Currently, there are more diets, workouts, and fat-burning suggestions out there than one person could try in a lifetime. It can make you dizzy just thinking about it! Most people are focused on burning fat and gaining muscle, but what if you just want to lose weight without gaining any muscle mass?
Luckily, this goal is very achievable. Combining a healthy diet with a high-intensity exercise routine that focuses on burning calories instead of increased weight training will have you burning fat without looking bulky in no time.
Let’s take a deeper dive into this complex topic in order to get a better understanding of how you can manipulate your diet and exercise regimen to provide you with the body you’ve always dreamed of.
Focus On Specific Aspects Of Your Workout
In order to lose weight without building any muscle, you need to focus on specific types of exercises that revolve around high-intensity cardio workouts. This doesn’t mean you should skip weight training altogether, it means you need to increase the number of reps and sets you complete instead off increasing the amount of weight you are lifting.
Cardio workouts are great for losing weight without building muscle mass because they are effective at burning a large number of calories in a short amount of time. Focusing on exercises that burn calories will ensure that your body doesn’t create any more fat stores because your body will always be running at a caloric deficit.
Simply put, this means you need to burn more calories than you take in on a daily basis. Some popular cardio activities include:
- Cross country skiing
- Jumping rope
This list is by no means all-inclusive, there are endless cardio workouts that you can do at home or in the gym that will help you burn fat without bulking up.
High-Intensity Interval Training
HIIT doesn’t apply to any exercise, in particular, it refers to how you are doing your exercises. It involves doing shorter bursts of an exercise at a higher, or more intense, rate with small recovery breaks in between workouts.
For example, let’s say you prefer to go cycling to get your cardio in for the day. A low-intensity workout would consist of pedaling at a slower speed on a flat surface for an extended period of time. During a HIIT version of this, you would pedal as fast as you could uphill for a short period of time, followed by a recovery period of low-intensity cycling.
HIIT is great for people who have trouble staying motivated for extended periods of time because you are burning more calories in less time compared to a low-intensity workout.
Some other benefits of HIIT workouts include:
- Improved blood and oxygen flow throughout the body
- It May help lower blood pressure
- A Faster way to burn calories vs low-intensity training
- Can help regulate blood sugar
It’s not hard to see why HIIT is such a popular option for those who are trying to lose weight fast!
Modifying Work-To-Rest Ratios
The work-to-rest ratio is the amount of time you spend working out in relation to the time you spend resting in between workouts. If you are new to HIIT then you will want to start with a lower ratio so that you don’t get worn out instantly. As you progress, your time working out will exceed the time spent resting.
Start off with a 1:3 ratio, meaning you will rest for 3 times the length that you worked out for. If you are doing 15-second workout intervals, you will then rest for 45 seconds. You can modify the lengths of time as you wish, but try and stick with a 1:3 ratio for the first month, then start to modify the ratio itself.
Following this simple schedule will not only have you burning tons of calories, but it will also keep you challenged as time goes on.
Weight Training With Less Weight And More Reps
Weight training is another great way to burn calories, but it has to be done in a specific way to prevent bulking up. The best way to accomplish this is by lifting less weight, which will promote muscle toning instead of building new muscle.
Increase The Intensity Of Your Weightlifting Regimen
If you choose to try and shed some unwanted pounds through weightlifting, you should increase the number of reps per set. Lifting a lower weight more times is the best way to burn calories without becoming bulky. This method will also help tone the muscles that you already have.
Other Forms Of Exercise Like Yoga And Pilates
Don’t have the time or motivation for intense cardio workouts? No problem, try adding a yoga or pilates class to your schedule! Though they aren’t as great as swimming or biking for burning calories, they offer an avenue for people who need a low-impact exercise activity.
Both yoga and pilates focus on stretching and breathing which promote muscle definition and flexibility. They may not burn quite as many calories as running or jumping rope, but they are much easier on your joints. Many cardio exercises can take their toll on the body, especially if you have previous injuries to the knees, hips, or ankles.
Manipulating Your Diet
Exercise is very important when it comes to losing weight, however, it is only half of the equation. A healthy and balanced diet is just as important as exercise. When it comes to physical health, you get out what you put in so it is imperative that you provide yourself with the necessary fuel to complete high-intensity workout regimens.
There are a staggering amount of different diets out there, and each one claims to have the correct formula for losing weight quickly. The problem with this is that everyone’s body is different, so it is impossible to know exactly how a certain diet will affect different people.
One of the simplest formulas is a tried and true method for losing weight known as a caloric deficit. This means that you need to expend more energy than you put into your body. This will obviously vary between people depending on how many calories they consume, but it is easy to calculate.
If you consume 3,000 calories on an average day, you would need to burn at least 3,001 calories per day to be at a deficit. A difference of 1 calorie isn’t going to provide you with the results that you want, a healthy deficit is going to be closer to 500 calories a day. This figure will increase as your average caloric intake increases as well.
Cutting sugar out of your diet sounds like a simple way to lose weight, but it is actually much more difficult than most people think. Cutting out things like soda and candy is a no-brainer, but most people don’t realize how much sugar can be in foods like bread and fruits.
You should absolutely eat fruit every day to stay healthy, but it would help to switch fruits so that you don’t end up consuming unnecessary sugars that can be converted into fat. Even some healthy multigrain breads can have multiple grams of sugar added for taste, which is even worse for those who want to lose weight because sugars and carbs both result in fat.
Complex Carbohydrates Over Simple Carbs
When it comes to carbohydrates and weight loss there is a lot of conflicting data and opinions out there that make it hard to know whether or not you can consume them. The fact of the matter is that carbohydrates need to be consumed sparingly when trying to lose weight, but you should always choose complex carbohydrates over simple carbs.
Gram for gram complex carbs contain more nutrients than their simple brethren. They are fiber-rich and our bodies process them much slower, which is good for us because they seem more filling. This allows us to eat smaller amounts and have more sustained energy throughout the day.
Some of the most popular foods that contain complex carbs include:
- Whole wheat grains including pasta and brown rice
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
Remember, carbs should be eaten sparingly but if you choose to consume them, make sure they are complex!
Example Of A Workout Plan To Burn Calories
In order to find the perfect workout plan for yourself, you will have to experiment with different activities and regimens to find something that suits your lifestyle and that will help you meet your weight loss goals; however, there are some exercises that serve as the basis for most athletes weight loss programs.
Between Google and a personal trainer, you should have no shortage of options when it comes to creating a workout plan that is both enjoyable and effective. Here’s a basic template for a beginner-level HIIT that focuses on cardio and low-weight training:
Be Patient And Consistent
One of the biggest failures when it comes to weight loss programs is caused by inconsistency and impatience. Changing your appearance can take a long time, and it’s easy to get distracted or throw in the towel because you aren’t getting results as quickly as anticipated.
It can take at least 6 weeks to start noticing even the smallest losses and can take longer depending on factors like metabolism and how strict your training regimen is.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to be patient with yourself while still being consistent. You will likely be tempted to break your diet or skip a day in the gym during the beginning of this new training regimen, but if you can manage to stay consistent, it will become second nature in your schedule.
Do your best to hold yourself accountable! This is where having a workout buddy can come in handy. If you feel that it is easier to hold each other accountable, then try teaming up with a friend to motivate each other to stay the course.
If you are someone who is familiar with keeping a fitness routine, then modifying it in order to maximize weight loss and minimize muscle growth is not a difficult process. Using a two-pronged approach that focuses on diet and workout techniques makes this achievement feasible.
You will need to focus on aerobic exercises that burn a large number of calories. This includes cardio workouts that involve things like running, biking, and swimming. Approaching these activities with a highly intensive approach is the best way to do this.
Your diet should also revolve around your caloric intake so that you can make sure you are burning more calories than you are taking in. This is much easier to do if you cut out large amounts of sugar and simple carbohydrates and replace them with a diet that revolves around fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates (in moderation!).
You will be shedding pounds before you know it if you can stick to these two principles!