If you have successfully assessed your body composition and know that you have some excess body fat to tackle, here we deal with how to lose the fat and keep the muscle.
First, despite what you may have heard, it can be challenging to lose body fat entirely when you lose weight. In fact, for every pound you lose, you will always lose some lean body mass, and that has much to do with how drastically you cut your calories and protein intake and how much body fat you currently have.
However, no matter how slow or how fast you lose weight, some percentage of the weight loss will be nonfat mass. An interesting review of studies showed that you can lose 80 percent nonfat mass when losing weight when you are lean to begin with and attempt to cut calories too drastically. In the best-case scenarios, which have been done with overweight or obese individuals, they can lose a higher percentage of fat mass when they adhere to a diet and exercise program. However, individuals with 10 or 15 percent body fat to start with will lose more than 50 percent fat-free mass when losing weight.
To maximize fat loss, it's important to take the right steps to lose weight, which is to only moderately cut calories and watch nutrient timing and protein quality in the diet to help spare as much lean tissue as possible. Most research suggests that a combination of diet and exercise is best for achieving weight loss and keeping it off. However, when it comes to just losing weight, diet is the most effective. Consider this study: Six endurance-trained men followed a diet with a 1,000-calorie-per-day deficit for seven days by either (a) exercising more while maintaining their caloric intake, or (b) eating less while keeping exercise the same. The exercise group lost only 1.67 pounds, and the diet group lost 4.75 pounds. However, other studies in well-controlled environments have found that whether the caloric deficit is attained by diet or exercise, the net weight loss should be the same.
We recommend a combination of diet and exercise, with an emphasis on diet until you reach your goal body composition.
Step One: Calculate Your Calorie Needs
The first step to losing weight is to determine how many calories you currently eat to sustain your weight. Then, from there, we reduce those calories by 500 to 1,000 calories a day through a combination of diet changes and exercise to promote weight loss.
Use the following calculation to determine your calorie need; then multiply it by the activity factor to determine your overall calorie requirements to lose weight. Start by calculating your resting metabolic rate (RMR). (To convert your height from inches to centimeters, multiply by 2.54. To convert your weight in pounds to kilograms, divide by 2.2.)
Harris Benedict Equation for Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
Men: RMR = 88.36 + (4.8 x ht. in cm) + (13.4 x wt. in kg)
Women: RMR = 447 + (3.1 x ht. in cm) + (9.2 x wt. in kg)
Example: Bob is a thirty-two-year-old male who is 6 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds:
88.36 + (4.8 x 183) + (13.4 x 72kg) - (5.68 x 32) = 1750
Alternate: Nearly as reliable, consider 1 calorie/kilogram body weight/hour x 24 hours:
160-pound athlete 160/2.2 = 72 kg
To then estimate total caloric expenditure, multiply your RMR by one of the activity factors below.
RMR x 1.5 = weight maintenance for light exercisers
RMR x 1.8 = weight maintenance for moderately active people
(up to 1 hour per day of activity) RMR x 2.0 = weight maintenance for athletes exercising over an hour per day
RMR x 2.4 = weight maintenance for endurance athletes -Total Daily Energy Expenditure
Finally, subtract calories to determine your desired rate of weight loss.
subtract 500 calories =-for about a pound per week weight loss subtract 1,000 calories =-to lose about two pounds per week
Step Two: Determine Protein Requirements
When actively losing weight, it's best to obtain double the protein requirement of the RDA of .8 gram per kilogram (.36 gram per pound). When losing weight, strive to have 1.6 to 1.8 grams per kilogram or .7 to .8 gram of protein per pound. Also, it has been found that higher-quality proteins rich in essential amino acids may offer additional benefits to incomplete protein sources.
Step Three: Determine Carbohydrate Requirements
As an athlete, carbohydrates are required to sustain physical activity and your central nervous system. During times of weight loss, it's okay to reduce carbohydrates to 5 to 6 grams per kilogram from 8 to 10 grams per kilogram or during times of intense training.
Step Four: Determine Fat Requirements
Once you calculate how much protein and carbohydrates are needed, the remainder of your daily calories should come from fat. In many cases, fat will be less than 20 percent of calories.
Step Five: Use the Eating-for-Energy Meal Suggestions in Chapter 11
This will help ensure that you are getting the appropriate calories.
Step Six: Include High-Quality Protein (Eggs, Meat, Poultry, Seafood) at Meals Whenever Possible
Research suggests that the essential amino acids and branched chain amino acids are best for muscle-sparing, protein-stimulating benefits. In addition, protein is satiating, so it helps to keep you fuller longer to help curb your appetite.
Step Seven: After Training, within an Hour Try to Get In Some Type of Protein Rich in Essential Amino Acids
One study found that providing 6 grams of essential amino acids in a beverage after resistance training helped athletes retain muscle mass. Nine amino acids are generally regarded as essential for humans: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, histidine, valine, and phenylalanine.
Step Eight: Don't Skip Meals
Some studies have found that when athletes lose weight, the more they can keep energy intake matched to expenditure, the easier it is to lose body fat. For example, those who had the biggest variation in calorie intake (huge meals, then skipping meals) were more likely to have a higher percentage of body fats.
Step Nine: Eat a Healthy, Fiber-Rich Breakfast
Breakfast eaters have lower BMIs than do morning meal skippers. Research shows that breakfasts that are fiber rich (e.g., oats) may help with fat losses over sugary breakfasts.
Step Ten: Keep Weight Loss to No More Than a Pound or Two per Week Whenever Possible
As the rate of weight loss increases, so too does the percentage of fat-free mass (water, muscle, glycogen) that's lost, regardless of how much protein you consume.
Step Eleven: Continue to Train
Step Twelve: Consume Adequate Amounts of Carbohydrates before, during, and after Your Training
This will help compensate for the low muscle glycogen stores that will result from being in energy deficit as you lose weight.
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