Lose fat while maintaining muscle | the full guide
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Ever wondered how to lose fat while maintaining muscle? Want to get rid of that nasty belly fat you gained over the winter? This guide will show you how to lose fat and maintain muscle and in some cases even build muscle. The principles are very simple but do require a little bit of effort. This guide consists of two main parts: Diet and exercise. Both are equally important to achieve your goals.
Health benefits of losing fat
Research has shown that people with higher body fat percentages have raised levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides while also having lowered HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. Increased body fat percentages impairs the body’s responsiveness to insulin, raising blood sugar and insulin levels. In the long term, this can lead to type II diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
In addition to that, body fat percentage has been shown to be inversely correlated with testosterone levels. In other words: males with higher body fat percentages have lower testosterone, which in itself can lead to a range of negative symptoms. Therefore losing excess body fat while maintaining lean muscle mass is important to getting healthier.
Diet is the most important part of the equation. No one can out-exercise a bad diet. My favorite diet is the If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) diet. In the IIFYM approach, you calculate your today daily energy expenditure (TDEE), subtract 500 kcal from that number and use that as your daily calorie goal. For example, if you’re an 80 kg (176 lbs) male who works out 3 times a week, your TDEE would be 2482 kcal/day. Substracting 500kcal from this gives 1982 kcal/day to lose weight.
You then aim for a specific protein goal and fill in the rest of the calories with carbohydrates and fats as you see fit. Aim for 2 – 2.2 g x bodyweight in KG of protein a day (or 0.9 – 1.1 g x bodyweight in Lbs of protein a day). This will result in you losing fat and maintaining or sometimes even building muscle. If needed, supplement with protein powder to meet your daily goal. To track your daily food intake you use a food scale and a food tracking app like myfitnesspal or cronometer. This approach results in a lot of flexibility for the dieter but requires some effort.
Once you have your diet in check, the next step is looking at an exercise routine. Having a well-structured exercise routine can help to keep you on track in addition to being a lot of fun! Good exercise routines are stronglifts, starting strength and GZCLP. These routines focus on compound lifts like the squat, bench press, deadlift, and the overhead press. Compounds movements recruit the most muscles during the exercise and have the biggest overloading potential.
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