You probably feel like celebrating when your bathroom scale shows you that you’re losing weight.
However, lasting fitness depends on one more calculation. You need to retain or gain muscle while you lose fat.
Increasing your muscle mass offers many benefits.
Muscles give you energy and strength, so you’re more likely to stay mobile as you age and continue enjoying the activities you love.
They also support many organ functions and may extend your lifespan. Plus, you look more attractive when you’re lean.
Start thinking beyond the scale. Learn how to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.
Tips for Eating and Working Out:
1. Lose weight gradually.
Crash diets that are very low in calories may allow you to drop pounds quickly. However, you’ll be losing more muscle than fat. Unless your doctor recommends something different, aim to cut about 500 calories a day and lose about 1 to 2 pounds a week.
2. Eat more protein.
Your body needs adequate protein in order to build muscles. Spread it out throughout the day in each of your meals and snacks. Smart choices include fish, lean meat, eggs, and beans.
3. Enjoy healthy fats.
our body needs some dietary fat. In fact, The American Heart Association recommends getting about 25 to 35% of your daily calories from fat in whole foods like olive oil and nuts. Keep in mind that zero-fat processed foods often add extra sugar and other undesirable ingredients.
4. Lift weights
Barbells, dumbbells, and machines are excellent for strength training. When you’re trying to add muscle, keep the weights heavy and the repetitions low.
Pick a weight that you can lift safely for about 5 to 10 times each set.
5. Use other resistance.
If your gym is closed or you want more variety, try Pilates, boxing bags, body weight exercises or crossfit. You can do a variety of pushups and squats at home without needing any equipment.
6. Avoid overtraining.
For your muscles to grow, your body needs adequate rest. Schedule days off from the gym to relax or do gentler activities like riding your bike.
1. Manage stress.
Chronic tension causes inflammation that interferes with your body in many ways, including stunting muscle growth.
Deal with stress constructively with self-care habits that relax you or talking about your feelings with someone you trust.
2. Sleep well.
While you’re sleeping, your body is busy secreting growth hormones that help muscle tissues to recover and grow. Aim for at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
3. Wash your hands.
Any illness can make you lose muscle, so make easy precautions a daily habit. The CDC estimates that hand washing reduces the number of cases of diarrhea by up to 40%.
4. Measure body composition.
By now you may be wondering how to determine your muscle to fat ratio. You can do simple tests like checking to see if you can pinch more than an inch of fat around your waist. Your doctor or fitness club can also do more precise measurements.
5. Track your progress.
You’ll feel more motivated when you can see results. Take before and after photos.
Use a journal to record how you’re losing inches and gaining strength.
6. Consider your age.
After age 30, you start losing about 5% of muscle mass per decade, and the rate keeps increasing.
You can slow this process down and even reverse some losses by staying active.
Few adults can look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but almost anyone can protect and increase their muscle mass with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
While you’re watching your weight, pay attention to your body fat percentage, as well as your overall pounds. You’ll like the way you look!
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