Eating small meals frequently with the right combination of carbohydrates and proteins is important in maintaining and increasing lean muscle mass. Adequate energy should be maintained to train well. Dieting without exercising will lead to high body fat percentage even though you may look thin. On the other hand, overstraining yourself exercising without eating much would leave you exhausted.
Calories- maintaining a high metabolism through workouts and special foods helps the body to continue burning calories much after the workout is over. This requires consuming a steady amount of calories through frequent meals throughout the day. The body would feel energized without having to break down tissue to obtain energy. The calorie intake needs to be less than the expenditure leading to weight loss and muscle gain.
3500 calories is the calorie deficit to be created in order to lose one pound of fat. Therefore, expending 500 calories/ day through exercise or lowering calorie consumption would help in a healthy loss of one pound of fat per week.
Carbohydrates and proteins- Muscle build up needs protein and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates help the body receive the fuel to exercise. On the other hand, proteins provide amino acids to build muscles. If you don’t eat enough carbs, the body starves and will use up your protein intake to dispense energy. This will hamper your build up of lean muscle mass. Therefore a balanced combination of carbohydrates and proteins are required to increase and maintain lean muscle mass.
Standard body fat percentages for men and women are as follows:
Lean (women) – 15-20%
Lean (men) – 8-12%
Normal (women) – 20-25%
Normal (men) – 13-19%
Acceptable to overweight (women) – 26-32%
Acceptable to overweight (men) – 20-24%
Obese (women) – 33% or higher
Obese (men) – 25% or higher
Every body type is different but it has the capacity to reach its potential by shedding fat to build muscle. The right amount of strength and cardio workout juxtaposed with eating frequently and properly aims at maintaining and increasing lean muscle mass. Shedding the extra kilos and lowering body fat percentages would make you feel and look stronger, healthier and energized not to mention giving a boost to your self esteem and confidence.