Summer is just around the cover, and you dread the beach body cut. It does not matter if your goal is to lose 10 pounds or 50; the downside of losing fat is that it is more likely to burn lean muscle tissue. How do I look fire on the beach while still lifting like a savage in the gym? You might be in a rush and feel you need your abs looking good as soon as possible, but you know your strength in the gym will suffer in return. Let’s go over some easy tips to keep the gains while you are cutting down.
Eat More Protein
We have covered how eating more protein helps with weight loss before, and for some, this may not come as a surprise. You might need to eat more protein — one gram of protein per body weight in pounds. If you are just starting into fitness, you can start with less and add more protein.
Protein helps to reduce appetite and help you feel more full. How does this work? Have you heard of the thermal effect of food (TEF)? The amount of energy it takes to digest the food you eat. If you eat protein, it takes more time and energy to digest. Helping you feel more full and hopefully snack less.
Protein is a significant component of your muscles. If you are looking to keep muscle mass or even add strength, protein is the building block to your muscles. A high-protein diet is an effective and safe tool for weight reduction and can prevent obesity and obesity-related diseases (moon, 2020). However, you also need to make sure you have a well-balanced diet as well
Don’t Over Do The Cardio
What is the go-to for most gym newbies when their goal is fat loss? Cardio, cardio, cardio…, and they get on a treadmill for hours. Running, cycling, and swimming are all helpful for losing fat, but you need to look at cardio as the only way to improve your overall health and body composition. Weight Training and aerobic training can be used with cardio for losing fat and increasing lean mass (muscle) in middle-aged, overweight/obese individuals for long-term health goals (Willis, 2012).
Rather than looking at cardio as a calorie-burning exercise, look at it as an overall health benefit: helping to lower blood pressure, strengthening the immune system, improving sleep, supporting mental health, regulating blood sugar, and giving your brain a boost. As you continue to do cardio, even walking, your health and lunges can work better. Of course, we all want to get slim and be fit, but living a better overall life is just as important, if not more.
You Need To Lift Weights
But cardio burns more calories than weight training, and you want to get lean faster. Why not just do cardio when it has so many benefits? Muscle burns more calories at rest. This is what muscle tone is, the amount of energy the muscles use when you are not using them. As you lift weights and strength train, your muscles will need more calories to do everyday life. So rather than running yourself for hours on the cardio machines, combine your cardio training with some strength training for optimal results.
This is also a common myth when it comes to women’s fitness. As you become stronger and build your muscles, the muscles can ‘harden’ and shape (tone). This increase in muscle mass can also improve metabolism. Lifting weights can be hard at first, as you need to learn how to do each movement correctly. But, don’t let that discourage you from the barbell. We all started with the first step.
Have A Long Term Plan
It is easy to get into a short-term goal of losing weight. However, it is just as essential to have a longer-term plan. Crash diets do not seem to work long term for most people (Joshi, 2018). If you are looking to do a super low-calorie diet, after the diet, you may find yourself with less muscle mass and regain the weight you struggled so hard to lose. This is also called yo-yo dieting.
Look at your overall health as a long-term plan. A safe weight loss goal is to lose 1-2 pounds (about 0.5kg to 1kg) a week. A few pounds of pure fat is a huge difference for most people and can make a great difference in overall health. Having a diet that you can maintain for the duration of the diet phase and having a plan for life after your diet is essential. Think of fitness as a lifestyle, not just when you need to look good for an event.
For some people counting calories can become stressful. Get an idea of what you need to eat and how the foods fit into your daily life. If you count every gram and find it stressful, relax and take a step back. Focus on getting in your protein, controlling how much food you eat, and limiting your snacking. Once you feel comfortable, then look at the calorie a little more. Taking small steps and letting yourself get used to the new can be helpful for the long road.
It may not be as much fun to say you lost 20 pounds and then went back up 5 pounds, to only lose another 10 pounds afterward, but this is how dieting works. Strategizing is an important part of success. There will be bumps along the way. Don’t let a few bad days discourage you from your long-term goals.
Make a plan and stick to it. This could be one of the more critical parts of any fat loss success story.
Log your foods (you don’t need to count every calorie, just get an idea of what you eat), let fitness become part of your everyday life, and exercise when you have time. Be reasonable and think overall health over “nutrition” over restrictions for short-term results. It is easy to look for quick results and only focus on your body weight. Remember that there is more to health than how much you weigh. Stick to the basics and use these tips to help safely accelerate your fat loss results.
Joshi, S., & Mohan, V. (2018). Pros & cons of some popular extreme weight-loss diets. The Indian journal of medical research, 148(5), 642–647. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1793_18
Moon, J., & Koh, G. (2020). Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss. Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome, 29(3), 166–173. https://doi.org/10.7570/jomes20028
Willis, L. H., Slentz, C. A., Bateman, L. A., Shields, A. T., Piner, L. W., Bales, C. W., Houmard, J. A., & Kraus, W. E. (2012). Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 113(12), 1831–1837. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.01370.2011