Almost everybody knows that in order to lose weight you need to eat less or move more. In theory, this sounds good but when people actually try it, their results are not that great.
What happens when people go on a weight loss diet? They lose weight on the scale but after losing some weight, they don’t look very impressive. The reason for this is that WEIGHT LOSS does not necessarily mean FAT LOSS
Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss
When we focus on only weight loss, the number on the scale may go down but not all of the weight is going to be fat. The end result will be that we will simply end up looking smaller versions of ourselves, but not much leaner. This is known as the Skinny Fat Body Type.
Our Total Body Weight = Lean Body Mass (LBM) + Fat Mass
Lean Body Mass (LBM) or Fat-Free Mass (FFM) includes all the components in the body that are not body fat (muscle, bones, blood, organs etc.).
Fat Mass is the total weight of the body fat in a person’s body.
For example, If a person’s total body weight is 200lbs/90KGs, and his/her body fat % is 20%, then the total fat mass will be 40lbs/18Kgs and the LBM will be 160lbs/72Kgs (the difference).
Weight Loss = Losing total body weight
Fat Loss = Losing losing fat mass while maintaining LBM
Our goal should always be to maximize Fat Loss and Build/Maintain Muscle. Beginners can also gain a significant amount of muscle while losing fat.
This phenomenon is known as Body Recomposition. If someone loses fat and gains muscle, his/her body composition has improved.
You can have 2 people who weigh the same but they look completely different. This is because muscle tissue is a lot denser than fat tissue. The more muscle you have, the leaner you look, even at the same body weight.
How to Lose Fat and Not Muscle Mass?
There are 3 things that will help you maintain muscle mass while losing fat. If You’re a beginner, you can also gain muscle while losing fat.
#1 Lose Weight Slowly
Unless you have hundreds of pounds to lose, you should not lose more than 1% of your bodyweight per week. As you get leaner, you might have to slow down the rate of weight loss, closer to about 0.5% of bodyweight. This means that a 200-pound person will ideally lose about 1-2 lbs per week.
To do this you will have to create a small deficit. A lot of people go on crash diets, which are not sustainable. They may help you lose a lot of weight fast, but as soon as you start eating again, you will gain it all back and more.
1 pound of fat has approximately 3500 calories. If you want to lose 1 pound per week, you will have to eat 500 calories (3500 calories/7 days of the week) less than you need to maintain weight. This number will change over time as you lose weight. Losing weight slowly will help preserve muscle mass. Creating a very large caloric deficit will make the body lose muscle as well.
#2 Strength Training
Strength training is the only way to improve body composition in the long-term. Strength training signals the body to put on muscle mass. Since strength training is the best way to build muscle, it is also the best way to maintain muscle while losing weight. Strength training should always be the focus of your fitness. You can participate in other forms of fitness as well but those are extra.
Best Strength Training Program?
Check out my book: Weight Loss with Strength Training.
#3 Eat Enough Protein
Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle. Dietary protein supplies the body with the Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) which can only be obtained from food. Making sure that you focus eat enough protein will prevent the body from using its own protein stores (muscle mass) for energy.
How Much Protein?
Eating about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is a good place to start for most people. If your body fat% is high, you could even get away with 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight. If you weigh 200 lbs, this is roughly 200 grams of protein.
Protein and Hunger
A bonus benefit of eating protein while dieting is that protein more satiating than carbohydrates and fats. If you get hungry, eating protein with each meal will help keep you feeling full for longer. Managing hunger is crucial while dieting.
Good Sources of Protein:
- Dairy – Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Whey & Casein
- Meat – Lean Beef, Pork etc.
- Eggs and Egg Whites
- Poultry –Chicken, Turkey etc
- Beans, Legumes, and Soy (Vegan)
Watch The Video
My Results from Doing These 3 Things
Focus on Fat Loss and not Weight Loss by
- Losing weight slowly
- Focus on Strength Training
- Eat Enough Protein.