How to lose fat without losing muscle

Previously I have written an article about bulking and cutting the right way in this article I explained that when you are in cutting phase which is losing body fat, you could lose your hard earned muscles if you do it wrong. And most people who are trying to lose body fat end up losing strength and muscle mass in the process. In order to lose body fat without losing muscle mass you need to follow careful diet and workout schedule you can’t just stop eating and hope for the best, you need to count your calories when cutting same way you should be counting your calories when bulking. You don’t want to drop too many calories otherwise you will start losing more muscle mass specially calories from protein. What you want to do is slowly drop your carbohydrate calories and replace simple carbohydrates with complex carbs track your progress until you are satisfied with your current body fat percentage.

Why gain fat when bulking at the first place?

First thing that comes in mind when we think about a way to lose fat without losing muscle is that why do we even need that, I mean can’t we just gain muscles without gaining any fat and gain pure lean mass so we don’t have to go through the phase of starvation in order to loose fat without loosing muscle mass? Well in perfect World anyone would want that but that is just a fairly tale, in real World its impossible to gain muscles without gaining fat as I explained in my article about how much carbohydrates per pound of body weight that our body needs energy to build muscle and without enough energy coming from carbohydrates and fats its impossible to build muscles, and to lose fat we need to have less amount of energy in our system than we actually spent so our body goes towards its stored energy which is stored in form of fats.

Why do we lose muscle when in caloric deficit?

Now that we have established that we can’t gain muscles without gaining fat next question arises that why do we lose muscles when we are trying to lose only fat. Well to lose fat without losing muscles is challenging task specially if you have to lose lots of body fat and it depends upon how fast you want to lose fat. If you want to lose less body fat per week than its likely that your body will keep most of its muscle mass and you will lose fat without losing muscle mass but still you will lose some muscle mass. What your body does is it converts most of the fat to energy but it also converts some of the muscles to energy its most likely that if you go slow and give yourself enough time to lose fat you will lose very little muscle in caloric deficit but its impossible to keep all muscle mass and only lose body fat.

Caloric deficit to lose fat without losing muscle mass

Caloric deficit is important to lose body fat if you are consuming less calories than you spent your body will convert your body fat to energy and use that as source of energy. Whenever glycogen is low your body converts body fat to energy and this process is called ketones, ketones is process of converting fatty acids by liver to energy without caloric deficit your body will just use glycogen as energy source as its easy for your body to use carbohydrates directly than going through extra trouble of breaking down fat into ketonesĀ  and then using them for energy so when you are eating enough calories your body will be happy to use glycogen it gets from carbohydrates than going through trouble of using stored energy or body fat. So caloric deficit is important to lose body fat.

Don’t drop your calories too much though start with reducing 200 calories that is 50 grams of carbohydrates and see if you are losing body fat, if you are but its too slow you can reduce another 100 calories and cut another 25 grams of carbohydrates but don’t drop 500 calories all together specially calories from protein as that will only make you lose hard earned muscle mass.

Eat enough protein

As explained earlier that body can convert protein to energy and protein are also needed for various body functions like building various enzymes, building anti bodies etc, so if you don’t eat enough protein your body is going to convert your muscles to amino acids and utilize those for necessary functions and you will start to lose your hard earned muscles so in order to lose fat without losing muscle you should be eating even more proteins than you do when bulking, yes your body can convert protein to glycogen and use that for energy but that is itself in-efficient process and requires energy so that means that eating more protein will not only help you keep your hard earned muscles but will also add to burning energy process and getting you more lean. If you are not able to get enough proteins from food you should consider using whey protein powder specially post workout and in early morning. I would recommend eating at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight if you can eat any more than that, it will be good but anything less than 1 pound of protein per pound of your body weight and in my experience you are likely to lose muscle mass.

Lift same amount of iron at gym

When you are bulking you are looking to force yourself and out perform your previous workout even if that means doing one more rep or increasing one pound extra weight lift, that is needed when you want to build muscle mass and grow but when you are looking to lose fat without losing muscle mass, you don’t want to break your muscle tissue what you want to do is maintain same strength level and keep lifting same same amount of weight, this will send signals to your body that it needs to keep those muscles. You won’t be building any muscles on caloric deficit diet but goal here is to avoid losing muscle mass when losing fat. Strength training itself helps in losing body fat as well when in caloric deficit I have experience I lose some amount of body fat when doing strength training as when lifting weight your body will be using glycogen stored in muscle and if body is already on low glycogen, it will work towards converting body fat to energy that’s how cardio works as well.

Perform cardio once or twice a week

Cardio is important if you want to lose body fat quickly, be it low steady state cardio such as walking or high intensity interval training such as squat thrust. High intensity interval training is best when you are trying to lose fat without losing muscle as its for short term and it doesn’t burns muscles, when performing low steady state cardio for longer period of time you risk losing muscle mass as longer the cardio period more muscle mass you will lose. So I would recommend doing cardio at least once or twice a week if you want to lose fat without losing muscle but don’t over do it, as over doing cardio will work negatively and you will end up losing muscle mass.


With proper diet and proper carefully planned schedule it is possible to lose fat without losing muscle but you will need to be very careful and try not to lose anything more than 1.5 pound of body weight per week, if you lose anything more than that you are likely to lose those hard earned muscles. Cardio will speed up the process of losing body fat and at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is needed to maintain muscle mass. You can share your experience of losing fat without losing muscles here and how did that workout for you.

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