5 Ways To Prevent Muscle Loss
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Whether you’re fasting carb cycling following a ketogenic diet, or you’re just cutting calories there’s one common condition that you need to be concerned about…muscle loss.
I’ve gone through many cuts over the years and through trial and error, I’ve learned what works best to prevent muscle loss.
And the truth is that no matter what you do if you’re trying to burn fat by cutting calories;
while you’re in that caloric deficit you will experience at least some muscle loss even if you do everything perfectly.
So rather than pretending that there’s some secret method that will completely stop muscle loss during a cut,
the purpose of this video is to teach you the best strategies and the best methods to prevent as much muscle loss as possible while cutting body fat.
And you’re going to want to follow these step-by-step tips because not only will preventing muscle loss make you look better and more aesthetic at the end of your cut
but it’ll also make keeping the fat off much easier when you’re done.
The first thing you’ll want to do is maintain as much strength as possible during your cut.
This is the single most important step you can take with your workouts to encourage your body to maintain as much muscle as possible.
When you cut calories it’s no secret that you’re going to be feeling a lot more tired and low in energy.
You feel tired because your glycogen stores will be running low and that’s actually the only reason why your body instead switches over to using stored energy from your fat cells, to begin with.
Due to the fact that people feel tired, most will respond by thinking that they can just take it a little easier during their workouts.
However, even though you’re tired the last thing you want to do is decrease the intensity of your workouts.
As a natural lifter, your strength is closely tied to the amount of muscle mass you preserve during a cut.
This is because unlike steroid users you don’t have the benefit of an increased rate of protein synthesis 24/7.
You have to create that by lifting heavy weights even when you have low energy levels from being on a diet.
The number one Training Method to build more muscle as a natural lifter is a Progressive overload in
which you progressively lift heavier and heavier weights increasing your strength which ultimately leads to more protein synthesis and more muscle mass.
So if you’re trying to maintain as much muscle mass as possible your goal needs to be to maintain as much strength as possible.
Unfortunately, there’s still this myth that when you cut you should go light as opposed to when you try to build muscle you should go heavy.
However when you cut, since you’re taking in fewer calories than you need for maintenance, your body is trying to conserve energy in every way it can for survival reasons.
If you don’t stimulate your muscles that you already built up by still engaging in high-intensity workouts with heavyweights,
if you no longer have that stimulus and you’re now using lighter weights, getting rid of that now useless muscle is an easy call for your body to make from an energy conservation standpoint.
Now, this is no easy task when you’re low on energy and for every week that you cut it gets a little more difficult to maintain the same strength levels you had before starting your cut.
So what I always say is that the goal has to be to fight for every last inch. What this means is that you might have been doing let’s 225 for 10 reps on the bench press for example.
Then you start cutting. And your first day of cutting you can only do 9 reps, a week later you’re down to eight reps.
And then the following week you’re down to 7 reps. Most people would simply drop the weight to something lighter that they could do more reps with,
with less of a struggle since their in this low energy state. However, if you do this it’ll only accelerate the rate at which you lose strength and muscle mass.
Until that moment you have to stick that same weight and push yourself to try to hit as many reps as possible regardless of how tired or weak you feel.
I personally experienced the best results when sticking within a rep range of about 5 to 8 reps with the heaviest weight possible for that rep range while cutting.
But when you do finally have to drop the weight make sure you’re dropping to a weight load that’s still very intense for you.
You should not feel totally comfortable with the weight you’re lifting just because you have no energy from being in a caloric deficit.
By forcing yourself to “fight for every last inch of strength” you will be doing the most crucial thing in regard to your training to prevent muscle loss.
Now let’s talk about the second tip which is actually the most important step you can take to prevent muscle loss in regard to your diet and that’s eating enough protein.
So to give you some concrete numbers according to the research you want to get anywhere from 0.8 to 1.3 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
When you’re trying to maintain your weight you don’t need such a high protein intake,
however when cutting the best way to avoid muscle loss is by increasing protein as you increase your caloric deficit.
So if you are cutting at a moderate pace like a 20 to 25 percent reduction from your maintenance calories then you can go with 8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight,
but if you’re trying to cut faster and you have a 40 to 45 percent reduction in calories from maintenance you’re gonna definitely want to go with the higher end of that range so 1.3grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Now, this actually brings me right to my next tip, which is to keep calories and carbohydrates as high as possible while cutting.
A moderate deficit is the best place to start when cutting because there’s a process known as adaptive thermogenesis, which will happen as you cut more and more.
Adaptive thermogenesis is essentially your body slowing down its metabolism and the number of calories you output to save energy.
So now as your body starts to plateau you can increase your deficit to 30 percent then 35 then 40.
And as you do increase your deficit remember you want to also increase protein intake to preserve muscle mass.
Now the reason why you want to also try to keep carbs as high as possible during your cut to preserve muscle mass is that carbs are the ideal fuel source for higher intensity workouts.
You’ll do a lot better with heavy weights if you are able to incorporate more low glycemic carbs into your diet.
Of course you will almost always have to cut a lot of carbs when cutting, however, the goal is to keep as many as you can in your diet to help you lift at a higher intensity.
Carb cycling can help a lot with this, even if you’re on a keto diet consider incorporating an occasional refeed where you allow yourself to refill depleted glycogen stores.
Let’s move on to the fourth major way to prevent muscle loss and that’s by decrease training frequency.
So yes you do want to push yourself harder during your workouts and fight for every last inch.
However, you want to take more days off and workout less frequently during the week.
Now there’s a reason for this…since you’re taking in less calories you’re body will have a tougher time recovering and repairing broken down muscle tissue.
Not only that, but your central nervous system will also take longer to recover and your central nervous system or CNS is a huge part of what gives you the strength to lift heavy weights, to begin with.
By allowing your body more time to recover not only will you prevent yourself from accidentally creating too great of a deficit,
but you’ll also give your body a chance to fully prepare for the next intense training session without overtraining.
So if you were normally exercising 6 days a week trying cutting down training frequency to 4 times a week.
And I should briefly talk about cardio. You want to treat adding more cardio the same way you treat decreasing calories.
Meaning you want to start with as little cardio as possible and only add cardio one session at a time if you absolutely have to as you plateau.
If for example you plateaued and you really don’t want to eat even less then your currently eating
you can add a cardio session instead of cutting calories further to assist in losing more body fat.
And the cardio you want to be doing to preserve muscle mass is once again high-intensity interval training like intervals of sprints
for example instead of low-intensity steady state cardio like long duration jogging.
Finally, the last step you can take to prevent muscle loss is stick primarily to major compound lifts.
Like I’ve been saying the whole time you’re going to have a very limited amount of energy.
You’re going to want to use all that energy on the exercises that are gonna help you maintain the most strength and muscle mass.
Exercises like bicep curls, skull crushers, and lateral raises are far less important than exercises like barbell squats, bench presses, military presses, rows, pull-ups, and other staple compound exercises.
You want to stick primarily to compound exercises because there are more joints and muscles involved in the movement requiring you to generate more strength and power for these exercises.
Make sure you use all your energy lifting heavy weights for your compound lifts before moving on to isolation work while cutting.
That’s it guys I really hope this video has helped you out.And if you’re looking to take the next step and you want a done for you approach for fat loss, that will show you exactly how to lose body fat fast without losing muscle mass in the process check out my 6 week challenge,
where on average my clients are losing 20 pounds or 5 percent of their body fat in only 6 weeks. You get a customized diet plan, a 42-day workout plan, a recipe book, a grocery list,
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With the 6 week challenge, we give you the opportunity to get the whole program for free just by committing to following it without cheating and without quoting for all 6 weeks.
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My passion for fitness began when I was 14 years old. I naturally fell in love with training and haven’t stopped since. At 18 years I acquired my first personal training certification from ACE after which I opened my first of 3 transformation studios in 2011. I love to share my knowledge through personal training, my online courses, and youtube channel now with over 3,000,000 subscribers! I can happily say that we've helped over 15,000 people get in great shape over the years. I'm always here for my customers so if you need help don't hesitate to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org