The first thing I want to tell you is that losing weight is not the same as losing body fat . Losing weight is when we get on the scale and see that the number that marks us has decreased compared to previous times, but the important thing to improve our health and fitness is to lose body fat , since we can be losing weight because we are losing mass muscle but we can have the same body fat (something we do not want), and on the contrary, if we have gained weight, it will not always be because we have increased our fat mass but because if we are training, we can have gained muscle mass, and muscle mass also weighs!
Our percentage of fat mass and our weight that corresponds to our muscle mass can be known by various techniques such as anthropometry, where folds and diameters are measured and by means of formulas you can know what percentage of fat and muscle we have, also There are other more sophisticated machines that measure this and there is also the bioimpedance technique.
So I advise you not to obsess with the number that puts you on the scale, it is clear that if you do not exercise if you see that you are gaining weight, it will be because our body fat is increasing, but if we are doing physical exercise (always with a good coach and doing the right training plan for us), two things can happen:
- That we gain weight because we have increased our muscle mass, or that we lose weight because we are losing body fat.
- But do not believe that you can get only one or the other, in this post I will tell you the keys to lose body fat without losing muscle mass
The basis of all this is energy expenditure, that is, what you spend throughout the day. So in order to lose weight you have to eat less than what you spend, or what is the same, spend more than what you eat . There are many strategies to achieve this and feed us well, one of them and the one that I think is the most important thing is to eat real food , that is, avoid everything that is ultra-processed, and what carries saturated fats, excess sugar … With this What we get is to eat fewer calories and eat better. But it’s not just about eating better or eating less and that’s it, it is essential that in addition to eating well, we exercise since the benefits will be much greater and in addition to losing fat we can maintain or increase our muscle mass.
A recommendation that I give you is to start with a caloric deficit of 100 or 200 kilocalories a day and we must adjust them according to the speed with which our weight is reduced, that is, if for example you know that you spend about 1500 kilocalories a day, You can start by consuming about 1400-1300 kilocalories per day. In addition, we also have to take into account that it is not advisable to lose more than half a kilo a week. We must bear in mind that in addition to losing body fat we will be gaining muscle mass if we do a well done and well-planned workout.
An idea that I give you to know how many calories you consume per day is to download the MyFitnessPal application that is free and there you can put all the foods you consume per day and you will know the calories you are consuming, to know how many you have to spend.
INGER MORE PROTEINS
To maintain or increase our muscle mass, it is very important that our amount of protein intake per day is optimal, for this we can move in a range of 1.8-2.5 grams/kg of body weight.
ACTIVITY DURING THE DAY
At this point I refer to the activity we do during the day that does not enter the exercise session, for example, going shopping, climbing stairs, etc., all this will help us a lot when spending more calories during the day and, as a consequence, to lose weight. Some strategies that I give you for this would be to avoid as much as possible the car or public transport and walk to the sites or take a bike, not sitting all day in a chair or on the sofa, trying to be moving, doing things at home, go for a walk, etc. All this will make us become a more active person. In addition, one of the recommendations to consider ourselves active people is to take 10,000 steps a day. This can be counted for example with activity bracelets that are now very fashionable and that tells you the steps you take per day and the calories you have spent and are quite reliable.
Strength training is very important when it comes to losing body fat and maintaining muscle mass. My recommendation is that you do hypertrophy sessions, about 8-12 repetitions per exercise, a minimum of 10 sets per week per muscle group and with a frequency of 2-3 times each muscle group per week, in terms of intensity, we do not need to reach muscle failure, we can perform the exercises at an intensity in which for example we do 12 repetitions but we can do only one or two more that are the ones we leave in the reserve or without doing so as not to reach muscle failure. As for the rest between treadmill exercises or series, the recommended is the smallest possible and that allows you to make the next complete series. With this type of work we help maintain the muscles and also have a significant caloric expenditure.
Performing cardio sessions is also going to come in handy to help accelerate the fat loss process, but we have to take into account the interference process, since if we do strength training and cardio we can be interfering with the benefits of one to another type and the adaptations that occur when training one type can alter the adaptations that occur with the other type, which makes us improve less in both parts (lose fat and maintain or increase muscle mass). But the latter is more interested in people who want to improve their performance, for example who compete in some discipline and have to, or be stronger or have more cardiovascular capacity, but if we focus on the issue of health and improve our physical condition, Combining both types is the best option if done right.
What we can do so that the two types of workouts do not interfere with each other is:
Separate the two sessions about 3-6 hours, for example, if we do a strength session, we should separate the cardio and do it at least 3 hours later.
Try not to do intense sessions one after the other, because if for example, we do an intense work of legs and then a HIIT (high-intensity training), we will be very fatigued and we can get injured while not doing the session well.
We must also take into account and alternate between the members and body parts , for example, if we do a leg strength session, we will try to make the cardio session not a race or bike, for example, we can do the session of rowing cardio, and on the contrary, if we do a session of strength of the upper train, in the cardio session we can do race or bike work.
This type of training refers to doing strength work and cardio work, and this is the best method to lose fat and maintain our muscle mass.
Selena is a blogger and a guest contributor for a well-known brand that includes Inthemarket. In her leisure time, she plays tennis.