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How To Lose Body Fat and Preserve Muscle Mass

When it comes to losing weight, losing both fat and muscle is inevitable. When you’re on a cut, about 70% - 80% of the weight lost will be body fat, and the remaining 20% - 30% is lean tissue. However, research has proven that there are multiple strategies to preserve muscle mass when dieting. Some common examples include being on a calorie deficit and increasing resistance training while lesser-known examples include minimizing cardio sessions and consuming sufficient carbohydrates – rather than prohibiting them from our diet. [2,4]

Exercise is extremely important when it comes to losing fat and preserving muscle mass due to the established effects of weight training on muscle tissues. According to Edda Cava, regular physical activity (especially resistance-type exercising training) and high protein intake is highly encouraged when the goal is to lose weight while minimizing muscle mass loss as dietary amino acids, insulin, and contractile activity are the major regulators of muscle protein synthesis and breakdown. In other words, amino acids and dietary proteins stimulate muscle protein synthesis, and exercise improves insulin sensitivity and stimulates muscle protein synthesis. [2,1]

The rate of weight being lost also plays a vital role to ensure that what we are burning is not muscle. Experts recommend losing 0.5 lbs to 1.0 lbs of total bodyweight per week. Anything more than that implies that muscle is being lost, not fat. Other ways to tell if you’re losing muscle include not lifting weights as frequently as you should, and not training to failure (you will not be giving your muscles enough stimulus to signal muscle retention if you do not train them till failure). [2]

Diet plays an equal role of importance in fat loss and muscle preservation. A high-protein diet can decrease hunger, increase satiety, boost metabolic rate, and preserve muscle mass. 10% to 35% of our total calories will come from protein; active adults are recommended to consume 1.2 grams to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of their body weight. This equates to 82 grams to 116 grams of protein for a person weighing 150 lbs. There is, generally, no prohibited food in a high-protein diet, but it has been advised to include more lean proteins and fewer refined carbohydrates, sugars, and fats. Additionally, a high-protein diet burns additional calories due to our body working harder to digest food. This is known as the “thermic effect of food,” but it is an extremely minimal side effect – never rely on this for weight loss. [3]

The internet is filled with numerous strategies that can help you shed that fat before the summer season springs in, or before a grand event. It’s easy to lose weight with the resources we have today, but to do it right and in a way that doesn’t affect our overall health, is the hard part. Fueling your body with sufficient nutrients is just as important as being as active as you can be every day.


1. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2022, from

2. Dewar, M. (2022, March 16). How to lose fat without losing muscle (science backed). Fitbod. Retrieved April 11, 2022, from

3. Frey, M. (n.d.). What is the high-protein diet? Verywell Fit. Retrieved April 11, 2022, from

4. Leaf Group. (n.d.). How do I know if I'm losing Muscle Mass vs. fat? LIVESTRONG.COM. Retrieved April 11, 2022, from



Author: Georgia Sukendro

Editor: Kayjah Taylor

Health scientist: Ashlee Lee

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