The Truth About Muscle Loss When Dieting - FitMole

The Truth About Muscle Loss When Dieting

86 Comments | Diet

muscle loss

Muscles are like lizard tails – they can come back if you lose them.

People worry about the weirdest and most irrelevant things when dieting. When you’re dieting, your #1 goal is to lose weight (fat specifically), nothing more, nothing less. You should only be worried about how you’re going to create a calorie deficit for the day.

However minds begin to wonder, goals get distorted, and people begin coming up with these crazy “what if” scenarios.

“What if I eat less and my metabolism slows down?” – Nothing to worry about, covered that here.

“What if I lose weight but regain it all back?” – Then you’re not a very long-term minded person, are you?

“What if I go on a diet, become insanely sexy, and end up causing head-turning car collisions which in turn gets me arrested because of said sexiness and I get a life sentence in a maximum security prison?” – Completely legitimate concern, but that’s just a risk you have to be willing to take.

“What if I lose all my hard-earned muscle while dieting?” – Read the rest of the article.

Muscle loss while dieting is nothing to worry about

I completely understand people’s fear of losing muscle while dieting but the truth is that it’s nothing to worry about.

You see, muscle loss is transient. It’s not permanent. 

So even if you do somehow manage to lose 5 pounds of muscle while dieting, whether it’s due to an illness, extremely low protein intake or lack of resistance training…you’re guaranteed regain that loss once you begin eating normal and resume resistance training.

This is all thanks to muscle memory, which unlike muscle confusion, is a real thing.

Why the hell are you worried about muscle loss?

As long as you’re getting an adequate amount of protein…

As long as you’re consistently weight training while on your diet…

As long as you don’t go on any crazy crash diets….

You’re probably not going to lose any muscle mass. And even if you do manage to lose some… the amount will be minuscule.

Focus on losing body fat, because that’s the hard part. Worrying about muscle loss is just counter-productive.

Once you’re at your desired level of leanness, gaining back any lost muscle will be a relatively easy thing to do.

It’s the mindset of “Oh I should eat more food because I’ll lose muscle” that’s hurting your progress. The only thing eating more food will do is make you fat.

Saying that you should eat more while dieting is just a lame cop out for those who don’t have the discipline of consistently eating less.

Photo Credit – Nuno R.

kai - March 12, 2018

Dear Keith,

i am now 27 y.o, had been doing weight trainings quite frequently for the passed 2 years and started to train consistently 4 days + 2-3 cardio sessions/week since August; but i did went for travelling for 2 weeks twice during the period;

my daily protein intake is around 1.2-1.5g/lbs and carbs around 100-120g daily, fat would be less than 50/day.

but it seems to me that my progress is quite slow?
i started with (August) 77.8kg, 22.7% body fat, 57kg muscle mass -> 80.9kg, 23.2% bf, 58.9kg muscle mass (December) and now i am at 79.3kg, 21.5% bf, 59kg muscle mass(march)

had been in calorie deficit for the passed 2 months already but the progress seems slow to me.

Do you think i should proceed with more cardio and lessen my protein intake to get myself down to around 15% body fat?

Thank you.

    Keith - March 13, 2018

    1.2-1.5g for protein is unnecessary. 1g max is what i recommend. Even 0.8 is fine.

    Are you sure you’re in a deficit? A lot of time people are simply not tracking accurately.


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