How to Burn Fat Without Losing Muscle (Look Lean & Toned)

Why was I still disappointed after I lost over 40+lbs?

I finally hit my goal weight, but I still didn’t look the way I had expected I would.

I had seen all of these girls looking lean, toned, and AMAZING.

I was smaller, but I didn’t look anything like they did.

I had lost a bunch of weight, but along with it, I lost a lot of muscle mass.

Since then, I’ve learned A LOT.

Part of what I’ve learned is how to get that lean and toned look.

How to burn fat while maintaining as much muscle as possible.

For example, in the two pictures below, I’m almost the exact same weight.

There’s less than a pound difference.

In left picture though, I was eating as little as possible, while doing a TON of cardio.

On the right is after I figured out how to tone and maintain muscle while still burning fat.

how to lose fat without losing muscle

1. Never, Ever Eat Below Your BMR

The first question on your mind here is probably, “What the heck is my BMR?”

BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate. 

That’s just fancy talk for how many calories your body needs in order to preform basic life functions and essentially, live.

It needs energy (aka calories) to do functions like breath and pump blood.

Those things are important, so we want to make sure we’re at a very minimum getting at least enough calories for those functions.

So what is your BMR and how many calories should you be eating?

Well, you could do a bunch of math to figure it out.

Or..

You can just download this handy calculator that will do all the math for you.

2. Lift Heavy Sh#t

Sometimes people whose goal it is to lose weight are afraid to weight lift, and especially afraid to lift heavy weights.

If that’s you, it’s okay, you’re definitely not alone.

But..

I’m going to try to change your mind on that because lifting heavy weights is great for weight loss.

Here are just a few reasons why you should be lifting heavy even if your goal is weight loss:

  1. Lifting weights can help boost your metabolism. Faster metabolism = more calories burned at rest. That’s a win win.
  2. Lifting heavy will help you maintain your muscle mass as much as possible while your working on cutting fat.

3. Nail Your Macros

A common weight loss technique is to just count calories.

While eating less calories than you burn will absolutely help you lose weight..

A lot of that could be at the expense of your muscles.

This is why we not only want to pay attention to how much we’re eating, but also what we’re eating.

By what, I mean our macronutrients: Carbs, Fats, and Protein.

GASP!!

“Carbs?! We can’t eat carbs if we’re trying to lose weight!!”

Wrong.

Of course you can. Carbs are not the enemy.

Each macro nutrient plays an important role in our body and for weight loss.

If you’ve been thinking about doing Keto and are skeptical of that, here are the results of a study outlined in an article by Vice:

“One study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that when women followed a 1,700-calorie diet for 10 weeks, those who maintained a 1.4:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio (171 grams of daily carbs 125 of protein) lost more fat while losing less lean mass (aka muscle) than those who maintained a 3.5:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio.”

4. HIIT 

You probably already know that cardio is useful for weight loss.

HIIT is way of doing cardio that takes less time AND helps protect against muscle loss.

But not all types of cardio are created equal.

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training.

You do short bursts of all out effort, with less intense intervals in between.

HIIT workouts should only last about 15-20 mins.

Doesn’t that sound better than running mindlessly on the treadmill for an hour?

This post goes more in depth on HIIT, how to do it, and some example workouts.

5. Sleep It Off

One of the most underrated factors when it comes to weight loss is SLEEP.

If you’re struggling to lose weight, take a look at how much sleep you’re getting.

The optimal amount of sleep for the general population is 7-9 hours per night.

A University of Chicago did a study where partipants followed the same diet, but when they decreased their sleep from 8.5 hours to 5.5, their rate of fat loss dropped by 55%.

Not only is sleep important for fat loss..

It’s also important when it comes to preserving your muscle mass as well.

According to Matthew Walker (Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley) 

“if your dieting but you’re not getting sufficient sleep 70% of all the weight that you lose will come from lean body mass muscle and not fat.”

6. Drink BCAAs

You’ve probably heard of protein powder, but are you drinking BCAAs too?

“What the heck are BCAAs and why are they important?!” you ask..

Great questions!

BCAAs stand for Branch Chain Amino Acids

Here’s why BCAAs are important for burning fat and preserving muscle according to Muscle & Fitness:

“As the building blocks of protein, BCAAs are stored within muscles and can actually be used for energy during exercise. During a cutting phase, they’re a great alternative to high-calorie protein powders because they’re calorie-free (or close to it), which will ensure that you’re still maintaining the calorie-deficit necessary to get leaner.”If you want to try BCAAs out, here’s the brand I take as well as the other supplements I take.

Final Tip

To be honest, losing weight while still looking lean and toned is hard.

There’s a lot to take into account and it’s a lot to manage.

That’s why one of the most helpful things you can do is to follow a reliable plan that has already taken it all into account for you.

My 8 week program is aimed at doing just that.

I would love to be able to help you achieve the look you want!

Join the 8 Week Transformation Challenge Here.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out through the contact form or leave a comment.



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