Michael Hull | HealthGreatness

Many of us have a few pounds we would like to lose. Maybe some of you have been going to the gym for a few months now and have seen your body become more defined but would really like to shed some of that extra fat mass. But how do you lose weight without sacrificing muscle mass at the same time?

Weight loss concept word cloud background

Weight loss concept word cloud background

The Problem

When trying to lose weight, an energy deficit must be present. A symptom of this energy deficit is that muscle protein synthesis will slow down, inhibiting the ability of your body to retain or grow new muscle mass. When engaging in any weight loss program, it’s important to hold onto as much of your lean tissue as possible as it is very metabolically active and will aid you in your weight loss efforts.

If you are someone who is trying to lose weight quickly by cutting a lot of calories out of your diet, retaining lean mass will become extremely difficult, as those who try to lose weight at a rapid rate see greater decreases in lean mass. When calories are drastically decreased, the body starts pulling energy from all available stores and will cannibalize some of the muscle you have worked so hard for in order to accomplish this.

The Solution

In order to help preserve that muscle mass while losing fat, take the following three steps.

1 – Get Enough Protein

Protein will help you in three ways: it increases satiety (makes you feel full), it has a higher thermic effect so your body will burn more calories processing it that it would for carbs or fats, and it helps to preserve the muscle mass you already have. Your protein intake can range from 1.2 grams/kg to 2.0 grams/kg per day.

2 – Participate in Resistance Training

If you haven’t incorporated weight training into your program yet, now would be a great time to start. Resistance training will help to stimulate muscle protein synthesis which will help you keep those hard earned gains. Try to hit the weight at least 2 times a week at a minimum. If you can get three days in, all the better.

3 – Set Moderate Weight Loss Goals

Everybody wants to drop the fat fast, but doing so will sacrifice lean mass. When setting weight loss goals, be sure to set a reasonable goal. Aim for losing 1 lb. a week or less to prevent muscle mass loss. If you attempt to cut 2,000 calories out of your diet per day you will definitely see rapid weight loss but this strategy will negatively impact the ability of your body to hold onto fat-free mass.