How to Get Lean Without Losing Muscle

Posted by on Oct 23, 2013 in Weight Loss

The Number On The Scales Is Overrated.

How many times has the quality of your day depended on this number? Your obsession with scales may be leading you up the garden path. Scales can be very deceptive because a gain or loss may not actually reflect your level of body fat. So don’t lose sight of the big picture. The real aim is to reduce body fat and build lean muscle mass.

It’s not usually necessary in my hypnosis weight loss program to explain the importance of physical exercise to my clients. They’re usually pretty clued up in this area. But sometimes I notice that people are exercising ‘hard’, but not necessarily ‘smart’.

You can learn to make your workout count so that you become leaner without spending hours at the gym slaving over the ‘dreadmill’. Here are some tips to help you reach your ideal weight in a healthy, effective way.

ONE: Give Yourself Time

When my personal trainer wrote up a resistance training program for me, my first question was: ‘How long before I see results?’ I was perplexed to discover that I would have to pump iron for a good eight weeks to see positive results. But there is a method to this madness. You have to give yourself plenty of time to get lean.

Most people want a quick fix, but the average time it takes to tone up is at least 3 to 4 months; if you want to do it RIGHT, that is…. The more time you take to reduce body fat, the less likely you will be to lose muscle mass. Take it slow and you will see really good results that will last.

TWO: Don’t Go Crazy Reducing your Carbohydrates

You know how it is these days; ‘carbohydrate’ is a dirty word to many people. But like I always say, going to extremes with anything just doesn’t work; at least not long-term, anyway.

Low-carb makes sense, but you don’t need to go crazy and totally eliminate carbohydrates from your diet. What you CAN do is mix it up. Instead of avoiding carbs all the time, try to alternate your low carb ‘fat burning’ days with recovery days; for example, one day you might reduce your carbohydrate intake to 20% of daily needs and then in the following 1-2 days you could eat 100% of your daily carbohydrate requirements.

THREE: Exercise 1.5 to 2 hours after Eating

Experts say that you should never exercise after your last meal of the day. For the average layperson, that means that the best time of day to exercise is after breakfast, or before lunch. This is so your muscles can recuperate from the exercise.

Regarding when you should eat, this is all about insulin levels. After you have eaten a meal your insulin levels and your blood sugar both rise. This means your cells are ready to receive nutrients. As blood sugar levels drop, insulin levels drop and nutrients stored in the fat cells are released to the blood and used for energy.

If blood sugar levels are too high, the insulin feeds the muscle cells and deposits excess into fat cells. If they are not high enough, the muscle cells are being under fed. So even though you will still lose weight if you exercise after your last meal or before breakfast, if you can it’s best to time your exercise to this blood sugar decline. Having said that, any exercise is better than no exercise so don’t get too caught up in the fat loss theories. If you’re dragging yourself to the gym you’re halfway there in my books.

FOUR: Go for Interval Training

High Intensity Interval Training is the most effective form of cardio to burn body fat without losing muscle. It’s hard work, but basically it is all about alternating high intensity ‘sprinting’ type exercise which lasts for 30 seconds with one or two minutes of less intense exercise.

If you do this for about 15 minutes, your body will lose body fat while retaining muscle. Lots of stationery bikes at the gym have interval settings on them, so try this out and see how it works.