Losing fat is bittersweet.
On the one hand, you get leaner and more vascular. Not to mention how your face begins to look thinner and your abs become more visible.
But on the other hand, gym performance begins to drop, and it keeps going down until you start eating more food again. That’s the discouraging part.
The question is, can we do something to offset this effect. In other words, can we get leaner and maintain our gym performance? Yes.
Here are four things you need to do:
Rapid fat loss might seem like a great idea, but it carries significant drawbacks. The quicker you lose weight, the more muscle you lose, which directly hinders your gym performance. Your strength goes down, and so does your ability to do enough work.
Rapid weight loss also hinders your performance simply because you’re eating way too few calories. So, you have less energy available to fuel your training, which further exacerbates muscle loss.
A reasonable rate of weight loss is between 0.5 and one percent per week. For instance, if your starting weight is 200 pounds, a good objective for the first few weeks would be to lose one to two pounds per week.
Dieting to lose fat means you’re consuming less energy. This itself means you can’t train as hard or as long as you otherwise could. So, it’s important to re-visit your training program and ‘trim’ the edges.
Specifically, your fat loss training should feature some heavy weight training, but you should limit accessory and isolation movements. Meaning, do more rows, bench presses, squats, and deadlifts, but limit bicep curls, extensions, and other similar exercises.
That way, you can focus on the core lifts, perform better, and retain your performance without wasting your limited energy on activities that won’t do much for you at that point.
Protein is essential for our health and even more so for our fitness outcomes. The nutrient provides us with amino acids, which repair muscle tissue after training, strengthen it, and allow it to grow.
As we lose fat, we also increase the risk of muscle loss. But by getting enough protein, we provide the body with the nutrients it needs to protect muscle mass. In turn, this allows us to burn primarily fat, retain our muscle, and achieve a lean, athletic look. By maintaining more muscle, we also retain our performance and can even improve it over time.
Adequate sleep is essential for effective fat loss and maintaining our gym performance. In one paper, researchers found that simply sleeping two hours more per night resulted in much better fat loss and muscle preservation. That alone hints at the importance of sleep for gym performance while dieting.
Plus, sleep is essential for our health, well-being, energy levels, motivation, and overall mood. Having a good night’s sleep will always benefit your gym performance and keep you operating at peak efficiency.
So, make sure to get at least seven hours of restful sleep per night.