Updated: May 5
Losing body fat and maintaining muscle can be a challenge, but with the right combination of exercise and nutrition, it is possible to achieve your goals.
Check out these 7 tips for losing body fat and maintaining muscle.
Reduce Calorie Intake
The first step in losing body fat is to reduce your calorie intake. To lose one pound of body fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume. To achieve this, you should aim to create a calorie deficit of 500-1,000 calories per day. This can be achieved through a combination of diet, exercise, and increasing daily movement.
To maintain muscle mass while losing body fat, it’s essential to consume enough protein. A general rule of thumb is to aim for 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day. This helps to preserve muscle while you are in a calorie deficit and it also helps keep you full longer, reducing the likelihood of overeating.
Resistance training is essential for maintaining muscle mass while losing body fat. Strength training also helps increase muscle mass, which can increase your metabolism, leading to more efficient fat burning. Aim to do 3-4 resistance training sessions per week gradually progressing the amount of weight lifted.
Here is a simple full body strength program you can follow at the gym:
Goblet squats - 3x6-8
Dumbbell bench press - 3x8
Dumbbell shoulder press - 3x8
Dumbbell bent row 3x8-10
Cable lat pulldown - 3x8-10
Dumbbell split squat - 3x8 each side
Dumbbell romanian deadlift - 3x8
Cable chest fly - 3x8-10
Seated cable row - 3x8-10
Bench tricep dips - 3x10
*Make sure to complete a thorough warm up before doing either of these workout. 2-3 minutes on either an assault bike, rower, or elliptical followed by a few bodyweight or resistance band movements (squats, leg swings, push ups, band pull aparts, etc.) will set you up for a successful workout. A great warm up should last around 10-15 minutes.
Cardiovascular exercise is also an effective way to burn calories and lose body fat. Incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or steady-state cardio sessions into your exercise routine. Aim for 20 minutes of moderate-to-high intensity cardio three to five times per week.
Minimize Processed Foods
Processed foods are typically high in calories. These foods can be consumed BUT should be in very small quantities. Aim for a diet rich in whole foods such as lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.
Drinking water is essential for the body to function correctly. Aim to drink around half your bodyweight in ounces per day to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated also helps to prevent overeating by creating a sense of fullness.
Tip: If you think you're feeling hungry, try drinking a glass of water first. Often times we mistake dehydration for hunger.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for overall health, but it also ensures that your body can recover from exercise and repair your muscles. Aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function at your best and optimize results.
Losing body fat and maintaining muscle is achievable through a combination of nutrition and exercise. Reducing calorie intake, consume a high protein diet, resistance training, cardiovascular exercise, avoiding processed foods, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep can help you achieve your goals. With determination and a consistent effort, you can reach your desired body composition and maintain it for a healthy lifestyle.