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How to Lose Fat and Not Muscle

written by: pcheatham • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 3/29/2011

Learn how to lose fat and not muscle with these suggestions. Here is a hint: It's a balancing act.

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    Keeping the balance in blood sugar is the key to learning how to lose fat and not muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat; however, muscle is lean and when present, burns more fat. When you lose muscle instead of fat, your blood sugar may be unbalanced. You can control the peaks and valleys of your blood sugar levels and control mood as well as weight gain.

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    Balancing Blood Sugar

    Restructuring your diet is the key factor in how to lose fat and not muscle. Muscles need fuel and the food that fuels those muscles are lean proteins and complex carbohydrates.

    Simple carbohydrates are the enemy. Complex carbohydrates help to burn more fat. Unlike simple carbohydrates, such as, white rice, sweets, pastas, and white sugar, that is released into the body at a faster pace, complex carbs release into the blood stream slowly, which allows the body to burn fat instead of muscle.

    This fuel for the muscles keeps insulin levels low. When insulin is low, the body knows to go deep into the stored fat cells to bring these levels up again, slowly. When the body pulls from the fat cells, it fuels the muscles and leads to weight loss. However, if insulin levels get too high, the body becomes off balance and the muscles are depleted to restore balance.

    Include lean meats, instead of those high in fat. Turkey or chicken without the skin are good options. Fish is low in fat and high in protein and offers another good source of fuel for your muscles. These proteins along with complex carbohydrates will allow you to feel full longer and will help your body to release the fat. Eat brown rice instead of white.

    Try to eat six small meals a day to keep your metabolism reviving and burning fat instead of muscle. A good idea is to plan your meals ahead of time so that you are more prepared and don't have to reach for fast foods and other high fat options.

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    Water

    Drink plenty of water--at least eight glasses--a day. Water will help your body burn more fat by giving your muscle fuel. Water also helps to rid the body of toxins that can be stored in fat.

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    Exercise

    Coupled with a proper diet, exercise will also assist in keeping blood sugar leveled and will help you lose fat and not muscle. Walking at least three times a week is a good place to begin your exercise routine if you haven't exercised in a while.

    Strength training is another type of exercise that will help you gain more muscle and lose stored fat. Lifting your own body weight in the form of push-ups and squats are two effective strength training exercises that you can do at home.

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    Summary

    Providing your body the fuel it needs is how to lose fat and not muscle. The body won't have to draw from its muscle bank. Instead, your body will used stored fat and you will see your body fat decrease. In addition, a strength training routine will help build solid muscle, which adds in burning more fat. The balance is best kept with smaller protein and low fat meals prepared beforehand.