T Nation

Lose Fat. Not Muscle.



I'm currently wanting to lose a good bit of fat and become "ripped" as
they say. I've got a decent amount of muscle mass and I've been working out a lot, so I'm pretty sure I
will look rather good with a low body fat % as opposed to looking
skinny. My question is this:

Most people say only reduce your maintenance calories by 500 a day to
lose only 1Ib of fat per week and lift heavy, this method is
supposedly the safest for not losing muscle mass. Can I in fact drop
my calories more than 500 a day and lose more than 1Ib of fat per week
without putting myself at risk for losing muscle?

I'm young, only 19 and not fat but not as lean as I want to be, and I
have a fairly high metabolism and on top of all that, I'm highly
disciplined. SO, I'm fairly confident that I can shred 4-5 pounds per
week easily. This amount would be much more ideal for me as far as
time goes as opposed to losing 1Ib a week(taking 4-5 weeks to lose
only 4-5Ibs).

So please let me know if it is okay to eat less than 500-maintenance
and lose more than 1Ib per week, or will I be risking losing a lot of
my hard-earned muscle mass? If it's not okay to do that, what about eat 500 below maintenance and running enough to lose 4-5Ibs per week?

Also, yes I've heard about shredding water weight, I plan to do that after I lose enough fat.




Anyone can starve weight of quickly. that is easy. So that is why most people do that. They drop a TON of muscle as well.

At a rate of 20 lbs of weight loss a month.. you will loose a lot of muscle.


I have been doing Weight Watchers with my GF for the last 10 weeks. Lifting weights 3X a week and about 30 min of cardio 2 - 3X on the off days. I have lost 18 pounds in those 10 weeks so just about 2 pounds a week. I don't feel like I've lost any muscle at that rate.

Of course, Biggest Loser contestants have lose 100 pounds in that same time frame while adding muscle.....


of course, biggest loser contestants are:
1. 100 lbs or more overweight
2. untrained, thus any change in diet/exercise WILL produce results
3. funded by a major broadcasting company- all the right food, supps, and motivation any dieter could ask for.

@OP if you want to really preserve muscle, take 5-10g BCAA before any physical activity (cardio, weights etc) and make sure to get at least 1.5g protein/lb.


Have you read through the V-Diet forum? I'm not saying you must do the V-Diet (you can of course), but by following the principles of the diet you will lose as much fat as you can while maintaining most of your muscle. And read up the Rapid Fat Loss thread on this forum as well.


Unless you weigh 300lbs, you're not going to lose 4-5 lbs a week past the first week or two.

2lb a week is the sweet spot people usually aim for, but it depends on your current stats (not provided), your training (not provided), and your goals (provided, but in a general and not so helpful way). Notice how the advice is therefore not provided.

Btw, for normal people, shredding water weight is a side-effect of dieting due to lower carbs, lower calories, higher protein, and lower sodium. Unless you're preparing for a contest, why in the world would you shred water weight?


It is OK - and possible!

On the Rapid Fat Loss Diet, I ate a diet almost 2,000 kcal below maintenance.


Agreed. When I think I'm behind on my cut for whatever reason I increase my deficit and exenditure. I can typically get 3-4lbs of fatloss that week. This is all the while keeping strength/muscle.


Wow. This rapid fat loss diet sounds exactly like what I'm looking for. Can I get a link?

Also thanks to all who posted. I really appreciate your help. My exact goal is to drop as many pounds of fat per week while retaining as much muscle mass as physically possible. If that means I have to drop ONLY 1Ib per week then I'll do it, but if there's a faster way then I'd sure as heck like to take advantage of the fact that I've got a racing 19 year old metabolism. I've been working a long time to get a muscular body, now it's time to shed the fat to get to see all this hard-earned muscle, and get a low enough body fat % to get at least visible abs. I'm not looking for grenade sized abs, but just some tone and outlining visibility down there. Maybe if it works out good enough I'll continue to drop my body fat % to get that total six pack effect, but as of now I just want to get it low enough to be nice and jaw droppin' this summer during the many pool parties. I'm sure most of you can relate. :wink:

Thanks again to all.


Buy it at www.bodyrecomposition.com. Read the book in FULL.

"... I've got a racing 19 year old metabolism."

Why are you considering the RFL diet then?

"I've been working a long time to get a muscular body... "

No you haven't; you're 19 years old and not the next Casey Viator.

Provide us with your height and weight as well as personal bests in the squat and deadlift.


Awesome. Thanks guys. This looks like exactly what I'm looking for. Love the e-book format too. Thanks again.

Why are you considering the RFL diet then?

A: Because I want something that helps me lose weight/fat fast, which would in turn take advantage of my fast metabolism. More importantly, I want the cold, hard facts about the best way to lose fat fast while retaining as much muscle as possible.

No you haven't; you're 19 years old and not the next Casey Viator.

Provide us with your height and weight as well as personal bests in the squat and deadlift.

A: Sorry, bit of confusion. I'm muscular by my standards and have made HUGE improvements over what I used to be and look like. And I never said I was the next Casey Viator. And lastly, I definitely have worked hard to get the muscle I have. I'm not an easy gainer, I'm the exact opposite. Every pound of muscle I have had to be worked for. And worked hard.


This happened to me and pissed me off. Last month april 5th i went to this nutrition place and they weighed me at 218 lbs with 21% bf I was like holy hell this is some shit 21% that's crazy I'm going to lean down next month see how that goes...

So i switched my diet up to very healthy only drinking water, shakes, carbs coming from oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes. everything on point i got down to 208 lbs I got on the same scale that measures bf% low and behold 21% bf at 208 lbs... WTF! That cant be right 10 pounds of muscle loss with no bodyfat reduction?!?!


Why are you standing on a scale to read your body fat? Those scales are VERY inaccurate and are honestly a flat out waste of time. I get readings as high as the upper 20% on those things (I have current profile pics). They will stress you out and make you abandon your hard dieting ways.


Not to be a hardass, but when I lost all my weight after I was done with football, I lost 40 pounds in the first six weeks. I was a 285 pound lineman, but I was by no means obese. That's an average of 6 2/3 pounds per week. At the same time, I PR'ed at the snatch and clean and jerk several times.

The original poster probably doesn't need to lose that kind of weight nor at that kind of pace, but it is possible.


Am I the only one who thinks this guy is trolling?


elusive got to say checked the profile pics and your looking awesome man yeah i am taking that bf scale not to heart it sucks though cause thought it could be a useful tool to track my progress. it seemed pretty legit you hold onto these things with your hand got to be barefoot and they print out a fancy little sheet of info and everything. mirror and pics dont lie tho good adivce.

you do any cardio to get to where your at or just dieting.. i'm thinking of throwing in some cardio but not sure if i should do it fasted in the am or during the afternoon with a little something something in me.


I usually rely on my diet for the most part, but throw in cardio (fasted morning low intensity. ex: 3mph Walking on tread at 5% incline) when I feel that my fatloss is slowing down. Then I start adjusting both diet and cardio. I'm also pretty active lately playing basketball about 3 days a week for about 3-4 hours each time.

I'm often switching up what kind of diet approach I use, as I like to experiment on myself to see what works or doesn't (usually to see what works "faster"). The Carb Cycle Experience thread is bascially what I'm doing now.


Its crossed my mind.


What are the fundamental guidelines on that diet without going into extreme detail if possible. Is it simply high protein, low fat, low carb to remain in a deficit?