The phrase “fast fat loss” can seem dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. The biggest mistake guys make when trying to lose fat is spending hours torching calories through cardio. That, paired with cutting all fat out of your diet, is going to have the worst result possible: you’re going to lose muscle.
Maintaining muscle mass and losing fat is possible. Here’s what to eat, how to exercise and how much daily rest you need to achieve both of these results simultaneously.
1. EAT MORE PROTEIN, AND MORE FAT
It’s no secret that protein is essential for muscle repair and growth. But you probably did a double take when you saw the words “more” and “fat” next to each other. While it might seem like eating more fat when you’re trying to lose it makes no sense, biology begs to differ. Fat from food is fuel just like carbs and protein are fuel. So in a way, you need to eat fat to burn fat. Just make sure you’re getting it from healthy foods like meat, fish, eggs, nuts and avocados – not potato chips and other processed foods.
2. FOCUS ON STRENGTH TRAINING
Let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with cardio. It just doesn’t burn fat the way strength training does. Cardio keeps you in shape and helps you build up your stamina – it’s good for you. But if you want to lose fat, you have to include strength training in your workout regimen. Too much cardio without strength training (and protein!) is the fastest way to lose muscle. Strength training builds muscle up, which helps burn fat. Squats are some of the best exercises for quick fat loss – so get down to it!
3. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Stay up late and rise at dawn? You’re going to have trouble losing fat. Sleep deprivation raises cortisol levels. The more stressed you are, the more fat you tend to store. Plus, running on too little sleep makes you more likely to inhale a whole bunch of junk food – not good. Experts generally recommend 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night, though needs differ slightly depending on the individual. If possible, go to bed when you’re tired and sleep until your body naturally wakes up. It knows how much rest you need. If you do need to use an alarm, try to set a consistent sleep schedule to improve sleep quality so your stress hormone levels don’t skyrocket.