One might consider this the "Holy Grail" in regards to Physique Training, Fitness. For that matter, even the average joe just trying to look good in a bathing suit seeks this as well. What is it??? Lose fat while gaining muscle mass!
One of the hardest things for people to do is lose weight while maintaining muscle mass, let alone building it. Although it is most certainly challenging, success can be achieved and most of the failure is self-inflicted! Here are Three VITAL Steps to focus on in order to burn fat while building or maintaining muscle mass:
Avoid Drastic Calorie Cuts!!
Limit Cardiovascular Activity & Prioritize Resistance Training
Protein Protein Protein… protein reigns supreme and should be your main focal point
BE CAREFUL ALL YOU CALORIE CUTTERS!!
Well first, and most simply stated, our bodies are efficient and they can adapt to nearly anything... when you drop your calories down to 1000 per day (a drastic cut), your metabolic rate will adjust more quickly than one might think. The drastic cut will create a catabolic (breakdown) state as well thus resulting in more muscle loss. Therefore, it is more important to focus on body composition rather than overall bodyweight. For that reason operating at a slightly lower calorie deficit will not only allow you to burn fat for a longer duration but it will also allow you to preserve more muscle mass. You will have better aesthetics and you will certainly feel better.
I usually suggest, as well as many others, that a 500 calorie daily deficit is what you should be operating at if your goal is fat loss and weight loss.
RESISTANCE TRAINING > Cardiovascular Training
The most important form of training is resistance training, not cardiovascular training. When someone diets and performs a decent amount of cardiovascular training muscle loss is bound to happen (FACTS). It often can happen at more rapid rates than the fat loss. However, if that same individual is maintaining a calorie neutral position, meaning that they are not in a deficit nor in an surplus, cardiovascular activity will be less likely to result in a reduction of muscle mass; that is, unless the amount of cardiovascular training is too frequent and too intense. Cardiovascular training is a catabolic activity that results in breakdown and when coupled with a drastic caloric deficit you are unlikely to burn a lot of #fat and likely to reduce muscle mass. On the flipside, performing only a few days of cardiovascular activity while maintaining a slightly reduced caloric state, but still emphasizing resistance training, will result in fat loss with minimal muscle loss.
The key to burning fat, losing weight, and keeping muscle on is… perform resistance training 5-6 days per week while maintaining a high protein intake during a caloric deficit.
PROTEIN PROTEIN PROTEIN
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge proponent of an adequate daily intake of protein. In the past I used to argue that most people should be operating at a minimum of 1.6g per kilogram of body weight, regarding protein intake. However, I found that even at these levels people were not achieving their most optimal results. After doing more trial and error with my own clients, I concluded that somewhere near eating your body weight in protein per day (1:1 ratio of protein to pound of body weight) is more optimal. For some, particularly intense athletes, I even operate closer to a 1.2-1.4 g of protein per pound of body weight.
The RDA recommends a much lower amount then I do, but simply stated... they are wrong! For anyone looking to lose fat while keeping muscle it is advantageous to lean towards a high protein, low carb and high quality fat diet.
At the end of the day all nutrition and exercise plans fall back on your level of consistency and discipline towards the activities. You must also understand that every plan will have some level of personalization to it, because we do not all weigh the same nor do we have the same level of body fat. An obese individual will want to eliminate the nearly all carbohydrates from their diet while a leaner individual will want to keep carbohydrates in their diet!
Regardless of the path that you are on it is always optimal to burn fat while preserving muscle. Follow the aforementioned rules and guidelines and you will attain the physique that you are looking for.
MY CURRENT FAVORITE PROTEIN POWDERS!!