Is it possible to lose muscle mass in a healthy way?

Most people seek to gain muscle and to achieve this they go to great lengths and sometimes sacrifices. However, there are those who want to lose muscle mass, for various reasons.

Sometimes people perceive that their body is too bulky or that it does not have a good balance from an aesthetic point of view. They may also feel that the clothes do not fit them or do not look as they would like. That is why they want to lose muscle mass.

The point is that To achieve this objective, actions must be carried out that do not endanger health, or generate undesirable effects. The ideal is to lose muscle mass in a healthy way and preventing complications, not starving or taking drastic actions.

How do you develop muscle mass?

Muscles are made up of fibers, which are like ropes, of different characteristics. Their number does not increase or decrease, but remains the same from birth. What can be achieved is that they change their thickness and shape.

Muscles increase in volume when strength training is done, combined with a high protein diet and calories. The training itself causes micro-injuries and the body repairs them by adding more tissue.

For this muscle growth to occur, it is necessary for the cells to have protein available. Therefore, training requires adequate nutrition for the process to develop in a healthy way.

How can I lose muscle mass?

Those who want to lose muscle mass must carry out a process in reverse to that of gaining muscle. In this case also the two basic factors influence: diet and exercise. However, for obvious reasons, they are approached differently.

In general terms, the following actions should be taken: eat fewer calories and protein, do cardio and reduce or eliminate strength training. Let's look at this in more detail.

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Changes in diet

To lose muscle mass it is necessary to carry out a deficit diet. This means that fewer calories should be consumed than are burned. The calculation is done per day and is the golden rule to lose weight and lose muscle.

The most appropriate thing is to calculate the Total Daily Energy Expenditure, according to sex, age and the type of activities that are carried out. Once you have that data, it is advisable to reduce 500 calories in the daily diet. As for protein, the appropriate thing is to consume 0.36 grams per day, per pound of body weight.

Now, it would be possible to lose muscle mass just by stopping training and maintaining a deficit diet. However, this is not advised as strength and cardiovascular fitness are also lost, in a period of between three and four weeks.

If what you want is to lose muscle, a proper diet should include foods like the following:

  • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or non-fat dairy.
  • Fish, poultry, lean red meat, eggs, beans, and nuts.
  • Salt, saturated fats, trans fats and sugars in minimal quantity.

Changes in exercise routine

The other factor to take into account to lose muscle mass is a change in exercise routine. Obviously, strength training should be eliminated. The usual thing is that, after this, the muscle is reduced in a period of between two and 12 weeks.

As we already noted, it is not convenient to put aside physical activity. It is appropriate to change strength exercises for other cardio. Long, intense cardio workouts are highly recommended for muscle loss.

Likewise, it is advisable to avoid “pumping” exercises of the legs, if you want to lose muscle mass in the extremities. Therefore, activities on the stationary bike or elliptical are not advisable.

It is estimated that a person loses up to 100 calories for every mile of walking, and half if he walks. If you want to continue with weight training, it is advisable to use ones that are lighter and do not do more than two sessions per week.

Final recommendations

It is very important that before changing your diet and exercise routine you consult your doctor.. It is the competent professional to guide about the convenience of making these modifications; it can also give valuable advice on how best to do it.

Regardless of the reason that motivates the desire to lose muscle mass, it is necessary to keep in mind that this must be done safely. Thus, it is not good to bet on quick changes, nor go to products of dubious origin.

In general terms, to reduce muscle mass you must do the opposite of what you would do to gain it. This, of course, within reasonable parameters, in which health is not sacrificed in order to achieve the desired appearance.