Weight loss: How to lose weight and retain muscle from home with simple diet changes

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Weight loss occurs when a diet is in a calorie deficit, meaning more calories are being burnt than being consumed. Muscle is also built when the muscles are exercised but with the gyms closing on Thursday, some may find it hard to retain muscle. An expert has shared top tips on how to keep muscle-building and weight loss on track until gyms reopen. 

Steven Virtue, Fitness Content and Programming Manager at Total Fitness has shared his top tips on how to keep on track while spending more time at home.

Protein and calories

Protein is well-known to help slimmers lose weight, but it also helps build muscle top.

Steven said: “Protein is an essential part of maintaining, recovery and growth of muscle tissue.

“It’s important to eat the right amount of protein within a balanced diet to prevent your body from entering a catabolic state where it starts to break down muscle tissue for energy.”

According to Healthline, protein may be the most important macronutrient for weight loss.

Protein also helps boost the metabolism which will help the body burn more calories at rest and during exercise.

The expert added: ”If you’re unsure of how much protein you should be consuming each day in order to gain muscle, a good starting point is 1g of protein per 1lb of bodyweight. 

“Once you have figured this out, consume the other proportion of your calories in carbohydrates and fats ensuring you are in a ‘calorie surplus’ which is when the amount of calories we consume is higher than the number of calories we burn through physical activity. 

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“The body then uses these excess calories to increase lean mass. If you simply want to retain muscle mass, then be sure to eat the same number of calories as you burn so there is a balanced approach.”

Sleep

Getting into a good sleeping pattern is essential for weight loss and the growth of muscle.

Lack of sleep can sabotage weight loss and has been linked to increased belly fat.

Steven explained: Sleep is a crucial part of your circadian rhythm and essential not only to the maintenance and growth of tissue, but health and hormonal balance too. 

“When sleeping, your body produces and circulates its own muscle-building hormones which contribute towards the processes of muscle growth and repair. The hormonal balance benefit of sleep will also help to keep you motivated to train. 

“You should be aiming for at least seven hours of sleep each night and for best results choose a bed time and wake up time that you can consistently stick to.”

Hydration

Water is important for anyone, following a diet or not, but when looking to lose weight and build muscle, increasing water intake can help.

The fitness expert said: “Studies suggest that when we are dehydrated the rate of muscle growth slows and the body actually starts to break down muscle quicker. 

“This means that if you are not meeting your daily water intake requirements, all of the previous steps you may be taking will be to no avail. 

“Everyone’s anatomy and requirements differ slightly but as a general rule, aim for two-three pints or 1.5litres of water per day.”

A lot of people struggle to drink enough water but this can be consumed in squash and green tea, although filtered water is the healthiest.

Train everyday

With the gyms being shut for an unknown amount of time, people may try to increase their training routine at home.

Steven explains that weight resistance training is the most effective and conventional method.

Some strength training can even be more effective for losing fat than cardio, however, the combination of the both is the best.

He said: “With the gyms remaining shut, your access to a full range of weights may be limited but you can still utilise Full Body Resistance Training (FBR ) using your bodyweight. 

“This approach doesn’t have to be complicated – there are plenty of bodyweight routine resources available online but push ups, squats, lunges, burpees, dips, and sit ups should be staples in your workout routine as these are ‘compound’ exercises, meaning they work multiple muscle groups at once and will give you the most bang for your buck. 

“The key to building and retaining muscle mass with this approach is increasing the reps you do, training to failure (until you can’t do any more reps), increasing time under tension (speed of the movement), and ensuring you push harder than your last session.

“Look out for Total Fitness’s new OneZone Spaces when the gyms are allowed to reopen,  as these cater to FBR Resistance Protocols in a safe, socially distanced environment.”

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