During the process of weight loss, it is unfortunate that the weight you will be shedding will include both body fat as well as muscles. But a successful weight loss should preserve your muscles as much as possible and get rid of as much body fat as possible.

Muscles are vital for losing fat as they contain mitochondria- the powerhouses of energy that burn fat. And fat loss being the healthiest way to lose weight, you need to focus on preserving your muscle mass. Follow these tips to not only lose weight but also shed that unwanted fat while preserving your beautiful muscles:

1. Consume ample amount of protein- Your total daily protein intake is vital for maintaining your muscle mass. A study has suggested that eating a sufficient amount of protein everyday aids fat loss without losing muscle mass. Even without weight training, you can lose your fat without losing muscles if you consume an ideal amount of protein daily. According to experts, that ideal amount of protein to be consumed ranges between 0.8–1.3g per pound of your body weight.

2. Follow a well-designed strength training program- A well-structured weight training regimen is important for maintaining muscle mass while shedding unwanted fat. If you lift the same amount of weight for the next two decades, your body will find no reason to build extra muscles. But if you slowly increase the weights you lift, you will find that your body will start building more muscles. Thus, the plan is to offer your body a reason to build and maintain your muscle mass.

3. Create an ideal calorie deficit- Although you need a calorie deficit to lose body fat without losing muscles, a larger calorie deficit might bring in a negative impact on your hormones that are responsible for muscle retention. It can also affect your weight training performance and recovery. Thus, maintain a moderate calorie deficit ideally between 15-25% below your maintenance level. (When your total calorie intake is equal to that of the number of calories you burn, it is called maintenance.)

4. Take diet breaks- Take a break after a couple of weeks after following weight-loss diets and increase your calorie intake so that you are at your maintenance level for a couple of weeks. Diet breaks can aid fat loss by helping you go through hormonal and metabolic adaptations.

5. Refrain from excessive amounts of cardio- Since cardio is an additional exercise, it might put you at risk of recovery issues. Strength and performance get affected when your recovery starts to suffer. So will your ability to lose fat while maintaining muscle mass. Experts recommend the least amount of cardio is ideal for maintaining muscle mass while losing fat.

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