How to Lose Body Fat and Preserve Lean Muscle

How to Lose Body Fat and Preserve Lean Muscle
Article written by:
Lana Cooksey
My goal is to improve the quality of life for all my clients by helping them feel stronger, healthier, and more confident.

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How to Lose Body Fat and Preserve Lean Muscle

Hello, Bradenton Belles! How are your summer workouts going? Here in southwest Florida, this is a great time of year to take your workouts inside. And what better workout setting than a local, boutique gym created for women, by women?

Especially when that women’s-only gym has supportive, certified trainers to make sure you’re optimizing your air-conditioned workouts with the right combo of lean muscle-maintaining, metabolism-boosting weight training, and fat-burning cardio.

Why is Maintaining Muscle Important?

Short answer: Lean muscle is the key to your metabolism (not to mention your cardiovascular health, joint health, balance, and even brain health).

We tend to associate fat-burning with movement and cardio. But what’s actually burning fat when you move? Your muscles are. Your muscles are what demand that fuel.

The more lean muscle mass you have—that is, tissue density, not area or size—the more fuel your muscles demand to burn.

Without lean muscle mass, cardio is highly ineffective. If you don’t have lean muscle and you’re only doing low-impact cardio, you’ll have to do it for hours upon hours every day just to make the slightest dent in your body fat.

What is “Lean Muscle”?

Remember: When we talk about muscle-building, weightlifting, and strength training for women’s bodies, we are not talking about bulk. In fact, we specifically work to build lean muscle mass. That’s the healthy, effective, durable muscle that performs the way you need it to perform without sacrificing flexibility.

Ultimately, all muscle is “lean muscle.” But when we use that term, we’re referring to functional strength training and our physical training goals, which are to develop healthy bodies that have both the strength and range of movement to perform a wide variety of tasks and activities.

Whereas traditional “muscle-building” creates no additional benefits but bulk, which develops in part when muscles aren’t trained to their full range of motion. “Lean muscle” refers to muscles that burn just as much fuel, without taking up extra space or restricting motion.

The results of functional weight training are long, firm, “lean” muscles that retain flexibility as well as strength and definition.

How Do You Preserve Lean Muscle and Burn Fat Efficiently and Long-term?

Essentially, you need to combine a constructive strength-training regimen with efficient, fat-burning cardio, maintaining intensity without overdoing it. It’s a tricky balance! That’s why professional workout guidance is key.

Whether working one-on-one personal training or in any of our small-group fitness classes, Bradenton’s premier women’s gym provides the guidance you need to burn fat effectively, while staying healthy and maintaining muscle so you’ll keep burning fat afterward and feel great for your next workout, too.

Of course, in order to lose fat without losing muscle, you need to make sure your nutrition is in order, too. Never fear! If you’re in Bradenton, Lana’s certified trainers can provide dietary tips and guidance, too. After all, when we say “whole-body fitness,” we mean it—in the gym and out!

Why is HIIT Better Than Steady-State Cardio?

High-intensity interval training is much better for preserving lean muscle and much more effective than steady-state cardio at burning fat because it creates what’s known as EPOC, or Exercise Post-Oxygen Consumption. EPOC puts the body into fat-burning mode for 24 hours after each HIIT workout.

During a lengthy, steady-state cardio workout (ie walking or running), the body will stop using fat and/or carbohydrates for fuel and start using protein—that is, your muscle mass. We certainly don’t want that!

Bradenton HIIT, Bootcamp and Tabata for Women

Fortunately, you don’t need to specify that you want muscle maintenance at Lana’s. Strength training and functional fitness are what we do!

Want to give it a try? We offer a menu of small-group fitness classes that will show you exactly what muscle-saving fat-burning feels like and looks like.

Bradenton HIIT, or “High-Intensity Interval Training” incorporates short bursts of anabolic, muscle-targeted movements and exercises. If you’ve never tried HIIT, you don’t know what you’re missing: High-energy workouts that feel like cardio routines, but actually work muscles like strength training.

Tabata takes the principles of HIIT and streamlines exercises to four-minute bursts. Great for getting into fat-burning mode while you’re on a tight schedule, so a shorter, intense workout lasts all day long.

Lana’s Bootcamps are true Bradenton creations—small-group workouts focused on different muscle groups on alternating days of the week.

Lana’s small-group classes are designed to build muscle on alternating days, ensuring each muscle group gets proper recovery. (Muscles grow during recovery and repair, not when they’re working. Improper recovery time between muscle groups can actually hinder results and cause injury.) Then, we burn fat on the other days, creating a structured and effective program for losing fat and gaining muscle. The result? That lean, toned look most of us are striving for.

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