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Are You Losing Fat Or Muscle?

Mar 14, 2008
I often have to catch myself when speaking with clients or
newsletter subscribers when I use the terms "weight loss"
or "losing weight".

I mistakingly use these terms on my site and in my newsletters even though I probably shouldn't.


I can bet that you, no matter how much you think you do, do not want to lose weight. You want to lose fat. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. But it is the body fat you want to lose, not just weight.

I have never had anyone approach me and ask me how they could go about losing some lean muscle while maintaining their fat levels. This would cause weight loss.

So, all of us that think we may want to lose weight, it is really the fat we are trying to lose while preserving lean muscle tissue.

The cool thing is, when we lose fat and preserve lean muscle, that lean muscle actually helps us burn more calories to keep off the body fat.

So how do we go about ensuring that we are losing fat and not muscle while we exercise and focus on our nutrition?

Although there is no absolute cut-and-dry method to ensure fat loss and muscle preservation during intense exercise or calorie restriction, there are some steps you can take to maximize the likelihood it is fat you are losing and not lean muscle.

First, separate and attack the two independently. Focus on losing fat. Focus on increasing your lean muscle mass.

Treat them as two distinct entities.

When attempting to lose fat, there are primarily two ways to do it. One, increase aerobic activity. Two, decrease caloric intake. The best approach is to do a little of both.

Start to slowly decrease your caloric intake while increasing the amount of cardio/aerobics you do.

Do not go to an extreme on either. Do not restrict calories too much or you will actually cause your body to store more body fat. Also, do not do too much cardio for risk of overtraining and increasing the likelihood of injury or sickness.

Approach losing bodyfat by focusing on those two areas, a
reduction of calories and an increase of aerobic activity.

That addresses the issue of losing fat, so how do you ensure gaining or at least preserving your lean muscle mass? Again, by focusing individually on what creates muscle gain.

During your weight training routine, try to keep progressively increasing the amount of weight you lift over time. This alone will cause your body to keep adapting to the increase in demand by adding lean muscle tissue.

One quick way to increase the weight you lift is by decreasing your repetitions.

Also, make sure you are getting adequate nutrition during the day to support muscle growth. Since protein (amino
acids) is the building block of muscle, be sure to get enough of it in your diet. Aim for about half of your daily calories from protein.

Be sure you are getting adequate rest and recuperation
from your weight training workouts. It is very hard to grow lean muscle if your body is not recuperated properly from workouts.

These are some steps you can take to make sure you are losing fat and not muscle while attempting a weight loss/weight control program.

It is fat loss we are after, not just weight loss. If we lost muscle, we would still be losing weight, but not the weight we would like to lose.

Approach each individually. While attempting to lose fat, focus on the steps above that have to do with fat loss. In the mean time, take the steps listed above and try to maximize muscle gain while in the gym.
About the Author
Discover a simple, proven muscle building routine by trainer and bodybuilder Shawn Lebrun that shows you, step by step, how to get the maximum amount of muscle growth and definition possible. Simple Steps To Get Huge And Shredded"
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