How to Maintain Muscle When Losing Weight


WHAT DO ATHLETES AND SOCCER MOMS BOTH HAVE IN COMMON? // The desire to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable fashion.

During any fat loss protocol, there is a risk for muscle loss. This is because muscle is your body’s fat burning machinery. And the more muscle you have, the better your metabolism will work, thus causing you to burn significantly more calories throughout your day.

But the best fat loss protocols are designed to promote the largest amount of fat loss with the least amount of muscle loss.

That doesn’t mean that you should strive to look like the Incredible Hulk though. You should instead concentrate on losing weight in a healthy manner while focusing on protecting the muscle quality you already have.

HERE ARE THREE WAYS TO PROTECT
AGAINST MUSCLE LOSS WHILE LOSING WEIGHT

1. LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS

The simplest way to avoid significant muscle loss on your weight loss journey is to lift heavy weights 2-4 times per week. Focus in particular on compound movements, such as the deadlift, barbell back squat, bench press, and overhead press. These exercises engage some of your body’s largest muscle groups, promoting anabolic (growth) hormones and decreasing the risk of muscle loss.

TAKEAWAY

Perform each of these exercises—
• 2-4 times per week.
• 3 sets per exercise.
• 6-8 reps each.


2. PRIORITIZE PROTEIN

When eating at a caloric deficit your body enters a catabolic state, which causes muscle loss. Without eating a caloric deficit though you would never lose any weight, whether fat, muscle, or otherwise. So what’s the solution then?

Prioritizing protein in your diet will help you maintain the most amount of muscle mass you can while likewise burning fat.

We recommend that our clients eat 1 gram of protein per pound of their body weight.
In other words, if you weigh 175 pounds, then you should consume 175 grams of protein a day.

Try focusing on lean meats, fish, eggs and high-quality protein powders. All are good ways to keep your calories low while still consuming the proper amount of protein to help retain as much muscle mass as possible.

TAKEAWAY

• Protein is your best friend when it comes to nutritional needs during weight loss.
• Help to prioritize protein by focusing on lean meats, fish, and eggs.


3. USE THE SAUNA

While we don’t recommend using the sauna as a weight loss tool, we do suggest that our clients spend 10-20 minutes in a sauna 3 times per week during their weight loss protocol. New research shows that spending time in the sauna can prevent muscle degradation by activating “heat shock proteins” naturally produced by cells in the body. Additionally, studies show that spending time in the sauna can cause a significant increase in growth hormone release, which also aids in the prevention of muscle degradation as well.

TAKEAWAY

• 10-20 minutes in the sauna 3 times per week during your weight loss protocol.
• Stay hydrated and replenish lost electrolytes during the process.


Maintaining muscle and losing weight at the same time can be a daunting task. But with some research and understanding, you’ll find that the human body is more than capable of balancing them both.