It can be fantastic to lose weight and be healthier, but who wants to lose muscle mass after all the hard work that’s been put into it? It can be really difficult to create a balance between losing fat and building muscle. 

When you’re short of calories (you consume fewer calories than you burn every day), your body has a tendency to burn a certain amount of fat before it develops into a muscle. In this guide, we’ll provide you with a few tips to gain a good balance on your road to weight loss. 

Eat healthy fats

Fats from food are really necessary to gain muscles, as it can help you increase your energy intake and give you extra fuel for the hard workouts. They will also help to increase the production of hormones in our bodies, inclusive of testosterone, which can increase muscle mass. 

Before you add Nutella or more butter to the toast in the morning, these aren’t the most healthy fats in the world. You should consider choosing Omega-3 instead. 

Omega-3 sebacic acid is the fat found in some fish, olive oil and nuts. Their main purpose is to increase heart health and muscles. 

Sources of food to omega-3 includes: 

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Mackarel
  • Sardines
  • Chia seed
  • Linseed
  • Canola oil

It’s important to remember there are different types of Omegas, which are found in either seafood or plants. ALA omegas are found in plants, EPA and DHA are commonly found in seafood. Although ALA are beneficial, EPA and DHA are exceptional for the body. 

Although uncommon, there are plant-based ways to obtain EPA and DHA from a plant-based diet. For instance the ahi flower contains Omega-3s. 

Follow a diet with a high level of protein

Muscles need protein for their growth and repair. Think fish, lean meat, eggs, tofu, beans, leguminous fruit, and dairy products with a low level of fat. Many diets with a low level of calories result in a low intake of protein which can lead to bad growth and loss of muscle mass. 

To increase your protein intake can be one of the solid ways to lose body fat and to minimize the loss of muscle. 

Good sources of protein include: 

  • Greek yogurt and other dairies
  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey breast
  • Cottage cheese
  • Quinoa
  • Milk
  • Almond
  • Protein powder

Great plant-based sources of protein include tofu, nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetables. These traditionally have much less fat than meat.  

Don’t overdo your loss of calories

A limitation of your decreased food consumption, in order to lose weight, can be detrimental to your muscles. The exaggerated weight loss you’re experiencing is more likely to come from the loss of liquid and muscles, rather than fat. 

It’s obvious that low-cal diets lead to a big preliminary loss of the collected weight loss. This is the reason why low-cal diets aren’t sustainable in the long run. Have some patience with your weight loss. Begin cutting 200-300 calories from what you estimate for maintenance every day and adjust gradually upon how fast you lose weight. 

Work out

The best way to burn calories and to build muscles is to work out and add a workout plan that suits your routines. 

You wish to focus on working on your body minimum twice a week. Try to aim for exercises that work in more than one group of muscles at a time. I.e. squats, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, and barbell rows – these are fantastic exercises. That will make it easier for you to lift heavier and to grow stronger or maintain muscles when you lose weight.

Not only do these exercises work multiple muscles, but they also burn the most calories due to the energy needed.

About The Author:

Nicholas Orsini is the Founder & CEO of The Plant Era, a Copenhagen based nutrition company aiming to develop the world’s best sports nutrition. He is a finisher in the 2019 Ironman Italy Race, boxed amateur under Buster Douglas, and cycled across America, writing a memoir on the experience, Resilience: How I Stole My Little Brother’s Bike and Ended Up in California. Nicholas was a NASM certified personal trainer from 2013 to 2015.