Having a lot of muscle on your body can help you lift objects more efficiently, and it can improve your abilities in sports where strength is needed. The only problem is that it can also slow you down and hinder your flexibility. This is detrimental in sports where quickness is an issue, such as mixed martial arts and basketball. Losing muscle quickly involves a plan similar to one to lose fat.
When you are trying to lose muscle, you are actually trying to lose weight. The best way to do this is through caloric restriction. If you cut back by 500 calories a day, you can lose about 1 lb. a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control. To find your starting intake, monitor your calories for a full day using an online tracker or food diary. Make your adjustment from this number. For example, if you are eating 2,600 calories, your new intake should be 2,100.
Eating multiple meals is a strategy often used for gaining weight, but it can also be used for losing it. By eating small, balanced meals every two to three hours, you can boost your metabolism and keep your appetite under control. Choose healthy foods with your meals and include a portion of protein and complex carbs with each one. A whole-wheat pita with lean turkey breast, sprouts, lettuce and tomato is a meal, for example.
Drinking water is important when you are losing weight. It helps hydrate the body, and it also helps flush toxins from the system. Choose water in place of any other beverages that contain calories. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women get about 90 oz. a day and men get about 125 oz. a day. By drinking water with your meals, you can give yourself a feeling of fullness.
Cardiovascular exercise is perhaps the most important aspect of losing muscle. This is the opposite when you are trying to bulk up. Instead of doing short cardio bouts, aim for long duration sessions. To lose weight, the Department of Health recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-paced cardio each week. Choose a type of exercise that you enjoy and work out at a moderate intensity. Jogging, indoor cycling, elliptical training, swimming, jumping rope and step aerobics are examples. Avoid hilly or high-resistance machines that will build muscle.
When you lift heavy weights, you cause your muscles to grow. To lose muscle size, lift light weights and do higher reps with your exercises. Aim for a resistance that will enable you to do 12 to 15 repetitions. You can also take active rest breaks in between your sets to keep your heart rate elevated. For example, walk in place, jump rope or step up and down on an exercise platform. Perform weight training two or three days a week.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.