How do I lose body fat without losing muscle?
Let us define some terms. Visually, body fat is sagging parts on your body that have no function in exercise. Think of of the body fat on your arm similar to weight of leaves on a branch. The branch has structure and stability much like your muscle. The leaves add a small amount of weight and resistance to the branch. This analogy can help us create some context around building muscles and losing fat.
When you exercise, your internal body temperature rises, heart rate increases, blood flow increases. These are each related. When you lift weights, move with intensity, and control your body by using your brain… lots of things are going on. The hard work of your nervous system, muscular system, and skeletal system together is just part of what drives the results you see in the mirror. Why do we think we can lose fat through exercises? I do not know. It is a myth.
You lose fat through a caloric deficit in your diet. You can add to this deficit by exercising. Going to the gym and moving with intensity will increase the amount of calories that you burn daily. Let us say that you are eating a daily diet of 1,700 calories. You have a basal metabolic rate of 1,200 calories per day. That means that in order to lose body fat, you must burn more than 500 calories each day. That extra amount can be met through exercise.
Building muscle is another story. Why? Because fat and muscle are made of two completely different cells. The fat tissues does not turn into muscle. Fat does not get toned into muscle. Muscle gets toned into muscle. Fat gets “burned” by being in a caloric deficit. So to build muscle, focus on eating more protein and strength training in the gym. Here at Bellhouse CrossFit, our daily programming and coaching is centered around making you a more bulletproof and healthy human. Our strength training and intense workouts are sufficient to build muscle. It is your job to increase the protein intake to support your muscles so that they continue to grow, and to have a caloric deficit to lose the fat.
Need some help on this? Bellhouse CrossFit now offers Nutrition Coaching. We can help you build better habits with your eating and get you on the way towards your goals. Email [email protected] to get started.