Look lean… and strong with these fitness and diet tips.

When it comes to weight loss, the real objective should be to burn fat but not lose muscles. This is because your muscles are active tissues, essentially the physical location in your body where fat is burned. Muscle mass plays a crucial role when it comes to fitness – when your body builds muscles, it burns energy and fat all the time. The more your muscle mass increases, the faster your body is able to burn calories.

Which means having less of it slows down your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight. Plus, muscles give your body shape and definition. So when you lose more muscles than intended, you tend to look less healthy than someone who is lean and strong because of their muscles. Your muscles grow smaller and your body becomes weaker as a result.

How do you make sure you’re losing fat while retaining your muscle mass? Try these four diet and fitness tips.


#1 Go Easy When Cutting Calories
First thing you do when losing weight is to cut the amount of calories you take it, correct? But going extreme with cutting calories can put your body in starvation mode, making it burn both fat and muscles for fuel. When you’re not taking in enough calories, your body takes from protein from muscles, causing your muscles to lose mass.

A recommendation is to cut between 500 to 1,000 calories from your current daily intake. Forget crash diets – these will cause muscle loss for sure as well as other health problems.

#2 Eat More Protein
Weight loss is not just about what you take away from your diet; it is also about what you include in. Having more protein not only helps you lose more fat but also puts on lean muscle mass. This is because protein feeds your body with essential amino acids to build and maintain muscles.

At the same time, protein boosts your metabolism throughout the day (it takes more energy to digest) and keeps you fuller for longer. Get your protein from sources like eggs, poultry, nuts, dairy, lean meats and fish.

#3 Hit The Weights Machine
To build muscle mass, your body needs to be pushed to do it. In this case, weight training, or resistance training, is the best thing to do to build muscles on top of burning fat.

When you lift weights, you are actually causing damage to your muscle fibers. This jolts the surrounding cells responsible for growing and repairing muscles to get into action, replacing damaged fibers. What this does is make your muscles grow and essentially helps put on the mass. In addition, it also increases the production of muscle protein.

Add variety to your exercise routine – doing cardio only will result in you losing weight but not adding tone. Try to incorporate one to two weight-lifting session per week as well as other exercises like squats, lunges and push-ups to help build muscles.

#4 Get Enough Rest
Rest is just as important as working hard at getting the body you want. During sleep, your muscles recover and rebuild. The process is at its optimal when your sleep is deepest. Hence, skimping on sleep will make this process inefficient. Try to schedule in seven to nine hours every night.