Advice for those who want to lose weight through fat rather than mus­cle loss.

When it comes to how to improve body com­po­si­tion and per­for­mance while diet­ing, we imme­di­ate­ly think of nutri­tion and train­ing. But it turns out there is anoth­er impor­tant fac­tor that can affect your weight loss.
Don’t self-med­icate! In our arti­cles, we col­lect the lat­est sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence and opin­ions from respect­ed health experts. But remem­ber: only a doc­tor can make a diag­no­sis and pre­scribe treat­ment.

How does sleep help you lose weight?

Sleep is an essen­tial part of our dai­ly life. It has a major effect on appetite, hunger, cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties and mood. It is impor­tant not only from the point of view of gen­er­al health, but also helps with weight loss. We pre­vi­ous­ly wrote about how the qual­i­ty and dura­tion of sleep can affect the rate of fat burn­ing, but, as it turns out, night rest also plays an impor­tant role in main­tain­ing mus­cle mass on a diet.

In one 2010 study, researchers looked at the effect of sleep depri­va­tion on body com­po­si­tion changes in peo­ple in a calo­rie deficit (i.e., on a weight-loss diet). Par­tic­i­pants in one group inten­tion­al­ly slept less than nor­mal (5.5 hours of sleep each night), while oth­ers main­tained a healthy sleep sched­ule (8.5 hours each night). After the end of the study peri­od, weight loss in both groups was the same, but the body com­po­si­tion of the sub­jects was sig­nif­i­cant­ly dif­fer­ent. The researchers found that the sleep-defi­cient group (who slept 5.5 hours each night) had sig­nif­i­cant­ly greater weight loss through mus­cle mass than the group who slept 8.5 hours each night.

There are sev­er­al caveats to this study and many oth­er stud­ies exam­in­ing the effects of sleep. Most peo­ple are unable to adhere to sleep restric­tion for months on end, so the results of most of these stud­ies are short-term. In addi­tion, stud­ies of sleep in rela­tion to body com­po­si­tion mea­sures have been con­duct­ed in either elite-lev­el ath­letes or seden­tary indi­vid­u­als. Lit­tle research has been done on reg­u­lar peo­ple doing strength train­ing, so these results should be tak­en with some cau­tion.

How­ev­er, it’s safe to say that max­i­miz­ing the amount of sleep you get every night for the rest of your life is a great idea. More­over, dur­ing those peri­ods when you adhere to a hypocaloric diet for weight loss. There­fore, the rec­om­men­da­tion in this regard is extreme­ly sim­ple: try to pri­or­i­tize 7–8 hours of sleep every night. Some stud­ies sug­gest that extend­ing sleep by 1 to 2 hours may pro­vide greater ben­e­fits, espe­cial­ly for train­ing and ath­let­ic per­for­mance. Sci­en­tists also believe that once you devel­op a sleep hygiene rou­tine, you’ll find it eas­i­er to fall asleep and main­tain healthy sleep habits.

Why do you lose muscle and not fat?

In the process of los­ing weight, few peo­ple think that mus­cle mass can also go away along with weight. And this is easy to explain: almost no one knows that when los­ing weight, the body first burns mus­cle and only then fat.

And this seems com­plete­ly illog­i­cal: fat reserves are need­ed to be spent. So why does the body get rid of mus­cles that per­form an impor­tant func­tion? It’s sim­ple: the body has no goal of pre­serv­ing mus­cle, because it does­n’t real­ly need it. At least to the extent that you need.

The fact is that a calo­rie deficit is stress­ful for the body. When a per­son is stressed, the body turns on its pro­tec­tive func­tions. The body switch­es to ener­gy sav­ing mode, begins to save on every­thing and get rid of unnec­es­sary things. But mod­ern man doesn’t real­ly need mus­cles! We move lit­tle, we don’t get food using phys­i­cal strength, so we need min­i­mal mus­cle mass. So the brain gets rid of unnec­es­sary things.

But on the con­trary, he needs fat: it is unknown how long the hunger strike will last. What if it takes a long time? There­fore, it is impor­tant to pre­serve fat reserves for as long as pos­si­ble to sur­vive lean times. And nat­u­ral­ly, we don’t like this approach, because every­one wants to burn fat and pre­serve mus­cle. But you can work with this, the main thing is to know a few sub­tleties about how our body works.

How to lose fat but maintain muscle?

We have some tips to help you lose weight with­out los­ing mus­cle.

Power loads

It is believed that the best way to burn fat and main­tain mus­cle at the same time is car­dio. Like, go ahead, go ahead, and the fat will burn. Those who are espe­cial­ly advanced are told about dif­fer­ent load zones in car­dio and are told that they need to mon­i­tor their heart rate for bet­ter fat burn­ing.

We don’t argue that car­dio helps you get rid of fat, but strength train­ing will cope with this task just as well, only at the same time it will allow you to main­tain and even increase mus­cle mass. And this is not a joke: the best way to main­tain mus­cle while los­ing weight is strength sports.

Avoiding classic diets

This is the sec­ond impor­tant step in main­tain­ing mus­cle while los­ing weight. Let your body not feel stress. It’s already dif­fi­cult for him because of sports, don’t trau­ma­tize him even more with a strict diet. Start small: add more veg­eta­bles and cere­als to your diet. Then reduce the amount of fried food, start reduc­ing the amount of fast food in your life.

And only after a few weeks (and some­times months) of train­ing, start count­ing calo­ries, but do not push your­self into strict lim­its. A deficit of 300–400 calo­ries will be enough. The fat will begin to go away, but the mus­cles will remain.

The right diet

It should have enough pro­teins and car­bo­hy­drates. The lat­ter have a bad rep­u­ta­tion, but they are vital for build­ing mus­cle.

It turns out that in order to main­tain mus­cle while los­ing weight, you will need:

  • engage in strength sports;
  • reduce the amount of junk food;
  • ensure nor­mal intake of pro­teins and car­bo­hy­drates.

These are gen­er­al rules. But there are sev­er­al more spe­cif­ic ones.

Testosterone level

First, you need to find out how much testos­terone you have. Don’t be afraid of low val­ues. This is nor­mal for over­weight peo­ple. How­ev­er, spe­cial­ist advice will be required. If the amount of testos­terone is with­in nor­mal lim­its for your weight, then sim­ply start doing more heavy sports, focus­ing on large mus­cle groups. This gives the most testos­terone!

If there are prob­lems with the lev­el of the male hor­mone, then the ques­tion of how to lose weight but main­tain mus­cle moves to the med­ical plane. Con­sult a spe­cial­ist.

Drinking regime

The next piece of advice is banal: start drink­ing more. Water speeds up your metab­o­lism (good for weight loss), but your mus­cles also need it (they are 70% water).

Still won­der­ing how to main­tain mus­cle while los­ing weight as a man? There are a few more ways, but you should­n’t touch on them unless you’re a prac­tic­ing ath­lete. They are rel­e­vant for those who want to keep their mus­cles lean and are will­ing to put up with pos­si­ble health prob­lems. And we don’t approve of this.

And in the end: don’t even look for ways to pre­serve mus­cles with­out train­ing. It’s prac­ti­cal­ly impos­si­ble. Excep­tion: you have heavy phys­i­cal labor. But in this case, the ques­tion aris­es: how did you man­age to gain weight?

How do you know if you’re losing fat and not muscle?

The eas­i­est way to tell if you’re los­ing fat is to step on a scale that mea­sures your body com­po­si­tion. Are there any of these in your arse­nal? It’s okay, there are a cou­ple more ways:

  • Keep an eye on the vol­umes. Fat is much more volu­mi­nous than mus­cle, so if the kilo­grams fly away and there is almost no vol­ume, you are los­ing mus­cle tis­sue;
  • Touch your­self. A per­son with­out mus­cles is flab­by and soft. There­fore, if you do not feel hard mus­cles under the folds of fat, you should think about the effec­tive­ness of your train­ing;
  • Strength indi­ca­tors are not grow­ing. Begin­ners expe­ri­ence explo­sive growth in strength, but if you don’t have this, think about it: per­haps your mus­cles are start­ing to slow­ly degrade.

In gen­er­al, it is enough to mon­i­tor only this in order to notice that some­thing is wrong in time. And if you work out with a com­pe­tent train­er, you don’t even have to watch. He will see every­thing much ear­li­er than you and will adjust the train­ing pro­gram. How­ev­er, you shouldn’t let your guard down: your body is your area of ​​respon­si­bil­i­ty.

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