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Does fat loss have to mean strength loss?
When most people embark on a fat loss diet plan, they often believe this is the case. If you’ve put yourself on a low calorie approach before only to find your strength moving in the exact opposite direction you want, you aren’t alone.
It happens time and time again. The good news however is that it doesn’t have to be this way. There are a number of things that you can do to help sustain your strength levels during a fat loss phase.
Let’s look at a few so that next dieting round, you aren’t suffering from this unfortunate turn of events.
Ensure Adequate Protein
If there’s one must-do while on a fat loss diet, it’s making sure your protein needs are being met. Lack of protein is the fastest way to ensure you’ll burn up lean muscle mass as you go about those cardio workouts and lower calorie diet plan.
Many people believe that since your calorie intake is going lower, this must mean your protein intake will go lower as well.
It’s the exact opposite, however. The lower your calorie intake is, the more protein you’ll actually require.
When your calorie intake is brought lower for fat burning, this means there is a greater probability that your body is going to start utilizing incoming protein as an energy source. This is thanks to the declining intake of carbohydrates for fuel.
With more protein being used as energy, this means less protein is left over to support muscle maintenance. The result? Lean muscle mass loss.
When you start losing muscle, your strength will naturally decline.
Aim for at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight while dieting, if not a little more.
Additionally, ensure you are supplementing with a high quality protein like RE-KAGED immediately post-workout to give your muscles the tools they need to kick-start the recovery process.
Avoid Very Low Carb Diets Off The Start
Another thing that you can do to help offset the strength loss you typically experience is avoid very low carb diets, at least right out of the gates.
When you go from eating 200+ grams of carbs per day for instance down to 80 grams right away, something has to give. Your strength levels will be first.
Not only does this also promote the loss of lean muscle mass (see above), but with fewer carbs coming in, your muscle glycogen will not be saturated and this also has a direct influence on the strength you maintain.
Try your best to keep carbs as high as possible while still sustaining the desired rate of fat burning you want to see.
Which brings us to another point – slow down your expectations. If you expect to lose 1-2 pounds of fat per week, this is a dramatic drop and will result in some strength loss.
The slower you lose body fat, the less risk you’ll have of experiencing strength loss. So if keeping strong is your priority, slow and steady needs to be the name of your game.
Which brings us to the final point to remember, lift heavy. Too many people make the mistake of thinking that as soon as they go on a fat loss diet, this means they should be doing only high rep, light weight training.
They figure this will increase their overall metabolic burn, allowing for faster fat loss to occur.
While high rep training can have a place in fat burning programs, if you want to sustain your strength levels, you need to do your best to keep the weight on the bar.
If you were benching 200 pounds before, aim to keep benching 200 pounds while dieting. If you are adding some higher rep, metabolic conditioning training into your routine, just be sure that at least once a week, you’re hitting each of your main lifts (bench, rows, squats, and deadlifts) heavy. This will go a long way towards preventing the natural strength decline that can otherwise occur.
So there you have some quick tips to help you maintain superior strength next time you find yourself dieting. Are there any tips you’d add to this?