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10 Tips To Lose Weight Without Losing Muscles

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You may reduce body fat by decreasing your daily calorie intake and exercising regularly. It is believed that to reduce only fat in the body, you may need to add some physical activities or workouts to your routine.

People skipping exercises or sitting idle throughout the day may lose muscles and fat simultaneously, irrespective of the diet plan.

Additionally, people moving fast with the weight loss process may also find it challenging to retain muscle mass. Hence, it would be best to go slow with workouts and diet to get the desired results.

Several similar tips are there that may together help you lower your body weight without losing muscle. This article lists some valuable information to enhance fat loss while decreasing muscle degradation.

lose weight without losing muscles

10 Ways To Lose Weight Without Losing Muscles

  1. Perform Aerobic Or Cardio Exercises

    It is believed that people doing basic cardio exercises with moderate to high intensity may prevent their muscle degradation while losing weight.

    Some highly preferred cardio workouts for weight loss are jumping jacks, walking, skipping, and running that are a part of high intensity workout. But, how does cardio protect against the loss of muscle mass?

    Cardio exercises enhance the heart pumping and burn sufficient calories. Several studies[1] suggest that cardio exercises could be highly useful in maintaining muscle mass.

    But, it would be best if you focus on the intensity of cardio exercises to get the best benefits and reduce excess fat. Moreover, it is believed that week-long cardio may help achieve the maximum heart rate and tone the muscles.

    Several doctors and trainers advise that you should not perform cardio exercises excessively as it may not allow you to recover from an energy-deficient state.

  2. Focus On Strength Training

    Strength and resistance training could be the two potential reasons for muscle growth. Moreover, exercises like weight lifting and working against resistance[2] may help prevent muscle mass loss.

    Strength and resistance training puts high pressure on muscles or tissues that causes micro tears or damage to the tissues due to muscle protein breakdown.

    Hence, the damaged muscles are repaired[3] by entering a muscle protein synthesis phase that may require a high protein diet to meet the protein requirements.

    As the muscle repair phase gets higher than the muscle protein breakdown, the body experiences muscular growth. Hence, by preventing excessive muscular protein breakdown, you may protect against muscle loss.

    Moreover, you should keep the exercise intensity moderate and cover all body parts in your workout routine to lower muscle degradation.

  3. Consider Carbohydrates After Workout

    You might be surprised to see carbs in the weight loss process, but carbohydrates could be the best nutrients to facilitate a healthy recovery phase.

    Carbs could be part of your post-workout diet if you are a heavy lifter or perform high-intensity workouts. After heavy strength training, the muscle fibers get damaged, hence, they require immediate energy reserves to refuel.

    A carb-rich diet post-workout could be highly beneficial for refueling[4]. As soon as you finish a heavy or high-intensity workout, the metabolism and insulin sensitivity would be at their peak, i.e., the body may easily digest carbs and instantly fuel the body.

  4. Don’t Push Too Hard

    Generally, people choose a restrictive diet like a ketogenic diet to lower their body weight. But, these diets could cause[5] muscle loss along with fat.

    Moreover, a restrictive or drastic diet plan would be challenging to follow in the long term. Similarly, it would help if you do not overtrain yourself to prevent yourself from susceptible injuries.

    Moreover, a harsh and challenging workout routine may drain your energy quickly and leave you energy-deficient leading to muscle loss.

    Sometimes forceful or excessive workouts may result[6] in missed active days due to fatigue or muscle soreness. Hence, you must consider rest days between active days to recover from stress.

  5. Consider BCAA For Maintaining Calorie Deficiency

    BCAA or branched-chain amino acids are the building blocks of protein chains. These essential amino acids could be highly useful in increasing an individual’s muscle mass.

    Deposition of branched-chain amino acids in muscles could be used as stored energy for different metabolic activities.

    Moreover, BCAA drink is a low or zero-calorie beverage that could be a potential replacement for high-calorie and heavy protein supplements.

    Hence, consuming BCAA drinks would be highly beneficial in maintaining the calorie-deficiency and preventing[7] muscle degradation in an individual.

    You may consume BCAA drinks in optimum amount before the workout session. The drinks may boost energy and help you perform better.

  6. Don’t Miss Proteins In Your Diet

    Proteins are one of the essential nutrients to consider while building muscles. Increasing protein intake may help improve the muscle mass of an individual. Therefore, consuming low-calorie protein daily in your diet is a weight loss tip that works.

    Moreover, higher protein concentration in the body could help heal the microtear of the tissues or muscles. Generally, to lose weight without affecting muscle mass, lean protein could be highly beneficial[8].

    Several studies suggest[5] that an individual must consume 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of their body weight daily to stay muscular.

    So, it would be best to increase protein-rich food like chicken, fish, etc., in your diet to get the required amount of protein.

    But, practically, getting such a considerable amount of protein from food would be difficult, hence, you may rely on protein supplements like whey protein to fulfill the remainder.

  7. Create Moderate Calorie Deficiency

    Creating calorie deficiency is essential to lower body weight. By reducing the calorie intake, you may develop a shortage of fuel, i.e., glycogen, hence, the body may use the fat reservoir as an energy source.

    But, excessive calorie deficiency may lead to the degradation of muscle protein and fat. Hence, you should consider a diet with a balanced calorie intake to lower muscle protein loss.

    You should avoid following any restrictive[9] diet as it may not be helpful in the long term. It will help if you focus on limiting the calorie intake below your daily requirements.

    Moreover, adding some muscle-building ingredients like lean protein, fibers, and healthy fats in optimum amounts may help to keep the muscle gain usual.

  8. Safe And Approved Dietary Supplements

    Dietary supplements are consumed mainly by people doing heavy or high-intensity workouts. These nutritional supplements may help them build strong and dense muscles.

    Moreover, the supplements contain added nutrients in optimum amounts to feed the body properly. Generally, multiple dietary supplements like protein shakes, BCAA drinks, etc., are available in the market.

    But, all the supplements aren’t safe and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), hence, you must consult a doctor or dietitian before adding any dietary supplement.

    These dietary supplements may prevent muscle protein loss and enhance growth. The nutritional drinks[10] may instantly boost energy; hence mostly consumed before workout sessions.

    Additionally, it may help reduce fatigue and muscle soreness post-workout.

  9. Sleep Sufficient Hours A Day

    Sleep is one of the best remedies to recover from workout stress. Whenever you are training your body heavily, you may be putting the body under tremendous pressure.

    Hence, the body needs sufficient time to recover[11] from damages and injuries during workouts. It is believed that the human body secretes the highest level of growth hormone during the night.

    Moreover, the level peaks during the deepest sleep hours, hence, the growth is highest during the period. Therefore, you should at least get 8 hours of sleep throughout the day to allow your muscles to relax and rebuild evenly.

  10. Do Not Expect Heavy Weight Loss

    One of the biggest mistakes people often make is expecting to lose excessive weight in a short span. The expectation leads to overdoing things like dieting, training, etc., which may harm the overall growth.

    Several studies suggest that people expecting to lose weight without losing muscles should consider losing 1 or 2 pounds per week.

    The above range of weight loss is safe for an individual as it won’t require a forceful reduction of calorie intake. Moreover, you may achieve the goal by reducing 500 calories from the daily amount needed.

Fat Loss Mechanism

Generally, fat molecules are the stored form of energy. Whenever an individual consumes excess calories, the body automatically shifts the fat molecules to an energy reservoir for later usage and uses glycogen for present metabolic activities.

People looking to lower fat in their bodies should focus on reducing their calorie intake. Minimizing the calorie intake may create a calorie deficit or scarcity of glycogen, hence, the body will use the stored or remaining glycogen.

Once the glycogen store depletes, the body will immediately shift toward fat as its energy source.

What Happens During Calorie Deficiency?

During low-calorie intake, the body enters a calorie deficiency condition that forces the body to change its fuel. After the body enters calorie deficiency, multiple hormones are released toward the liver to restore energy.

The energy restoration begins with glycogenolysis, which breaks the remaining glycogen into glucose and releases it into the bloodstream.

Next, the fat molecules will split into fatty acids and glycerol due to the action of lipase. The tissues would take the free fatty acids to use as fuel.

Further, lipoprotein lipase will facilitate the entry of fatty acids into mitochondria to convert them into energy.

Conclusion

Cutting down weight without losing muscles is a slow and challenging process. But, you may achieve the goal by implementing the tips mentioned above in your daily routine.

All the tips mentioned above are useful for growing muscle mass and balancing the degradation. But, you must consult a healthcare specialist before making changes in your lifestyle.

+11 References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Damon L. Swift, Neil M. Johannsen, Carl J. Lavie, et al. The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2014 Jan-Feb; 56(4): 441–447. Published online 2013 Oct 11. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2013.09.012
  2. Resistance training – health benefits Reviewed on: 26-08-2018 Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/resistance-training-health-benefits
  3. Joey S. J. Smeets, Astrid M. H. Horstman, Georges F. Vles, et al. Protein synthesis rates of muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage, and bone tissue in vivo in humans PLoS One. 2019; 14(11): e0224745. Published online 2019 Nov 7. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224745
  4. Alan Albert Aragon and Brad Jon Schoenfeld Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013; 10: 5.Published online 2013 Jan 29. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-5
  5. Edda Cava, Nai Chien Yeat, and Bettina Mittendorfer Preserving Healthy Muscle during Weight Loss Adv Nutr. 2017 May; 8(3): 511–519.
    Published online 2017 May 5. doi: 10.3945/an.116.014506
  6. Gregory C. Bogdanis Effects of Physical Activity and Inactivity on Muscle Fatigue Front Physiol. 2012; 3: 142. Published online 2012 May 18. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2012.00142
  7. Wesley David Dudgeon, Elizabeth Page Kelley, Timothy Paul Scheett In a single-blind, matched group design: branched-chain amino acid supplementation and resistance training maintains lean body mass during a caloric restricted diet J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 Jan 5;13:1. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0112-9. eCollection 2016. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26733764/
  8. Heather J Leidy, Peter M Clifton, Arne Astrup, et al. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun;101(6):1320S-1329S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.084038. Epub 2015 Apr 29. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25926512/
  9. Chrysi Koliaki, Theodoros Spinos, Μarianna Spinou, et al. Defining the Optimal Dietary Approach for Safe, Effective and Sustainable Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults Healthcare (Basel). 2018 Sep; 6(3): 73. Published online 2018 Jun 28. doi: 10.3390/healthcare6030073
  10. Trisha A. VanDusseldorp, Kurt A. Escobar, Kelly E. Johnson, et al. Effect of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation on Recovery Following Acute Eccentric Exercise Nutrients. 2018 Oct; 10(10): 1389.Published online 2018 Oct 1. doi: 10.3390/nu10101389
  11. Vladyslav V Vyazovskiy Sleep, recovery, and metaregulation: explaining the benefits of sleep Nat Sci Sleep. 2015; 7: 171–184. Published online 2015 Dec 17. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S54036

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