How to burn fat without harming the muscles

Everyone strives to burn fat without losing muscle mass. It is not easy, but possible. All you need to do is plan your diet and workouts to achieve your goal. However, there are many mistakes that you can make because you are unfamiliar with some of the rules of losing weight.

Be aware of adequate protein intake

When reducing the percentage of fat while maintaining muscle tissue, it is extremely important to ensure adequate protein intake. Proteins are one of the most important nutrients and play a role when burning fat for several reasons:

1. They change the level of hormones – proteins increase the level of “satiety” hormones, such as GLP-1 and YY-peptide, while lowering the level of ghrelin, which is a hunger hormone;

2. Have a stronger thermogenic effect – after eating, part of the calories is used to digest food, this process is known as the thermogenic effect. Proteins have a stronger thermogenic effect than fats or carbohydrates. About 20-30% of calories from protein are burned during digestion and protein metabolism;

3. You burn more calories – a stronger thermogenic effect and other facts – are the reason why higher protein intake speeds up metabolism throughout the day and even sleep. Several studies have shown that higher protein intake is the reason that we burn 80-100 more calories per day.

Protein intake is important not only during the day, but our digestive system also works at night, and to maintain muscle mass, hunger and cramps must be prevented. At night, you can forget about hunger, for example, taking a slowly digestible protein such as casein. It is characterized by low carbohydrate, high protein, and calcium, which is necessary for the production of melatonin, which contributes to sleep. The body consumes it as energy, so you do not need to worry about the fact that it is deposited in the body as fat.

Avoid sharp calorie reduction

You may find it reasonable to quickly reduce your calorie intake to achieve a reduction in fat percentage, but this decision will lead you to a completely different result. This way of eating is very similar to a hunger strike, and a lack of energy in the diet makes the body receive energy from muscle tissue. In addition to muscle breakdown, the intake of vitamins and other nutrients is significantly reduced, which will lead to poor muscle regeneration after training. A sharp decrease in calories will make you feel hungry, you will become impatient, and you will constantly think about food. Starvation is not the only problem that arises with a sudden and sharp decrease in daily calorie intake. Such diets also lead to:

• slowing down the metabolism;

• poor sleep quality;

• lethargy, fatigue;

• water retention in the body;

• decrease in libido and reproductive functions.

Follow the drinking water schedule

Water can reduce the feeling of hunger, it will fill your stomach, thereby prolonging the feeling of satiety. Adequate water intake ensures leaching of harmful substances from the body, supports kidney function, and also restores the digestive system. It is also important for the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. The process of digesting fats is called lipolysis, and in the first stage, water molecules act on triglycerides, which break down into glycerol and fatty acids. 

Another reason for drinking water for athletes and active people is its effect on the functionality and mobility of cartilage. Also, water is important for the proper functioning of the lungs, heart, and other organs, reducing fatigue and muscle cramps.

Without strength training, you won’t be able to maintain muscle mass

If your goal is not only to reduce the percentage of fat but also to preserve muscle tissue, strength training should be part of your training plan. Without such training, you will get rid not only of excess fat reserves but also of the muscles that you will have to work on again. A scientific study by the University of West Virginia compared the results of a low-calorie diet and various types of training. One group performed cardio workouts, such as walking, running, or cycling, four times a week. The task of the second group was to conduct strength training three times a week, without any cardio training. Three months later, the results were compared, and it was found that the participants in both groups lost weight.

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