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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

4 Tips for Retaining Maximum Muscle Mass Whilst Shredding Fat

Burning fat can be a challenge on its own, however when the objective is  to simultaneously prevent muscle loss the process can become increasingly difficult. Not only from a physical perspective of wanting to lose weight, but the thought of having your hard-earned muscle waste away is a thought that can cause anxiety and paranoia in extremely dedicated individuals. However, this anxiety can be a positive as it puts pressure on yourself to "cut" effectively. The tips in this article will give you the knowledge you need to reduce any potential muscle loss during your "cut".

Losing Muscle? Why Can't We Build Muscle Whilst Cutting?

To build muscle it often requires a surplus of calories (eating more calories than the body burns). However, when losing weight, you will need to eat in a calorie deficit (eating less calories than the body burns).

1. Low Calories = Muscle loss

Having your calories too low is the number one cause of muscle loss. To keep your muscle in an anabolic (muscle protecting) environment, it is optimal to lose weight slowly. No more than 2lbs should be lost each week. If more than this is lost, your body will enter a catabolic (muscle wasting) state. As the correct calorie intake is by far the most important factor for keeping your muscle size; scales, calories, foods and water intake must be monitored. The reason for keeping your foods and water intake the same each day is to stop the scales from fluctuating due to glycogen/water inside the muscle cells. This can make you think you are actually losing fat, when in fact you have just lost a little water. To weigh yourself effectively, do so every morning before eating.

Calories should be counted every day and recorded. Your body will burn a certain amount of calories each day, so you should eat just below this number to ensure slow weight loss. However, you won't know your true BMR number but with a little trial and error you can establish it easily. For example, if you were to eat 2000 calories each day consistently for a week and you haven't lost any weight, then you could try hitting 1500 calories. After consuming 1500 calories over the course of a week, you may have lost 1.5lbs. Then you would stick to this calorie count for a while and adjust it again in the future if needed. If you notice that you are losing more then 2 lbs per week, then the caloric deficit is too big and you would try 1700 calories and see how that goes.

2. Keep Protein Synthesis High

Keeping a high protein intake will cause your body to shift into a positive nitrogen balance. This is a great environment for the body to be in, to protect all muscle tissue. How much protein do you need? As a guide 1g of protein per lb of body weight is recommended. Protein is also great for keeping you full for longer periods of time, thus reducing the chances of you overeating. Great sources of protein include chicken, eggs, whey protein powder, casein protein powder, tuna, nuts and cottage cheese. Try and eat a good portion of protein every 3 hours. This will ensure your body is in a positive nitrogen balance throughout the whole day.

3. Keep Lifting Heavy

Weight lifting is another very important factor in the quest for keeping all muscle size. Continuing to lift weights will give your muscles a  reason to stay at their current size whilst eating less calories than usual. If you were to train less regularly or just stop your weight lifting, there will be no reason for them to stay big, making muscle loss a more probable reality.

4. Psychology: Don't aim to keep muscle, aim to build even more

When "cutting" many have the mindset of "I want to try and keep muscle during my weight loss" which is an understandable mentality, as you will be eating in a calorie deficit. However, with a modified mindset of "I'm going to build muscle as I lose weight", you are more likely to not only retain muscle but actually add some size to your frame. So how is it possible to add muscle whilst being in a deficit of calories? By shocking them!

Your body will adapt to practically anything. However, the body is also happy to stay the way it is. So, if you were to introduce new exercises that your muscles aren't use to, this will cause them to react in a way to cope with this new exercise better in the future (by building muscle). What if you introduced much shorter rest periods? The body will react in the same way. And the same for more sets and more volume. If you keep details in the gym exactly the same, you can expect your body to stay exactly the same.

About the Author: Erny Peibst is the founder of He writes unique posts on how to transform your body by optimizing your nutrition and supplementation. He also reviews the most popular supplements on the market. He has recently published his own TestoFuel Supplement review, a popular testosterone booster.