Building Muscle During Fat Reduction
Losing weight during a diet is not a real risk unless you are suffering from a "true" 9 percent body fat or less. I say "real" because most people who think they are 9-10 percent are more likely 13 percent or more. Take a look at this photo of me:
Pretty skinny, right? What do you think my body fat was there? 6 percent 5 percent?
Try 9.2 percent! The point is, if you train hard and consume enough protein, there is no reason for you to worry about losing weight until you reach or approach THAT weight.
Now you may have the impression that you are losing muscle because you feel smaller and look smaller. They tend to lose water, fat, intramuscular triglycerides, glycogen, etc. during the diet. Unfortunately, you will not look much better until you are really slim. So you feel smaller in your clothes and do not look much more muscular.
And because of water loss, your strength may even decrease, especially with large compound movements (mostly push exercises). So it's easy to interpret that as muscle loss. In most cases this is not the case.
The cortisol factor
The only reason you could lose muscle during a hard workout is overproduction of cortisol. Cortisol is known as a "stress hormone" because it is released during periods of stress. Training is a stress. This is malnourished.
Two key roles of cortisol are:
- Storing energy (body fat, muscle glycogen, amino acids as muscle tissue) to boost our training.
- When blood sugar levels rise If you reduce carbs and calories, you should fall too low.
Chronic and excessive cortisol increases are the main cause of muscle loss because they directly lead to muscle breakdown. It slows muscle repair / muscle growth by inhibiting the immune system (which is the engine of muscle growth) and limits the number of muscles you can support by increasing myostatin, a protein that acts as a regulator of muscle building in your body functions (more myostatin means less muscle).
Cortisol's function during exercise is to mobilize energy so that the muscles have enough fuel. The more volume you have in your workout, the more cortisol you will produce. So, if you're a natural lifter, increasing exercise volume is one of the things that can lead to muscle loss when you try to lean (and reduce calories).
"Yes, but bodybuilding gurus recommend doing a ton of volume to destroy the fat."
Well, yes, if you suffer from anabolic steroids, it will work, since steroids will protect you from the muscle weakness of cortisol protect. But if you're natural, trying to burn more calories with exercise is one of the best ways to lose muscle!
Rep Ranges and Fat Loss
Well, I'm not against higher reps for fat loss. Sets lasting between 40 and 70 seconds can maintain muscle mass during the diet. These lighter sets cause less muscle damage and are easier to recover.
That's also the set duration in which you have the biggest lactic acid release that's anabolic ̵
The key is to keep the overall volume low and overall high in frequency:
- The volume increases the cortisol, which increases the risk of muscle loss.
- Frequency helps maintain muscle mass by triggering protein synthesis (muscle growth) more frequently.
I recommend The Best Damn Workout Plan for Natural Lifters because they are designed to prevent potential cortisol play and allow the natural lifter to easily maintain or even increase muscle mass during the diet.
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