loss of body fat without losing muscle mass
There is weight loss and there is fat loss. When people say they want to lose weight, they almost always mean that they want to lose fat and not muscle mass. But how does this work and which method is effective?
A muscle is an active tissue in a place in your body where the fat is burned. Muscles are therefore of great importance in the burning of fat and also take care of the shape of your body.
Calorie intake and consumption
The most important factor for losing body fat is the relationship between the amount of calories you consume per day and the amount of calories you burn. It is a fact that your caloric intake will have to be less than the consumption to burn fat. This is not based on a personal opinion or the opinion of a diet guru, but this is the law of thermodynamics. This law says that fat loss is determined by burning more calories per day than you consume.
Now the value of nutrients also plays an important role. For example, someone who follows an energy (energy restricted) diet can become both undernourished and overfed by a wrong composition. It is therefore important to opt for high-quality, nutritious products. But even here, someone can still create too much fat by eating too much ‘healthy’ food if you get more calories than you burn.
The importance of strength training
There are two ways to create a caloric deficit. You can eat fewer calories or you can eat the same amount of calories and also exercise to burn more calories. Since we focus on fat loss without muscle loss, that activity should primarily focus on strength training and, to a lesser extent, on cardio training. Although this is in contrast to what many think, several studies show that strength training leads to more fat loss without muscle loss than just an energy-restricted diet.
Muscle building through strength training
Another study looked at two groups of subjects with obesity on identical, very low-calorie diets. One group received cardio training (walking, cycling, jogging) and the other group received strength training. After 12 weeks, both groups of weight were lost. The group that did cardio training lost 30% fat mass and 70% muscle mass. The group that did exercise training had lost 100% fat mass. This shows that the group with strength training has lost significantly more fat. In addition, the resting metabolism (the burning of the body without effort) of the ‘cardio group’ was lower. Muscle building thus ensures that more fat mass is burned. To lose fat mass without losing muscle mass, it is best to combine a calorie-restricted diet with strength training.
Finally, it is important to note that a calorie restricted diet does not mean that you have to starve yourself or eat extremely few calories. A large calorie deficit always causes the loss of muscle, because your body gets too little energy and proceeds to burning proteins. This means that you will break down muscles even with strength training and sufficient protein in your diet.
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