At Jesse James Fit, we see a lot of confusion on this and often hear the question, “Can I lose fat and gain muscle at the same time?” The short answer is yes, and it’s important to do just that.
But it’s too simple to answer with a simple yes. You need to do specific things to make sure you aren’t losing fat and muscle at the same time. Or that you aren’t adding muscle and fat together.
“I don’t want to build muscle; I just want to get toned!”
First, let’s get rid of this common myth. Many women tell us they are afraid to get bulky. They say they don’t want to build muscle; they just want to tone up. We’re here to tell you—toning is building muscle.
Don’t worry—you’re not going to bulk up unintentionally. It takes a lot of focused hard work and specialized effort for women to get bulky muscles. It’s simply not going to happen to a woman trying to get toned.
And being skinny doesn’t mean you’re toned either! There is such a thing as “skinny fat,” and it’s not healthy.
To lose fat and build muscle at the same time, you must clean up your diet
To make sure you’re losing fat and getting that fabulous toned look (building muscle) at the same time, you absolutely must clean up your diet. Having the right amount of protein and calories for your body type is the key to shedding fat while toning.
As trainers, the biggest mistake we see with those starting a fitness program is putting no effort on improving nutrition to work alongside desired fitness goals.
To adjust your diet for losing fat and building muscle at the same time:
· Learn the important balance of healthy fats, protein and carbs that works for you. A certified personal trainer can help guide you and aline your nutrition to meet your fitness goals.
· Adjust your portions sizes—portion control is one of the main nutritional problems we see.
· Eat enough protein. Protein takes more calories to digest, keeps you feeling full longer, and maintains muscle mass while your body is losing fat.
· Don’t skip the fat! Keep eating healthy fats from sources like olive oil, avocados, and fish.
· Drink lots of water. Even the smallest amount of dehydration inhibits fat loss because your metabolism slows down to conserve water. Water flushes out toxins helping you feel better too. And one very important benefit of hydration is it keeps your joints and muscles lubricated reducing the risk of injury.
· Eat enough calories! This is essential. If you don’t take in enough calories while getting fit, it destroys your metabolism. Your body thinks it’s starving and to “help” you survive, your metabolism shuts down. Not eating enough calories also makes your body cannibalize muscle and hold onto fat—not exactly what you’re looking for when trying to get fit!
Weight training has surprising benefits
While losing weight and during a calorie deficit, your body tends to lose muscle. The best way to prevent that is by strength training. If you’re exercising and reducing calories without adding weights to your workout routine, your body will lose muscle. To burn fat instead, add weights.
And losing fat instead of muscle isn’t the only benefit of strength training. Many recent studies have shown that strength training has lots of other important benefits.
Building muscle does the following:
· Keeps your bones strong
· Decreases women’s risk of osteoporosis
· Offsets the age-related decline in muscle mass that starts around 30
· Keeps your heart healthy
· Lowers abdominal fat
· Controls blood sugar levels
· Lowers risk of injury in other areas of life
· Lowers anxiety
· Improves flexibility
· Contributes to a longer life
So…pick up those weights!
It’s important to lose weight AND build muscle at the same time
It’s essential to follow the right principles when trying to lose weight and get toned at the same time. You really don’t want one without the other.
Our certified personal trainers at Jesse James Fit can guide you through these important practices. Give us a call today to start your journey of weight loss and getting toned and fit!