3 Keys to Maintaining Muscle While Losing Fat

by Brad Pilon, MS on August 7, 2009 · 2 comments

By Brad Pilon, MS

“The best of all medicines is resting and fasting.”

– Benjamin Franklin

There are three main keys to losing fat and gaining muscle. If you’re missing any of these you will most likely fail in your attempts to build a lean muscular body. So what are they?

1)  Eat less calories than you burn off

2)  Resistance training

3)  Eating enough protein to maintain muscle mass

That’s as short and sweet as I can put it.

Any diet can work as long as it gets you to eat less calories than you burn off. The key is to find a diet that suits your personality and your lifestyle. If you’re like me you don’t have time to spend on diet rules and focusing on good foods and bad foods, and what to eat and what not to eat, and meal timing and all of that.

The diet that will work for you will most likely be the one with the least amount of rules, or in fact no rules at all but rather just provide a guideline or two. For me that diet is Eat Stop Eat. It is the simplest nutrition program I have ever come across. There is only one guideline, and that is to take a 24 hour break from eating once or twice per week. That’s it, simple and effective.

This type of eating program might work for you, or it might not. You just have to try it first. As long as you can find a diet you can stick with for the long term you’ll be able to lose weight, the next key it making sure all of that weight comes from fat. This is where resistance training comes in.

You have to do some form of resistance training in order to maintain and build muscle mass while you’re losing fat. If you are following an effective diet without doing resistance training you could end up losing muscle mass along the way. If this happens you could lose body weight without actually improving the look or shape of your body.

Your actual bodyweight doesn’t matter as much as your percentage of fat. If you can lose 5 pounds of fat, but gain 3 pounds of muscle you will only lose 2 pounds of bodyweight on the scale, but you’ll look 8 pounds different. Even though 2 pounds doesn’t sound like much, the difference on your body fat percentage is the key.

This is why weight training is so important while dieting. Weight training is the best way to make sure you don’t lose muscle while you diet, this helps with overall health as well as improving the overall look and shape of your body. After all when you diet the goal is to show off the lean muscle that is under the fat.

The third key to building muscle while losing fat is protein . You have to eat just enough protein to make sure your muscles can grow. This is a controversial topic that many nutrition ‘experts’ still don’t agree on. But the bottom line is protein is your friend when it comes to building muscle and especially when you’re dieting.

Mix these three key ingredients together and you’ll have a potent fat loss and muscle building program that can transform your body in no time.

About the Author: Brad Pilon, MS is a nutrition professional with over eight years experience working in the nutritional supplement industry. Brad has completed graduate studies in nutritional sciences specializing in the use of short term fasting for weight loss. His trademarked book Eat Stop Eat has been featured on national television and helped thousands of men and women lose fat without sacrificing the foods they love. For more information, click Eat Stop Eat to visit Brad’s website.

[Editor’s Comments: Although I have never tried the Eat Stop Eat program, I decided to publish some of Brad’s articles because he is very well known and respected in the weight-loss community. He has a solid track record of helping people lose weight and it really is an interesting concept.

I have done periodic 24-hour fasts, but I’ve never tried them on a “regular” basis.  I don’t know if I would eat almost whatever I want, and then just fast a couple of days each week. I prefer to follow a nutritionally balanced plan consisting of whole natural foods with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.

I’ll have to add this technique to my current nutrition plan and see what kind of difference it makes. When I do, I’ll be sure to let you all know the results.

Have you ever tried this plan, or a similar intermittent fasting system, for weight-loss? If so, please leave a Comment and let us know what kind of results you were able to achieve.]

Required Legal Disclaimer: Some of the links mentioned within this post or posts they lead to are my affiliate links and I get compensated for recommending those products. However, I NEVER recommend something I don’t believe in and welcome your questions and feedback.

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3 Great Reasons to Practice Intermittent Fasting | The Healthy Minute – The free “1 minute per day” e-mail newsletter that could change your life!
April 6, 2010 at 10:10 pm

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1 Melanie August 11, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I would personally never follow this plan because I have a thyroid disorder. My thyroid function must be at it’s optimal best and I don’t want to disrupt my metabolism in any way. Anybody with a thyroid disorder should always be on a strict diet and never eat anything they want. A good book to refer to is The Thyroid Diet by Mary Shomon and of course your doctor.

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