Many times when wanting to get more lean, we say we want to lose weight. However, we do not really want to lose just any weight, but fat mass. To look toned, you need to not only have relatively low body fat but a sufficient amount of muscle. There are several things you can do while aiming to lose fat that will allow you to preserve the “wanted weight”/lean body mass and lose the “unwanted weight”/fat mass.
1. Do not cut calories too low. Crash dieting is very unhealthy, not sustainable, and leads to nutritional deficiencies. Never eat below your Resting Metabolic Rate (roughly your lean mass multiplied by 11-12 (this is an estimate and in no way exact)).
2. Aim to lose no more than 2 lbs of body weight or 1% of body weight per week. If you are 175 lbs, you should be aiming to lose no more than 1.75 lbs a week. If you lose weight quicker than this 1-2 lb recommendation (arguably not as relevant in the first week or if extremely overweight, where you may notice much higher losses) than you will start to lose more lean mass than desired.
3. Perform resistance exercise 2-3 times a week. If you do not give your muscles a reason to “stay” when in an energy deficit, your body will use them for energy. Many people make the mistake of going on very low calorie diets and performing excess cardio. They end up losing just as much, if not more, lean body mass as they do fat mass while messing up their metabolism. Performing resistance exercise while in a calorie deficit will allow you to preserve as much lean mass as possible while losing the unwanted fat.
4. Proper protein intake. When in an energy deficit you want to make sure you are getting plenty of protein. You want to make sure you are giving your muscles the building blocks they need to repair. When lowering calories, make sure to keep protein the same (if already taking in an adequate amount, ~25% of total calories/1.5g per lb of body weight) and instead lower your carbohydrate or fat intake.
If you follow these 4 pieces of advice when in an energy deficit you will be setting yourself up for a more toned body/keeping your fat mass to lean mass loss ratio favorable. I hope you find these four tips helpful, for more information check out some of my other posts, either on Facebook or on my website, http://www.cruzonlinefitnesscoaching.com.