How to Preserve Muscle While Dieting

How to Preserve Muscle While Dieting

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How to Preserve Muscle While DietingYou’ve spent all winter packing on as much muscle as possible for the upcoming beach season. You want to hold onto that hard-earned muscle, but you’re not sure how to preserve muscle while trying to lose body-fat.

Sound familiar?

I’ve been there myself. I’ve spent countless winters bulking up trying to gain as much muscle as possible. Then, I quickly switch gears trying to shed off as much fat as possible. I ran into two problems.

Problem #1. When I was bulking, I didn’t keep track of my Macro’s.

Problem #2. When I was cutting, I didn’t keep track of my Macro’s.

Yes, I made the same mistake, TWICE!

What would end up happening when I was trying to build muscle was I would EAT TOO MUCH! I definitely packed on some muscle, but I also got FAT! So, of course, when It came time to shed off the body-fat, I wanted to get it off a fast as possible since I had a lot to get rid of.

I would rush the cutting phase way too quickly, and I would end up losing muscle in the process.

There are obviously some other factors that come into play, but the main point you need to take away from this message is you should ALWAYS TRACK YOUR MACROS! So, of course, my first suggestion obviously is:

1. Calculate Your Macros

This is a simple, but VERY effective way to know if you are taking in the CORRECT amount of food. I want to say it is as simple as calories in vs calories out, but not all calories are created equal.

To make things even more confusing, no one person is created the same as the other when it comes to estimating how many calories you need a day.

Every individual person is different and will lose weight at different a pace. Generally, I try not to lose more than 1.5 pounds per week.

Any faster and muscle will begin to be sacrificed. This is why estimating your caloric intake is so important. As I said before, remember that not all calories are the same.

If I told you that you needed to consume 2500 calories a day, but 90% of those calories were coming from alcohol and candy bars, I wouldn’t expect to yield good results from this.

You should be consuming nutrient-dense foods. You need your Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats from the right foods!

What are some good sources of protein?

Fish (salmon, tilapia, tuna), chicken breast, lean ground beef, turkey, egg/egg whites, Greek yogurt, and isolate whey protein shakes.

What are some good vegan/vegetarian protein sources?Spirulina, hemp seed, natto, lentils, tofu, chia seeds, and quinoa.

What are some good sources of complex carbohydrates?

Quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, Ezekiel bread, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, pinto beans, black beans.

I really enjoy a GOOD bowl of brown rice cereal with bananas!

What are some good sources for healthy fats?

All-natural peanut butter, all-natural almond butter, almonds, peanuts, fish oil, coconut oil, avocado, pepitas, cashews, flaxseed, olive oil, and chia seeds

OK!

Now that we’ve tackled the types of foods you should be eating, you’re probably asking yourself “How the hell do I know how much to eat?”

There are some formulas I could write down to help you factor your basal metabolic rate based on your activity level, but I’m going to make this is as easy as possible. Just click this link, and the calculator will do it for you!

2. Incorporate Strength Training

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I had to say it. There are many obvious benefits to strength training, but If you want to maintain muscle, you should probably be making sure you are still training your muscles as well.

When you don’t train your muscles, they begin to atrophy. The whole point here is to maintain muscle while losing body fat.

You want to make sure you are not over-training. Believe it or not, you don’t need to spend hours in the gym pumping iron. Typically, a 30-45-minute workout is all you need.

3. Avoid Cardio

Did you say avoid cardio?

Yes, at least in the beginning. I have made this mistake countless times!

The reason I suggest this is because it’s already difficult enough as it is trying to calculate your daily macro intake. Once you add cardio, the more calories you’re burning.

Remember, if you burn calories too quickly, you are going to start burning off all the hard-earned muscle.

My suggestion, wait until you hit a plateau, then SLOWLY start introducing the CORRECT type of cardio into your workout routine.

What’s the correct type of cardio?

Probably not what you think.

For the longest time, I used to believe jogging long distance cardio at a steady pace was the way to go. I’m here to tell you it’s not.

You are better off incorporating intervals into the mix. In fact, long distance cardio significantly raises cortisol levels (source). Cortisol is the main stress hormone responsible for weight gain.

It’s in your best interest to avoid long distance running for any type of weight loss!

4. Apply Intermittent Fasting

This is VERY IMPORTANT! Intermittent fasting works along with your hormones to help you hold onto lean muscle tissue. It raises your natural GH (growth hormone) levels, and it’s SO MUCH EASIER to incorporate into your busy schedule.

There are a couple of different ways you can use intermittent fasting. I am only going to explain one in this post if you want to learn more in-depth about intermittent fasting, check out this link.

 I personally prefer the 16-8 Method. With this method, you simply fast for 16 hours and eat for the remaining 8 hours. I usually start eating at noon and stop eating at 8 pm. Then, I wouldn’t eat again until noon the next day and so on. During the fasting period, you can consume water, tea, or black coffee. Absolutely NO SUGAR OR CARBOHYDRATES!

If you enjoyed this article and are ready to start burning fat while holding onto that hard-earned muscle, then the HealthyFITNESS Fat Loss Challenge is a great place to start!

People lose an average of 10-28 pounds in just 28 days! If you are ready to change your life around, this is your BEST OPTION.

We teach you how to tackle eating healthy and exercising correctly so that it sticks with you before and long after you finish the challenge.

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