How to Lose Fat and Keep Muscle – Keys to Your Cutting Cycle

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Having a lean physique and an aesthetic body is nearly everybody’s dream. Whether it is bodybuilders, professional athletes (like myself), or just regular gym goers, if you are putting effort into your body, you want to see results.

To get a ripped body, many people undergo what is called a “cutting cycle,” which is a process that prioritizes burning fat over building muscle mass.

However, many people fail to get their desired results due to inappropriate techniques used, resulting in a  loss of confidence in the whole practice.

Although you can get great results by doing a clean bulk, followed by a healthy cutting cycle, there are some ways that you can build muscle mass and burn body fat at the same time. However, it isn’t simple.

Building muscle mass and burning fat are essentially opposites. Normally, to build muscle mass you need to be in a calorie surplus, and to burn body fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit.

With a few key strategic moves in your diet and workout routine, you can adequately burn body fat and build muscle mass at the same time, and develop your dream body with the risks of bulking and cutting!

How to Lose Fat and Keep Muscle

Losing fat and building muscle mass takes organization, focus, and strategy as much as effort. Here are a few steps you can take in order to get the aesthetic body of your dreams!

Diet and Nutrition – All About Macronutrients

best way to cut body fat and keep muscle

If you want to get the highly-desired shredded look, you will need to make some changes in your dietary schedule as well as the nutrients you take.

The first step you should take is optimizing your ratio of carbohydrates to proteins. As per carbohydrates, minimize their intake by avoiding sugar-containing foods, limiting them to only post-workout meals. A viable option in this situation is the Ketogenic Diet for athletes. If you don’t want to do a fully ketogenic diet plan, you should however stick to the best carbs for bodybuilding, such as:

  • Oatmeal
  • Beans
  • Yams
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Quinoa

Vegetables and a small amount of fruit per day also should be a part of your everyday consumption.

If you eat the majority of your carbohydrates for your day as your post-workout meal, you can control your bodies insulin response and help build muscle mass without adding body fat.

Along with that, you need to incorporate increased amounts of protein into your diet.

The presence of amino acids in your bloodstream guarantees that your muscles will not be broken down. On the contrary, protein is what builds up your lean muscles.

You can eat your grams of protein throughout the day as you please.

Make sure to add essential fatty acids to your dietary regime.

Eating foods like peanuts, almonds, cashews, and fish, to name a few, are going to make certain that you get your required daily amount.

Personally, I suggest a ratio of 40% protein: 30% carbohydrates: 30% healthy dietary fats.

Intermittent Fasting to Lose Fat and Build Muscle Simultaneously

If you want to lose fat and build muscle at the same time, I also suggest you try intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is the diet technique that I use, and I suggest it to a lot of my friends and family as well.

According to a study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine concluded that,

“Our results suggest that an intermittent fasting program in which all calories are consumed in an 8-h window each day, in conjunction with resistance training, could improve some health-related biomarkers, decrease fat mass, and maintain muscle mass in resistance-trained males.”

As you can see, it is probably the single best diet plan for losing weight and keeping muscle!

Exercise Is Your Friend – Choose Your Workouts Wisely

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If you want to lose fat and keep muscle, you are going to need to do both weight lifting and cardio. Cardio is necessary for increasing the amount of calories you burn each day, while weight lifting is necessary for building muscle mass and helping increase your BMR over time.

Weight Lifting

Weightlifting leads to hypertrophy of the muscles, which is increased muscle mass.

If you are trying to lose fat and build muscle mass, your primary goal should be building as much muscle mass as possible. To do so, you should stick to hypertrophy focused workouts which will increase your BMR through an increase of additional muscle mass.

In my opinion, the best option for this is German Volume Training.

Strength training programs such as reverse pyramid training or Stronglifts 5×5 are excellent for people who prioritize strong muscles over their physique, but German Volume Training is the best program for quickly increasing the amount of lean muscle mass on your frame.

Another great option is Escalating Density Training. Escalating Density Training is a form of metabolic conditioning which also burns a ton of calories, along with helping you build more muscle mass.

I also suggest you try doing these workouts in a “fasted” state. Doing fasted-state workouts followed by a giant meal with the majority of your carbohydrates for the day is the premier way to build muscle mass and cut fat in my opinion.

Cardio

Cardio is necessary for increasing the amount of calories you burn per day, improving your overall physical health, and helping to develop a well-rounded body.

There are many cardio workouts for weight loss that you can do, so you won’t get tired of doing the same workout over and over.

Cycling is a great way to build muscle mass and burn calories. Therefore, it is very effective for burning fat and keeping muscle at the same time. You could use a stationary bike, or you could bike outdoors. You can check out this cyclist guide for more information.

Regardless, I suggest you stick to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) because these workouts burn calories while also helping induce muscle hypertrophy as well. My favorite HIIT workout is the Tabata Interval Protocal.

The Tabata Interval Protocal involves doing 8 rounds of 20 seconds of maximum intensity work, followed by 10 seconds of rest.

The best exercises for this cardio workout include:

  • Air Squats
  • Burpees
  • Pushups
  • Thrusters
  • Sit-Ups
  • Reverse Burpees

Dietary Supplements – A Must Have

If you want to build muscle mass and lose body fat at the same time, there are a few key supplements that yo are going to need to take.

Best Multivitamin for Losing Fat and Building Muscle

First, I believe it is vital for you to take a multivitamin or mineral-containing drinks on a daily basis. Taking a multivitamin will ensure you that you are getting all the necessary nutrients your body needs to run at an optimal level.

My favorite multivitamin is Rainbow Light:

Best BCAA Supplement for Muscle Building and Fat Loss

A BCAA Supplement

Along with that, I also suggest you take a BCAA supplement. As stated by a study published in The Journal of Nutrition,

“From these findings, it may be concluded that the BCAA requirement is increased by exercise. BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis; this suggests that BCAAs may be a useful supplement in relation to exercise and sports.”

My favorite options is Scivation Xtend.

If you are doing fasted-state workouts, drink your BCAAs immediately after you finish your workout.

CLA to Help Lose Fat and Build Muscle

Lastly, one important supplement for building muscle mass and losing fat at the same time is CLA. CLA is a fatty acid found in dairy products and safflower oil amongst other places, and it has unique effects in terms of gaining muscle without adding body fat.

Studies have proven that CLA helps limit body fat increases during times of a caloric surplus. If you take CLA throughout the time you are going to try to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously, it can help you with your goals.

For a CLA product, I suggest this one:

Creatine Monohydrate for Fat Loss and Muscle Building

If you are hoping to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, creatine monohydrate is a must-have.

Creatine monohydrate was first brought to market nearly 20 years ago, and it has been a best-selling supplement ever since.

Creatine monohydrate is a naturally occurring substance that is found in many of the foods we eat, including red meat and seafood. When people supplement with creatine monohydrate, they are really just consuming larger amounts of something that is already naturally present in their bodies.

Creatine monohydrate works its magic by increasing the amount of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in your body.

ATP is the energy that our muscles use to contract. During an intense workout, the body uses a great deal of ATP, turning it into a bi-product known as adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Creatine monohydrate causes the body to turn much of the ADP back into ATP, the fuel it needs to get through a grueling workout. Continued supplementation leads to increases in power, performance, and skeletal muscle tissue growth.

Pairing creatine with other supplements such as L-Citrulline, Citrulline Malate, or Beta Alanine is an excellent way to breakthrough training plateaus.

To learn more about creatine monohydrate, you can check out the writings of Cyrus Vanover.

If you’d like to buy creatine monohydrate for help with losing fat and building muscle, I suggest you try RSP Nutrition creatine monohydrate (the product I use) because it is affordable and effective:

There are tons of other supplements which can help you as well, but these are a few of the most important supplements for your goals.

Related Reading: The Best Supplements for Weight Loss and Muscle Gain

Concluding Thoughts – How to Keep Muscle and Lose Fat

The key to lose fat, build muscle mass, and get an aesthetic physique is to integrate the above-mentioned factors into your daily life and stick to it.

Building muscle while losing fat is not just wishful thinking anymore – now, you can get the toned and shredded body that you have always wanted!

With a proper diet, a little help from certain supplements, and the right workout routine, you have access to the formula for losing body fat and increasing your muscle definition.

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