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January is the time when most of us decide to commit to healthier versions of ourselves and for the vast majority goal number one for the year is to ‘lose weight’, but many go about weight loss in the wrong way. What we should really be doing rather than solely aiming to reduce scale weight as quickly as possible, is to lose fat and maintain muscle mass in a calculated matter, this will make long term fat loss easier and make you look a hell of a lot better, instead of skinny fat.

Skinny Fat

A person who looks skinny with a high body fat percentage and low muscle mass. Usually those people have a low caloric diet, do not consume enough protein, overdo the cardio and do not strength train.

Here are five tips to help minimise muscle loss when dieting so you don’t join the skinny-fat club.

Eat Adequate Protein

A good place to start is by aiming to consume 1g of protein per lb of body weight. If you have a lot of weight to lose, use your goal weight to calculate protein intake as opposed to your current weight. If you struggle to consume adequate protein through your diet I would suggest supplementing with protein.


Continue Lifting Heavy

If you want to maintain muscle mass then you’ll need to continue lifting heavy throughout your diet phase, switching to very light weights and high reps isn’t going to give you a toned look. Your body needs a reason to hold onto muscle tissue when in a calorie deficit as muscle tissue is very ‘metabolically expensive’ to hold onto, the pink dumbbells won’t create that stimulus, they will only help you lose muscle mass.

Don’t Overdo The Cardio

There is nothing wrong with cardio and contrary to popular belief doing cardio wont result in you losing all your gains, however too much cardio, whilst in a calorie deficit, with inadequate protein can definitely lead to you losing muscle mass. Like with most things the danger is in the dose.

Don’t Drop Calories Too Low

My goal with my fat loss clients is to always keep their calories as high as possible, while still progressing towards their fat loss goal. You’re much better off (and less likely to lose muscle mass) by starting with only a small calorie deficit and lowering as needed vs. starting with a large calorie deficit that leaves you with very little room to manoeuvre once fat loss inevitably stalls.

Don’t Rush The Process

If you rush the fat loss process with extreme practises and unrealistic goals then you are likely to crash and burn rapidly. Strive to make fat loss a gradual process that ends up turning into a lifestyle instead of an annual quick fix. I would advise you to aim for a loss of 0.5 – 1% of total body weight per week.

I hope this helps, if you have any additional questions please feel free to email me at

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