In this article, we are examining some pretty simple tips that you need in order to prevent your muscle loss while you are in a cutting phase and you’re focusing on losing fat. Building muscles does take a lot of hard work and patience. Muscle growth happens a lot more slowly than fat loss does and so it’s understandable that people are concern about this.
In reality though, it’s actually pretty simple, there is only a few basic things to keep in mind and if you follow them, then you likely won’t lose much muscle if any at all. Basically, you have the training side and you have a nutrition side.
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#1 Training aspect to lose fat and maintain muscle
So, let’s start off with the training side and the main thing here to keep in mind, if want to exercise to burn fat and maintain muscle is to just make sure that your basic weight-training approach remains the same as it was when you were trying to gain muscle. You can reduce the overall volume slightly but what you don’t want to do is make the very common mistake of switching to a lighter weight-higher rep program.
A lot of people do this thing thinking that it somehow improves fat-loss or that it brings more definition in their muscle, but this is, of course, completely false. You can’t spot-reduce fat loss from specific areas of your body and going with light-weight, high-rep sets. It isn’t doing anything other than weakening the overall stimulus of your training.
If you want to lose fat and maintain muscle then you need to continue training hard, training heavy and striving for progressive overload to make sure your body is receiving a strong enough stimulus to hold on to its existing muscle while being in a deficit. On top of that, don’t start reducing your rest time between the sets as a way to try and burn more calories.
You diet and your cardio is going to take care of the calorie burning aspect. Youρ only goal in the weight room should be to provide your body with the most powerful stimulus that you can, so that it has the proper incentive to hold on to its muscle. You do that by training with the same basic principles that you were using when you were trying to gain muscle.
#2 Nutritional side to lose fat and maintain muscle
The first issue here is to stick with a moderate calorie surplus and focus on losing fat at a gradual pace. Usually, that one to two pound per week guideline is a good overall rate for most people, unless you are significantly over-weight, in which case you can go a little bit faster than that.
Larger more aggressive calorie deficits are okay in the short term but most people won’t be able to stick to them for very long as their training performance will start to suffer, mood and energy levels will go down and your chance of losing muscle will increase as a result.
So, in most cases, I would say just go with a standard 500 calorie below maintenance deficit to start off with. Take things at the more gradual pace because that way, you will feel better, you will get better workouts, your chance of sticking to your fat loss diet will hugely increase and of course, you will be more likely to retain the majority of your muscle.
Aside from basic calorie intake, you want to make sure that you are getting a sufficient amount of daily protein and fat. Usually, this is pretty easy to do with some proper planning. So, anywhere from 0.8 to 1.0 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily, that is likely going to be enough to lose fat while maintaining muscle. If you want to be fully on the safe side then just go with 1.0 gramper pound of body weight because it’s not going to harm you. Even more, it basically guarantees that you’re getting enough protein.
When it comes to fat, you want to make sure that you are getting enough of that you testosterone levels and you mood remain elevated and a good figure for that is to get 25% of your total daily calories from fat.