this entire chase for a better-looking, healthier figure. You already know that in order to lose any weight whatsoever, it’s vital to calculate your maintenance calories and then reduce them by approximately 500 calories to lose weight. However, to make sure the lost pounds come from fat as much as possible, you can reduce your calories by less, for example, by 300 calories instead.
That way, the process might take longer, but the steady weight loss and ample protein combined will help you keep your gains while you watch the fat melt away as you steer clear of unhealthy carbs, processed goods, and too much fat. Swap them for healthy foods that will keep you full for longer, and all will be well!
Don’t skimp on sleep
Finally, too many fitness enthusiasts focus only on what they eat and how they train, only to neglect their sleeping habits. This may come as a surprise, but sleep does affect your ability to lose weight, and to target fat more efficiently.
To put things in perspective, sleep directly affects your hormone production, and when you’re sleep-deprived, your body is overwhelmed by the stress hormone cortisol, which can wreak havoc on your ability to produce testosterone and prevent proper muscle protein synthesis.
You can use these tips to adapt your lifestyle in order to ditch the love handles without losing all of those hard-earned gains. In fact, that is the healthiest way to lose weight, as you’ll make sure that you retain enough strength, resilience, and stamina to enjoy your life with a few tweaks to your routine.