How to maximize muscle mass and strength results when approaching a weight-loss phase.

Obviously If the goal of any individual is to drop a few kilograms and become leaner, the individual needs to be expending more calories than they consume consistently over a significant period of time until they have reached their desired goal. This principle is referred to as a “calorie deficit”, if you have followed my coaching practices closely for a while, or other coaches in the fitness space you have probably heard this scientific jargon thrown around frequently. Although this principle is necessary to achieve any weight loss goal, individuals who are pursuing a dieting phase will more often than not take this concept to the extreme and unsurprisingly this can be detrimental to progress being made in the long run. Sure, individuals can obtain fast results through training in excess whilst consuming minimal calories on a day-to-day basis, but my question is, realistically how long can this effort be sustained for and at what cost will this effort have on your overall health?

The most common reason individuals tend to fail their weight loss plan is simply because their selected process is unsustainable. In the fitness space it is often desired to get results fast through relying upon quick fix solutions. Coaches, gym franchises and other fitness corporations have already identified the individuals struggles before they have even considered losing weight and will strategically market to these people typical plans such as, “12 week weight loss challenges” or “Drop 5kgs in 5 weeks or money back guaranteed” enticing you to jump on board. Yes, although these training plans are a great way to motivate individuals to start their fitness journey whilst teaching them to be conscious of their health, it fails to educate people on how to best maximize their results during this process. Studies show 80% of individuals who embark on a weight loss journey will eventually put all the weight back on. Furthermore, during these said plans, individuals will lose a significant amount of muscle mass and strength due to the process being too restrictive in its nature…

To me, fitness as a whole is about bettering yourself each day through learning more, becoming stronger and performing better. Which is why as a coach, I don’t believe that we should be misleading and intentionally il informing people on their journey to make substantial profits. Throughout this blog I am going to share with you my five best tips to approach your dieting phase, ensuring you maximize your results.

Tip 1. Implement a Sustainable Calorie Deficit

Before an individual considers diving straight into a weight loss plan, it is imperative the person has a grasp on the concept of a calorie deficit and understands energy balance. In essence a calorie deficit is, expending (burning) more calories than consuming (eating) on a daily basis. A calorie deficit can be achieved through many different ways and trending fad diets such as intermediate fasting, the keto diet and other various dieting methods will claim that their diet works best. However, this notion couldn’t be further from the truth. There is nothing special about any selected diet plan an individual wishes to pursue as all of these diets inevitably fall under the same principle, the calorie deficit. Through manipulating or restricting meals or macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) the individual is essentially reducing their caloric intake and thus implementing a deficit whether they know it or not. Although fast results can be achieved through this process, I don’t believe this is the smartest or most effective way to obtain long lasting results. In my opinion, demonizing food groups as a whole can be a very unsustainable approach and may lead an individual to resent the process in its entirety. An ideal place to start is through identifying your daily calorie requirements, this is otherwise known as your “maintenance calories”. If you don’t know what your specific daily calorie requirements are, click the link provided here and use this calorie calculator. Once you have identified your maintenance calories I generally suggest to my clients to consume in a sustainable deficit of 10-15% of their maintenance calories daily. The biggest mistake individuals make when they grasp this concept is to immediately restrict calories in excess. Rapid results will certainly be obtained, however, you guessed it, this effort will not be sustainable in the long run. When individuals consume far too few calories that are required over an extensive period of time the subject is essentially underfueling their body and in return neglecting our ability to perform, not to mention the negative effects this will have on hormonal production too. These factors in conjunction will have detrimental effects, not only on the individuals results but also the individuals overall health. This is why I always suggest to clients and people starting out on a dieting phase to try to get away with as many calories as possible whilst ofcourse, staying in a deficit.

Tip 2. Protein Targets

The macronutrient referred to as ‘Protein’ will become very familiar and will probably be your best friend during a dieting phase. Consuming adequate amounts of protein on a daily basis is essentially the building blocks for an individual to maximize and retain lean muscle mass. This energy source is responsible for our bodies ability to build and repair muscles and bones as well as assisting in the production of hormones and enzymes. From a biological standpoint, you can see how this macronutrient is essential in any diet and should never be neglected. When starting out on a diet I often suggest to my clients to focus and track this macronutrient rather than being overwhelmed by the others. Generally, the suggested typical daily requirements for protein ranges between 1.5 - 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight consumed daily. For example if an individual weighs 80 kilograms they could be consuming up to 160 grams of protein per day. However, during a dieting phase, 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight should be the minimum in my opinion. I would go as far as to say implementing 2.5 grams of protein per kilogram daily. The elephant in the room that must be addressed when cutting weight is both, a reduction in muscle mass and an overall reduction adequate recovery. Inevitably, if you are dieting you will lose a degree of muscle mass and your recovery will be lower than usual which may have a detrimental impact on your end goal. Hence, the best way to minimize the reduction of muscle mass and to improve overall recovery is to eat protein in a monitored surplus.

Tip 3. Consume Nutrient Dense Foods

Obviously it goes without saying, individuals should source their foods ideally from ‘healthy’ nutrient rich foods when dieting. Typically, these foods are fewer in calories and far more nutrient rich. This includes lean meats, fruits, vegetables and other organic/ non processed consumables. It is crucial that individuals are consuming highly nutritious foods during a phase where they are consuming fewer calories on a day-to-day basis to ensure they are adequately fueling their body from a micronutrient standpoint. Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, electrolytes etc) play a key role in maintaining and improving energy levels, immune function as well as hormonal production. Through keeping nutrients high on a regular basis an individual may also find themselves to crave calorie dense foods such as snacks / junk foods less and less as nutrient dense foods are typically far more satiating in their nature (keeping you fuller for longer). Although it is paramount that “healthy” foods like these should be a staple to any dieting plan, it is important to note that the individual shouldn't blindly consume these foods without regard to their calorie content. Some nutrient dense foods that are typically higher in fats are also much higher in calories (avocados, nuts, salmon etc). I am not suggesting that you need to eliminate these foods, rather I am stating that you need to become aware of the calorie content in any food group if you wish to remain in a deficit. Yes, you can indeed overeat and gain weight through eating healthy foods too. This is why tracking calories is a necessary tool that should be implemented at the beginning of a dieting phase to create awareness around energy balance.

Tip 4. Stop Changing Your Training Program.

Far too often individuals assume that because they are trying to get “shredded” or lose weight they need to change their program. Whether it be changing their strength training to ‘higher reps and lower weights” or spending hours in the gym doing endless bouts of cardio, there is no merit to this and to an extent, this may be a futile approach. With any resistance training protocol the aim should be to improve the individuals capacity for strength and positive muscle adaptations. As previously mentioned, regardless if you are training or not, if an individual is in a calorie deficit (consuming fewer calories than expending over a period of time) that individual WILL lose weight. I always recommend to my clients to keep their resistance training the same (of course you can add variety to the exercises you are doing) with the goal of trying to maintain or even in some cases, if possible try to improve strength gains during the dieting phase. The concept of ‘progressive overload’ (tracking your resistance training and incrementally improving it overtime) should not be neglected whilst dieting. Thus, this will ensure that you are maximizing your results from a muscular retention and strength standpoint.

Tip 5. Track your progress.

It’s simple, if you are failing to prepare you are preparing to fail. Regularly track and reflect on your progress each day, week and month. The small things create the big achievements. It’s the consistent habits we install each day that will ensure you are staying on track with your goals. A few slip ups here and there won’t be the catalyst for your failures, it all comes down to consistency and focusing on the end goal because consistency is king. Ensure you are monitoring your weight, calorie intake and tracking your daily movement/resistance training throughout this process.

Attached below is the Spike Fitness Nutritional Guidelines Ebook to further assist you with getting on track with your weightloss goals.

Spikefitness nutritional guidelines
Download PDF • 34.16MB

I hope this information was informative and helpful, as always my mission at Spike Fitness is to educate and empower you through raw transparency to provide you with clarity within the fitness industry.

Speak soon,


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