4 Ways to Lose Fat Without Losing Muscles

 1. Balance between aerobic exercise and core training [2] 

Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular capability, which expands the endurance of the body to burn excess calories (fats) in limited amounts of oxygen. The beneficial threads of aerobic exercise are to increase the overall physique and prevent metabolic syndrome such as obesity, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases etc. Despite the beneficial impacts given by aerobic exercise, one must also focus on core muscle training in order to increase the muscle build up in the body. Core training allows one to focus on training a particular part of muscles and joints together, where it could tone up a desired body composition. A balanced training between aerobic exercise and core training is effective in building up a healthy and balanced body. 

2. Sufficient nutrient intakes for muscle building [1] 

Providing the body essential nutrients to support and generate normal metabolism rate is as important compared with exercising. Many people underestimate how much they eat, which easily leads to overeating while creating a positive energy balance. On the other hand, very-low-calorie-diets are not necessary or recommended by nutrition experts, but in order to lose fat, a modest calorie deficit is required, which means burning more calories than food consumptions, but not so many that the body becomes starved of energy. 

3. Healthy sleep habits [3] 

Despite dietary advice and physical activity schedules, a healthy sleeping habit is another factor where many overlook. Some of the crucial process for muscle growth happen during sleep, especially the stage of deep sleep (non-REM sleep). The growth hormone for muscle will be produced for tissue growth and muscle repair. The muscles relax during sleep, where it helps to relieve tension and is able to reduce pain. In sufficient sleep/ unhealthy sleep habits in the long term can disrupt the repairing process and gradually leads to chronic pain and fatigue. Furthermore, a lack of sleep lowers the insulin sensitivity, where the glycogen may not be replenished adequately. As a result, one is less likely to be trained as strenuously and frequently as they could, while the risk of diabetes increases simultaneously. 

4. Only maintain moderate calorie deficits [4] 

Losing body fats requires a moderate calorie deficit, which includes a restriction to large amounts of refined carbohydrates, reducing fat consumptions and modest increase of lean protein intake. Muscle building demands a sufficient amount of proteins to prepare the body into an energy fueling state. Maintaining healthy body weight ensures the body has sufficient sources of energy to create an anabolic environment to encourage muscle growths. 

Angel, Nutritionist
Anna Hoo Clinic


1. Bagchi, D., Nair, S. and Sen, C.K. eds., 2018. Nutrition and enhanced sports performance: muscle building, endurance, and strength. Academic Press. 

2. Barakat, C., Pearson, J., Escalante, G., Campbell, B. and De Souza, E.O., 2020. Body Recomposition: Can Trained Individuals Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time?. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 42(5), pp.7-21. 

3. Martin, T., Arnal, P.J., Hoffman, M.D. and Millet, G.Y., 2018. Sleep habits and strategies of ultramarathon runners. Plos one, 13(5), p.e0194705. 

4. Schoenfeld, B.J. and Aragon, A.A., 2018. How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), pp.1-6