How to Lose Fat and Keep Muscle – A Step by Step Guide

how to lose fat but keep muscle
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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 relatively 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 Cut Fat and Keep Muscle – A Complete Guide

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!

Step 1: Use This Diet Strategy

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 mainly to 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

If you eat the majority of your carbohydrates for your day as your post-workout meal, you can control your body’s 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.

If you’re looking for more info – Skinny2Fit has a wide range of information on diets and nutrition.

How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Fat But Keep Muscle

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!

Step 2: Use This Workout Strategy

keep muscle lose fat

If you want to lose fat and keep muscle, you are going to need to exercise intensely, and appropriately.

Try Fasted State Training

One way you can maintain muscle mass while losing fast is to do your workouts in a “fasted” state. Doing fasted-state workouts followed by a large meal with the majority of your carbohydrates for the day is the premier way to build muscle mass and cut fat in my opinion.

The Best Weightlifting Workouts to Lose Fat and Maintain Muscle

Weight training 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.

The Best Cardio Workouts to Maintain Muscle Mass While Losing Body Fat

Cardiovascular exercise is necessary for increasing the number of calories you burn per day, improving your overall 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.

For example, 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.

Alternatively, you can do high-intensity interval training (HIIT), such as CrossFit workouts, because HIIT workouts burn calories while also helping induce muscle hypertrophy as well.

Step 3: Use These Dietary Supplements

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

A Multivitamin

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 that you are getting all the necessary nutrients your body needs to run at an optimal level.

My favorite multivitamin is Rainbow Light:

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Rainbow Light Men’s One Multivitamin for Men, with Vitamin C, Vitamin D, & Zinc for Immune Support, Clinically Proven Absorption of 6 Key Nutrients, Non-GMO, Vegetarian & Gluten Free, 150 Tablets
  • IMMUNE HEALTH: Supports immune health with a high potency source of zinc
  • Clinically proven absorption of vitamins D, B2, B5, folate, calcium & zinc
  • CUSTOMIZED NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT: Packed with scientifically studied ingredients to help support...
  • DIGESTIVE BALANCE: Vegetarian and gluten free, these multivitamins are gentle on the stomach and...
  • PURITY SAFEGUARD: The formula is made with pure-tested ingredients & no artificial preservatives,...

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 option is Scivation Xtend.

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XTEND Original BCAA Powder Watermelon Explosion - Sugar Free Post Workout Muscle Recovery Drink with Amino Acids - 7g BCAAs for Men & Women - 30 Servings
  • XTEND BCAA POWDER FOR MEN & WOMEN - The World's Number 1 BCAA Brand has been perfecting recovery...
  • SUGAR-FREE BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS - Zero sugar, zero calories, and zero carbs in every delicious...
  • IMPROVE RECOVERY & HYDRATION - Consume a minimum of 14 grams of BCAAs per day - before, during, and...
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If you are doing fasted-state workouts, drink your BCAAs immediately after you finish your workout.

CLA

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. According to a study published by the Journal of Food Science,

“This suggests that CLA exerted modulation of body fat independent of reduced food intake. Based on these results, we concluded that CLA may be more effective at protecting against fat mass regain following weight loss than as a weight loss treatment.”

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 by helping maintain muscle mass while you are in a calorie deficit.

For a CLA product, I suggest this one:

CLA 3000 mg | Maxiumum Potency | 300 Softgel Pills | Weight Loss Supplement for Women and Men | Conjugated Lineolic Acid from Safflower Oil | Non-GMO, Gluten Free | by Horbaach
  • Each serving of our High Potency softgels contains 3000 mg of LeanLok Conjugated Linoleic Acid
  • Safflower oil is a non-stimulant and natural source of CLA and rich in unsaturated fatty acids
  • Touted for weight management, CLA may be used with your daily exercise and fitness routine*
  • With an active lifestyle and healthy diet, CLA can help maintain your weight and provide energy*
  • Horbaach's CLA dietary supplement may help support lean muscle enhancement*

Creatine Monohydrate

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.

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:

RSP Creatine Monohydrate – Pure Micronized Creatine Powder Supplement for Increased Strength, Muscle Recovery, and Performance for Men & Women, Unflavored, 500 grams
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RSP Creatine Monohydrate – Pure Micronized Creatine Powder Supplement for Increased Strength, Muscle Recovery, and Performance for Men & Women, Unflavored, 500 grams
  • PURE 100% MICRONIZED CREATINE - Every serving of RSP Nutrition Creatine powder contains 5g of 100%...
  • STRENGTH, RECOVERY, & LEAN MUSCLE GAIN - Pure Creatine Monohydrate has been shown to increase...
  • MICRONIZED CREATINE FOR ALL AGES - RSP Nutrition Creatine is pharmaceutical grade and optimized for...
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To learn more about creatine monohydrate, you can check out the writings of Cyrus Vanover.

There are other supplements that can help you as well, but these are a few of the most important supplements for losing fat and keeping muscle at the same time.

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

Concluding Thoughts – How to Keep Muscle and Lose Fat

The key to losing fat, build muscle mass, and getting 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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