People want to reduce their body fat for many reasons. However, some of them fear that losing fat may also mean sacrificing muscle tone. The good news is there are ways to keep the muscle mass as you lose fat. When done the right way, you can even gain more muscles as you attempt to reduce the flab. Here are important tips to note before you start your fitness journey.
Losing Fat Without Losing Muscle
Increase your protein intake
Your body needs a certain amount of protein a day to maintain muscle mass. Eating less than the ideal amount will result in muscle loss, which you do not want to happen. Women need at least 46 grams of protein a day, while men must have a minimum of 56 grams. To meet the minimum daily protein requirement, you must consume a serving of protein at every meal and snack. Good sources include poultry, lean red meat, seafood, nuts, beans, eggs, and dairy.
Replace simple carbs with fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients but low in calories. They help keep you full without taking in too much calories that will make you gain weight. They are also packed with vitamins and nutrients that can boost your overall health. It is highly recommended that you consume two to three fruit servings a day and four to six for vegetables. This means you should have a serving of fruit and vegetable for each meal.
Keep weight loss at a kilogram or less per week
500g-1kg a week is considered safe weight loss. Dropping more than that will increase your risk of muscle loss. It is recommended that you consume more than 1,200 calories a day and if you are exercising regularly, you can often consume more. You may consult a nutritionist to determine the ideal number of calories that you should consume daily to maintain muscle mass and encourage fat loss. It may be necessary to cut 500 calories off your daily consumption, but make sure that you will maximize the remaining calories by eating protein- and fiber-rich foods.
Consider taking supplements
Protein supplements are low in calories, but high in protein. You can get 15 to 30 grams from them to help you meet the recommended amount every day to maintain muscle mass. Whey protein is a perfect example because it has all the amino acids needed by your body. People who are allergic to whey can consider egg or soy protein as alternatives. Of course, there is no substitute for a healthy diet of regular food!
Limit your cardio
Cardio exercises are important in reducing body fat and of course, for improving fitness! However, you should aim to perform approximately the it to about 150 minutes per week to prevent muscle loss. It is recommended that you stay within low to moderate intensity.
Interval training is a good cardio workout as it includes strength training. This type of exercise is done in short bursts of high-intensity exercises with minimal breaks in between for recovery. It helps improve your endurance, while promoting fat loss.
Increase your weight training load
Strength training is a crucial part of maintaining muscle mass as you lose fat. Aim to lift weights during each session, and try to work every major muscle group during the week. This means targeting your core, back, arms, chest, and legs. Weight lifting, even pilates, yoga, circuit training, and isometric exercises are good examples of strength training options.
Control your calorie intake
Deprivation is a no-no when you want to lose fat healthily, while keeping your muscles. However, it is not advisable to consume more than you burn as it will only negate the effects of your hard work. You want to keep a food journal to make yourself more accountable with what you eat and drink.