So you want to lose weight. Who doesn’t? Chances are, you want to lose the fat and keep the muscle that’s hidden somewhere beneath the layers of fat. Too often, weight loss means losing both fat cells and muscle cells. But there are a number of reasons why you don’t want to lose the muscle.
Muscle tissue burns twice as many calories a day as fat. Each pound of muscle burns seven to ten calories a day. Each pound of fat only burns two to three. You know what this means? The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism and the faster you’ll lose weight.
How can you keep valuable muscle and lose fat at the same time? Follow these diet and exercise tips from the Los Angeles boot camp to find out how.
Pile on Protein
When you create a calorie deficit in your efforts to lose weight, your body turns to its own stores of glucose for energy. Where are these stores of energy? In the fat found in adipose tissue and the proteins located in muscle tissue.
In order to keep muscle and lose fat, you’ve got to eat adequate amounts of protein each day. Getting enough protein in your diet will keep your body from depleting muscle tissue for the energy it needs.
How much protein should you eat? Take your body weight and aim to eat one to one and a half grams of protein for each pound you weigh. Weigh 200 pounds? Eat 200 to 300 grams of protein throughout the day. It’s that simple.
Good sources of protein include foods such as lean meat, poultry, seafood, beans, peas, eggs, and nuts.
If you’re trying to lose weight through cardio exercise alone, you’ll likely lose your muscle along with the fat. You can lose weight and maintain your muscle by adding strength training to your workout routine two to three days a week for 20 minutes. You’ll keep muscle as well as build new muscle to help you burn those fat calories faster.
Strength, or resistance training, isn’t difficult. Even if weights scare you, body weight exercises do much the same thing. Just be sure to work all major muscle groups. This includes your calves, thighs, biceps, triceps, back, chest, shoulders, and abdominals.
While cardio exercise does burn more calories in less time, research has shown that those who perform regular strength training as part of their exercise routine are twice as likely to lose weight and keep the weight off as those who don’t include strength training.
Get Enough Calories
Yes, there must be a calorie deficit to lose weight, but not a large one. Cut too many calories and you’ll have a harder time continuing the diet, committing to exercise, and recovering from your workouts. Too great a calorie deficit also increases the likelihood you’ll lose muscle along with fat. Not getting the nutrition your body needs may lead to muscle loss. Never cut more than 1,000 calories a day.
Nourish Your Muscles
Following your strength training workouts, your muscles need special nourishment to heal and strengthen. The stress and tension of resistance on your muscles causes small tears in the muscle fibers. As these tears heal, the muscle becomes stronger and larger. Pre- and post-workout meals are important in this healing process.
The boot camp in Los Angeles suggests that you eat a snack of carbs and protein to give your body fuel at least an hour prior to your workout. And within the first 30 minutes after after your workout, replenish your muscles with a small meal that includes carbs and protein.
Remember: muscle is your friend, fat is your foe!