We are so focused on shredding fat and building six-pack that we forget that we lose muscle mass as well. This is the worst nightmare of anyone who is spent significant time building muscles.
To understand how preserving muscles while losing body fat works, it’s imperative to understand the biological motivation behind the process. When you are on a cutting cycle, this is the period of reduced caloric intake. The body has to compensate for this lack of energy somehow. And so, it breaks down fat in adipose tissues and proteins present in muscle tissues for synthesizing glucose.
If there is enough protein in the bloodstream, the body won’t use the muscle tissues for these proteins. This means the body must receive a sufficient supply of protein through diet during cutting.
Ideally, take 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of the body weight each day and spread throughout the meals. When your bloodstream has protein in the bloodstream, it won’t bother the hard-earned muscle tissues.
Another concept to understand is homeostasis. It is the tendency of the body for maintaining a steady state. The human body likes things just the way they. It doesn’t want to lose or gain weight. This dynamic state is maintained by certain biological mechanisms. so your body will either be in a catabolic state or anabolic state.
An anabolic state is when you gain weight, you gain muscles and fat, the catabolic state is when you lose weight, you lose muscle and fat. These two phenomena are inevitable which is why the body is used it.
It is possible to minimize the unwanted effects of losing muscles or gaining fat by deviating from homeostasis slightly. In other words, you are to gain weight slowly and lose weight slowly otherwise you will either end up gaining extra fat or losing extra muscle.
How fast a person can lose weight depends on the body. Each individual’s body responds differently. As a general rule of thumb, if you lose more than two pounds per week, it will result in significant muscle loss. The right thing to do would be to aim at losing 1.5 pounds per week so that you are able to retain muscles as well. The slower you go, the fewer muscles you will lose.
The next thing to ensure is you are consuming a limited amount of calories, which should be based on your BMR. Keep track of your weight and adjust the calorie consumption accordingly. If you are not losing weight fast enough, you must reduce the calories by 5 to 10 percent. On the other hand, if you are losing weight quickly, then you can increase your calories by 5 to 10 percent. Never change your caloric intake rapidly. Always start with minor adjustments by staying in the bracket of 5 to 10.
By now, you might have an idea of how many calories your body really needs for achieving the weight you desire. Once you have mastered that, the next step is to ensure that you get calories from the right sources.
When it comes to fat, that should come from quality sources like peanuts, flax seeds, fish oil, etc. The rest of the calories must come from carbs. Carbohydrates will help you train faster, maintain energy and help recover faster. Carbs should be taken with meals in the following order:
Before the workout
After the workout
It will take you some time to realize how important carbs are when you are exercising. They help your body keep up with the wear and tears.
Okay, another thing to cut from your lifestyle is sugary and processed food. Instead choose foods like whole-grain bread, rice, oatmeal, yams, veggies, potatoes, etc.
When you go on a low-calorie diet, you will realize that your body has started to crave certain foods. You might as well less energetic. On days like this, you might have to perform a re-feed. It is the phenomenon of increasing your carbs intake, reducing fat and protein intake. The main focus of re-feed is carbs.
This will allow the body to reset, give you a boost of energy and improve your mental satisfaction. Keep on studying your body and see how it responds to calories. But this does not mean that you can cheat. Re-feed can be done once a week only. Make sure you consume carbs from the best sources.
In order to preserve the muscles, two types of exercises are recommended – weight training and cardio. Let’s check them out:
It is the type of exercise that sends the message to the body to build muscles. Keep in mind, you will be building muscles on low calories, which means your muscle tissues are less likely to break down. Stick to the routine that helps you gain muscles too.
Keep your weight lifting brief for them to be effective and more focused. Don’t work out your body. Watch out for the signs your body keeps presenting subtly. While you are at it, make sure you are getting 8 hours of sleep.
When it comes to losing fat, cardio is the way to go. If you are able to burn calories with cardio, you can eat the same amount of calories.
High-intensity interval training is one of the best types of cardio. You can also walk on the treadmill at a steep incline. This type of exercise will be a great addition to your overall health.
As you follow this guide to preserve your muscles while cutting, make sure you stay hydrated. Water is not just good for your organs but it helps flush out toxins from the body.
Get your supply of proteins, carbs, and fat from a variety of foods. Don’t stick to one type of diet or food otherwise, you will get bored soon and lose motivation.
Stay in touch with your gym instructor in case you need help. It would be great to have an accountability partner to stay on top of your goals.