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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 20, 2009

How to Maintain Muscle While Losing Weight

By Mark Sisson
131 Comments

“Losing weight” is insufficient terminology. It’s too vague, too unspecific. When a person sets out to lose weight, just what are they trying to lose? Bone density? Muscle mass? Organ weight? Of course not – they’re generally looking to lose adipose tissue. People want to burn body fat, and they want to do it without negatively impacting the more beneficial sources of (corporeal) gravitas. Simply put, you want to lose fat, not muscle. The only problem is that the popular methods for shedding weight often result in excessive (but really, any amount is excessive) muscle loss, too. I’m talking, of course, about precisely the practices I rail against in the Primal Blueprint Chronic Cardio, ultra low-cal/low-fat ascetic dieting, and other trappings of Conventional Fitness Wisdom. Granted, adhering to any, individually or in concert, will probably help you lose weight, but a ton of it will come from your lean mass (not to mention bones and organs). That said, if you’re going for skinny-fat chic or the waiflike, undernourished look, feel free to run fifteen miles a day and live off canned tuna and rice cakes. The scale will drop, and you won’t be weighed down by that pesky musculature any longer.

But you don’t want that (do you?). You want a strong, lean body. You want to maintain your agility, your power, your strength, and your agreeable appearance. You want to burn fat while maintaining (or even building upon) your existing muscle. Heck, if you’re mostly interested in burning fat, you need the muscle. Muscle is a hungry, wasteful thing. It craves protein and fat to run effectively, along with a bit of glycogen every now and then to fuel up. Next to the organs and the brain, your muscle mass is one of the biggest consumers of energy in the body, and the more you have, the better your fat loss. It’s a delicious cycle – the right kind of exercise spares muscle and burns fat, and more muscle with reduced body fat allows you to do the right kind of exercise.

To make sure you’re losing the right kind of weight, you have to chart your progress. It’s a little more complicated than just watching your total weight, though. In fact, you don’t even really need the scale anymore. Well, you can keep it around, but don’t get too comfortable; your meetings will be fleeting and infrequent from here on out. Spend a little quality time alone, if you must. Get your fill of each other, because you’re going to be using an entirely different set of barometers to monitor your weight loss: eyes, ears, belts, and weights.

Eyes

Check yourself out. Don’t hover in front of the mirror, though. Strip down to the bare essentials and take full body snapshots, making sure to space them out every few days. A lot of people tend to obsess over minor daily fluctuations, but you’re not going to see a whole lot of visual differences that quickly. Five days, six days, or definitely a week, however, can be enough time to notice a difference in a direct comparison. Look out for misshapen lumps, sagging chests, flabby underarms – all signs that you’re losing muscle and maintaining fat.

Ears

If you’re doing it right, you should be getting noticed. Whether it’s a significant other, a co-worker, or friends, people will compliment you. Heed their words. When people say, “You’ve lost weight!” (and they’re not your grandmother clicking her tongue in disapproval) and, “You look stronger and healthier!” it means you’re on the right track. Take it as a sign.

Belts

Losing fat and maintaining muscle means dropping pants sizes. Using an extra notch on the belt is good. Having to buy an entirely new belt is better. Using a hole punch to create new holes because you can’t afford a new belt is pretty bad – but at least you’re still losing fat.

Weights

The best way to ensure you’re maintaining muscle mass is to chart your progress in the weight room. Muscle loss is accompanied by a reduction in strength, so if you find yourself failing to hit the marks you used to destroy with ease, you’re probably eating muscle. It’s a bad sign if you’re dropping weight and doing fewer pull-ups than before.

(You can also use body fat testing to get actual numbers, but I’m a big fan of the above methods. How you feel, look, and lift is going to be enough of a marker for most people.)

Okay, those are a few ways to monitor your progress (or lack thereof), but what about actually doing it? What should we be eating, and how should we be exercising? Short answer: follow the PB way. Eating a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet is pretty crucial in our everyday life, and it’s no different now. Minimizing our insulin load while filling up on fats, meat, and veggies is just as important. Likewise, lifting heavy things and running really fast every once in awhile are keys to promoting fat mobilization and muscle maintenance. You could even just check out the last post I did on building muscle and for the most part all that stuff will apply, too.

But there are a few specifics that bear repeating, and a few areas where today’s advice differs slightly from that of the previous muscle-building post.

Intermittent Fasting

IF is perhaps your greatest tool when losing weight and maintaining muscle. It increases insulin sensitivity (good for mobilizing adipose tissue), promotes the secretion of growth hormone (a muscle sparing, fat burning hormone), and reduces body fat. What’s not to love? It’s almost like the human body’s response to IF was designed specifically for our current predicament. Hmm, I wonder if Grok ever found himself in a situation where food was scarce and muscle mass was precious… For extra benefits, exercise in a fasted state and wait at least an hour before you eat something.

Avoid Excess Chronic Cardio

I know, I know, those words probably still sound like sacrilege to a few of you, but it’s true that constant, Chronic Cardio is catabolic – it retards muscle growth, interrupts protein synthesis, and can even reduce existing muscle mass. Too much exercise (especially highly stressful long distance steady state stuff) releases cortisol, a vitally important “flight-or-flight” hormone that can be incredibly damaging in unnaturally large amounts. In Grok’s day, cortisol would have kicked in when he needed it to jog his senses and get him focused on surviving a momentary threat; nowadays, we’re pelted with stress from all angles, and our body doesn’t differentiate between artificial stress (like work, traffic, or money) and “real” threats. Chronic Cardio is just another unnaturally stressful situation we subject ourselves to, and cortisol is happy to help – except all that help packs on the pounds and eats away at our muscles.

Make Sure You Sprint

Besides, sprinting (or really, any exercise that stimulates lactate production) is a great way to increase growth hormone production and burn body fat while maintaining fast twitch musculature. GH, fasting, sprinting, fat mobilization… it all seems to fit together, huh?

Lift Heavy Things

You fail to move it, you’ll lose it. You can’t forget about lifting, whether it’s with a heavy barbell or your own weight. Resistance training increases bone density, which is an important factor in healthy body weight, and it (obviously) also increases (or maintains, depending on your diet/intensity) muscle mass. Oh, and I probably don’t even have to say it, but heavy lifting (especially compound exercises like squats and deadlifts) also stimulates growth hormone production.

Don’t Go Overboard on the Food

You’re not trying to pack on weight – even if it’s muscle – so there’s no need to stuff yourself. When you’re not fasting, just eat normally. Eat your fill, and stop when you want. Just keep those carbohydrates low, no more than 50g or so for most people, and don’t obsess over calorie counting (in either direction). Focus on saturated and monounsaturated fats (with some fish oil to supplement) and take in about a gram of protein for every pound of lean body mass.

Again, you’d be pretty safe just following the normal Primal eating and exercise plans, getting plenty of rest, minimizing stress, and fasting once in awhile, but I figured a quick and dirty guide with a few clarifications would help ensure you achieve fat loss without sacrificing muscle mass. It’s just too bad that most of the mainstream assumes muscle loss accompanies weight loss – if they even consider it. Let’s hope a few outsiders stumble upon this and realize weight loss doesn’t have to be a compromise.

Shoot me some questions or concerns, if you got ‘em! I’m happy to help.

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131 Comments on "How to Maintain Muscle While Losing Weight"

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Shema
Shema
6 years 11 months ago

Mark – You’ve noted here to keep carbohydrates to no more than 50g. Is that 50g per meal or 50g per day?

Shema
Shema
6 years 11 months ago

One more related question. For non dieting pregnant women, how many carbs do you recommend they consume on a daily basis?

I’m a Type II Diabetic (well controlled with diet and exercise) and am contemplating trying to get pregnant next year. I mentioned this to my endocrinologist who said that while I’m pregnant I would need to raise my carb intake to 150 g per day, and cover that with insulin. (I’m not on insulin now). 150 g per day seems like a lot to me and is way more than I’m consuming now. I’d love to hear your views.

Aaron Blaisdell
6 years 11 months ago

Shema,

Please do not follow your doctor’s advice to raise carbs and then inject insulin while you are pregnant! Please read Genocide: How Your Doctor’s Dietary Ignorance Will Kill You!!!” which is written by a long-time practicing doctor and discuses this very question.

Stacie
Stacie
4 years 9 months ago

I am a type 1 diabetic and have had 4 pregnancies (5 babies). I increased my carbs from 40g, my pre pregnancy intake, to 55g give or take. increasing your carbs will actually contribute to macrosomia in the baby. Your best bet is to increase lean proteins. I was a big fan of peanuts. Fish is good too, but you have to watch mercury. Increasing your carbs and compensating with insulin will cause unneeded fat gain and have ill affects on your baby. please do more research before heading his advice!

Karell
Karell
6 years 11 months ago

50 g a day, not per meal, and total carbs, not net carbs (net carbs wouldn’t include carbs from fiber, total would).
See the Carbohydrate Curb article in the Top Posts section.

Eric
Eric
6 years 4 months ago

Seriously? 50g per meal…if you had 50g a day, you would have hardly enough energy to lift weight or cardio…

That low state of carbs is something only body builders do when they are about a week or so out…

Ryan
Ryan
4 years 11 months ago
I’ve been going 50g and less a day for over a month now, and I feel better than I ever have. My energy is awesome. Carb can be used for energy, but so can fat, and fat energy is more stable, because it doesn’t spike your energy and then drop you down. Body builders do do that, but they do to lose weight, or “cut down” as my bodybuilding friends do. For them, they don’t need keep their carbs that low all the time, but if you are trying to lose body fat, then you should, at least until your… Read more »
Destiny
Destiny
4 years 4 months ago

No, that’s perfectly normal- expected even! You’re in something called “ketosis”, where your body has few carbohydrates so it’s using primarily fat for energy. It’s a great thing and something many people strive for [see CKD and TKD]. 50g a day is fine- although to achieve ketosis, some peope may need 30g or less.

Patrick Kimberlin
Patrick Kimberlin
6 years 11 months ago

50 grams per day, Shema

Kishore
Kishore
6 years 11 months ago

It might help to consume most of your carbs after working out when insulin sensitivity is high and then maintain a low carb diet the rest of the day. Supplementing with estrogen inhibitors (like Resveratrol) would also help block estrogen and stop testosterone from converting to estrogen.

Jamie
Jamie
6 years 11 months ago

Are those Mrs. Korg’s feet on that scale?

Jason
Jason
6 years 11 months ago

ha! needs a little more hair…

marci
marci
6 years 11 months ago
This is my big struggle- building muscle and losing body fat. Building muscle is so hard – esp if you have hypothyroidism like me- and gaining fat is all too easy. I think I’ve also damanged my metabolism from eating vegetarian hi -carb, low- protein diet for too long (as I’ve mentioned many times here). That’s probably why the PB took a while to kick in (it’s like I have to get healthy first to lose fat!) But at long last, I’ve lost a few pounds recently (my fave jeans fit again now!)an I am so much stronger! I love… Read more »
Rodney
Rodney
6 years 11 months ago
Marci, I realize this is a bit off topic with regards to today’s post, but if you are struggling with your thyroid I have a suggestion. If you take traditional meds like Synthroid or other synthetics, then read up on the natural replacement derived from pig thyroid (so Primal!). It contains both T3 and T4 hormone whereas the synthetics are only T3. Guess what your body has naturally? Lastly, the naturals were used exclusively until the synthetics were developed a few decades ago. Ask an older MD and they will know about it, anyone under age 50 or so probably… Read more »
marci
marci
6 years 11 months ago

hi Rodney- thanks so much for your interest. I’m on Armour. Sadly there is a war against natural dessicated thyroid being waged. I’m following the developments daily since this started this summer. Hopefully it will be resolved soon. Another instance of Big Pharma and conventional wisdom trying to smother natural, time-tested rememdies. Sigh.

cybercutealicious
5 years 25 days ago

hey… i went through same thing, i did a long post in the forum meet and great it shares what i found out…

truckergirl
6 years 11 months ago
Mark, I’m trapped in a truck all day and have no access to a gym. I’ve also been dead sedentary for over a year now. Where should I start? Aside from pushups and sit-ups what kind of exercises can I do with no access to weights or even a pull-up bar? And, considering most truck drivers are too lazy to walk into the truck stop and would rather water their tires, a truck stop parking lot isn’t something I want to get up close and personal with, so I’d prefer to avoid exercises that involve laying on the ground. I’ve… Read more »
Grok
6 years 11 months ago

Look up bodyweight exercises. There are a lot of them in the video section of this website.

Things as simple (but effective) as bodyweight squats can even be done at a gravel truck-stop in the rain!

Paul K
Paul K
6 years 4 months ago

Hey truckergirl, it’s a while since your post but I’ve got some suggestions for you. I’d totally recommend getting TRX and using it to do loads of bodyweight exercises. Buy the military pack and the whole thing comes in a small pouch bag and in hard as nails cammo green. We use them on manoeuvres and active duty and hook them up to anything going. There are so many things you can do with them you’ll never get bored.
Oh and then watch Over the Top.

roary
roary
5 years 1 month ago
you can do some body weight squats and alternating lunges, just up the number of reps. body weight exercises are a great way to incorporate resistance training into any workout plan. if you don’t know what burpees are, they’re a kind of hybrid total body move where you drop to the ground in a push up position, if you can do the push up great, but from that position you pull your knees in so your feet are back underneath you and you stand up and jump into the air, extending your arms over your head. that’s one rep. then… Read more »
Yavor
6 years 11 months ago

Training 3 times per week a la eat stop eat seems to do the trick. I’m glad the constant feed brainwash is over.

Jaeden Ironwolf
6 years 11 months ago
Speaking as a Primal Newbie, asking how is the start, then you do 😀 Some advice that fits more into your work/lifestyle as it is: 1. Park your rig as far away from the truck stop as possible, so you get more walking time in. 2. Look up some of the more common kettlebell exercises. The most common one is where you swing it up and down in the same motion as underhand tosses when we were kids. Check youtube for some vids. Done right it gets a lot of muscles involved. 3. Start preparing/bringing primalized dishes with you that… Read more »
HIIT Mama
6 years 11 months ago

As a reforming (on the road to wellness) scale watcher, I applaud the idea of using other means of measuing leanness. I know that when I was a long distance runner, I was scarily thin and very jiggly. We women want hard lean muscle and thick bones, and those aren’t light!

glorth2
glorth2
6 years 11 months ago

With the IF, that’s nothing but water, right?

Aaron Blaisdell
6 years 11 months ago

When I IF — either a 15 hour or a full 24 hour fast — I still have my morning coffee with a little bit of milk or cream in it (I’ve never used sugars or other sweeteners), and I find that I still burn the body fat just fine.

MaryLou
MaryLou
6 years 11 months ago
just to follow up with the ladies, i have been a crossfitter for the past 2 years pretty regularly at least 3-4 days a week. I am in my 40’s, have 3 kids and am in the best shape of my life. I started paleo in January and have pretty much stuck with it, of course i do crave a carb here and there!!! I was never overwieght, only being pregnant. the extra fat cells do build up. It took me about a year to really start noticing muscle build up and fat loss. I went from a size 6… Read more »
Evan
Evan
6 years 11 months ago

Okay, so I know long-duration cardio is bad for you (and BORING to boot)…

My question is, what about duration on HIIT (high intensity interval training)?

Here’s an example:
I do a treadmill workout (I know, I know) where i cycle every 5 minutes.

1 min: Moderate difficulty (5.5-6.5 mph)
2-3: High difficulty (7-9)
4-5: Low difficulty, (3.5-5)

Should I stop after a certain time? I guess, at one point does this workout approach chronic cardio levels?

Ed
Ed
6 years 11 months ago

Evan,
HIIT is difficult and possibly dangerous to do on a treadmill, because you need maximum intensity for 10 to 60 seconds, which can easily lead to a nasty fall. Consider a bicycle, climber or burpees instead. Here’s a link for workout interval and duration suggestions: http://www.intervaltraining.net/hiit.html#

cougarkat
cougarkat
4 years 1 month ago

I normally sprint on the treadmill. 40 seconds all out, and about 40 to 60 seconds rest. for about 20 minutes. never ever fell! just don’t be getting all distracted by tvs, other people and thinking when you’re going to vacuum clean your room! concentrate on your workout!oh, and i also have cerebral palsy.if it helps…cheers!

Mountain Dew
Mountain Dew
6 years 11 months ago

Need help here.

I’ve been reading Protein Power and I worked out that I have to eat 30 grams of protein per meal to not have muscle loss and lose fat. Problem is, I’m still hungry after I eat a meal (and yes, I’m fulfilling those 30 gms per meal). I’m thinking that I’m not eating enough fat during the meals, it’s strictly (well majority) protein.

Could that be the problem?

OT: Is coconut oil supposed to look like Crisco? I went to the market yesterday and saw a jar of coconut oil and it was white and hard. Was that right?

James
James
5 years 4 months ago

Crisco… thats what my mom said when she first saw it haha.

Sylvie Ouellette
Sylvie Ouellette
6 years 11 months ago

Mountain Dew: Coconut oil has a melting point of about 24 Celcius. It will go liquid in summer (or if your kitchen is over-heated). Otherside, put some in a small jar and run it under hot water to melt.

Mountain Dew
Mountain Dew
6 years 11 months ago

Thanks, Sylvie.

Dollface
Dollface
6 years 11 months ago

Really helpful post Mark, thank you 🙂

gwen
gwen
6 years 11 months ago

In line with Aaron’s comment above…When I do a fast, I have my morning coffee (can’t function without it, my final vice!), but leave out the milk ( I never use sugar). I really would rather not leave out the milk. Mark – can you clarify whether or not one tablespoon of milk will derail my fast? Thanks!

SassaFrass88
6 years 11 months ago
Yes. Those turkeys (trainers) in my last ‘cardio-loving, low-fat eating’ forum told me to eat a carb within an hour from working out (wrong). Never to skip a meal (wrong). Among many others. But the one thing they all told me: You can’t lose fat AND build muscle. I knew enough about the human body to call BS on that. They told me I was crazy and that I never built muscle while losing the fat. It was a conundrum to me as to why they would stand by this, until I realized that I took a healthier approach to… Read more »
Fixed Gear
6 years 11 months ago
It’s unbelievable how WRONG they can be isn’t it?? I was told the same lies. “Bulk up” to add muscle mass, calorie deficit and chronic cardio to lose fat. If you’re lucky you’ll add more muscle than fat on the bulk, and lose more fat than muscle on the cut. Except that never happened! It’s total BS!! For 15 years those lies kept me trapped in a “skinny fat” body where I couldn’t add any noticeable amount of muscle or ever get below 17% (roughly) bodyfat. I was just TRAPPED in the middle. 15 YEARS of lifting weights 3 times… Read more »
SassaFrass88
6 years 11 months ago
Oh, I soooooo feel your pain. I may not have been struggling like you for 15 yrs, but it’s had a yo-yo affect over the course of 7 years, resulting in metabolic breakdown after failure to get anywhere. I could’ve been so much further along than I am now, had I known this ‘simple truth’ back then. I have some good muscle still, but I felt so helpless when year after year, I struggled to lose the exact same 20 lbs over and over and over again. My dang closet had 3 – 4 different sizes of jeans that I… Read more »
Chiara
Chiara
3 years 4 months ago

Hi!I read your comments and they do really fit my situation. I’m trying to tone myself up and drop the fat I have on my thigs, but really, I don’t need to lose weight, and that’s why I don’t wanna do cardio anymore, because it didn’t bring me anywhere, I only have a flatter bum and slightly smaller thighs, but I seem to still have basically all the fat I had before starting this new lifestyle.

Therefore I wanted to know which is the secret of your regime? You eat healthy fats and few carbs?

James
James
5 years 4 months ago

Well, you could say calorie restriction is part way true, it’s just that on a high carb diet the insulin will make you crave more, so calorie restriction on high carb diet = gnawing hunger, calorie restriction on low carb diet comes naturally.

Kaley
Kaley
3 years 5 months ago
So very true! I tried for years to restrict calories but would be starving and completely and utterly obsessed with food and trying to concoct low calorie goodies (this diet was naturally always high carb, low protein and low fat of course). NOW doing LC, I actually struggle to get enough calories… Can anyone tell me this- if I’m not hungry do I still need to be sure and get “adequate” calories? I try to stay around 1500 calories (5’10” current 163lbs 26 y/female 2 kids) but some days I only get 1250. Some nights I eat some fat like… Read more »
JamesT
JamesT
5 years 10 days ago
I came across this website and saw your post which I found interesting. I have had very similar experience like you for the last 8 yrs. I’ve never been able to retain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Infact everytime I went on fatloss I have lost all my muscle gains along with fat. And when I tried to bulk up, I gained some size but also gained inches around my waist. I saw your post and was wondering if you could explain in detail what diet and exercise you followed to drop fat and retain muscle. Your… Read more »
LucyJ
LucyJ
2 years 9 months ago
Wow this sounds like exactly the issue I’m having difficulties dealing with! My problem is that I’m a female, 18, 8 1/2 stone and skinny fat trying to lose belly fat for a year now and I’ve tried almost everything but I’m just so confused now. I workout at least an hour everyday (moderately not intense each day) and calorie limit is 1200 which I usually have no trouble reaching – sometimes go over, other days under slightly. So my goal is to GET RID OF BELLY FAT and tone that area and I understand to burn fat you need… Read more »
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Rocco
Rocco
6 years 11 months ago

Mark –

This article was perfect today for where I am at. I so appreciate you, the website and the forum.

Thank you.

Mustafa
Mustafa
6 years 11 months ago
Mark, I am confused about one thing — when you say that you want us to eat fruits and veggies — should I be eating the fruits separately from any other meal? I understand from your book that consuming carbs in combination with fats and proteins will increase the amount of storage of fats and proteins in fat cells (because insulin levels have increased and thus the insulin receptors on the cells have opened their “doors” into the cells). i know that with veggies it’s not really a big deal — but some fruits have a decent amount of simple… Read more »
Vincent
6 years 11 months ago
Hi Mark, Following up on Evan’s comment about interval training, I would like to ask you about Turbulence Training. It is a combination of resistance training and interval training with very varied exercises changing every 4 weeks. The principle is to shock the body into not getting used to the exercises to improve the efficiency of the work out. Every 4 weeks, the difficulty of the work out increases and changes completely. The resistance part is very similar to the bodyweight work outs detailed on your website and I am confident that I am doing the right thing by doing… Read more »
chima_p
chima_p
6 years 11 months ago
Sounds like you may be overdoing it on the fats. I had the same issue. I would lose 1kg one week then I would relax on the fats and either lose nothing or gain a 500g the next week. Now I have pretty much narrowed it down to what I can and can’t eatwhen I am trying to loose fat without losing muscle. Also, when you are talking 700g here or there it could be water retention. My body can fluctuate 1-2kg during the course of a day. I always weigh myself Friday morning after I get up from bed… Read more »
Dennis Francis
6 years 11 months ago

Great article and all good points. I’m in my 50’s and find that varying my diet and workout routine along with fasting once a month for 24 to 48 hours (water fast) kicks me into fat burning gear.

I’m currently using the jump rope as my cardio workout equipment for 10 -15 minutes.
Thanks, I’ll keep coming back for more.

Dennis

Miss Gelic
Miss Gelic
6 years 11 months ago

Hey, Mark, I love your site and visit almost daily.

I wanted to ask about very slow jogging — I love doing this for about 20 -30 minutes every other day or so, clears my head, almost like moving meditation.

Would this be considered chronic cardio? Haven’t checked HR on monitor, but I run so slowly a fast walker could keep up with me.

Thanks!

Roman
6 years 11 months ago

Mark… I have to hand it to you… I read your articles… and it is as if I … I could not write them better… nor before you… hang on while i put these ear muffs on my father… ok, Mark, I tihnk I am your son,

Damian
Damian
6 years 11 months ago

Hello all,

I may have missed it on this post or on previous ones, but what is (if there is one) the guidline on quantity of fat consumption. That’s the one macronutrient component I’m missing.

thanks

chima_p
chima_p
6 years 11 months ago
If you are consuming about 50g of Carbs and about 1g of protein per lb of lean body mass then the quantity of fat would be whatever the balance of calories is you need to consume to still lose stored fat. For me: 192lbs total weight 22.5 % body fat or about 43lbs (the weight of my 5 year old son haha) Then Lean Body Mass is 149 lbs So, 50 gramsish carbs = 200 cal 150 gramsish prot = 600 cal 2400 total cal less 800 cal from carb and prot = 1600 cal from fat or 178 grams.… Read more »
Damian
Damian
6 years 11 months ago

Thanks, Chima. Good info. Now I have a few things to calculate.

Robyn
Robyn
6 years 11 months ago

Hi Mark,
I was in Roseville last night to listen to you explain the PB. I didn’t get a chance to really talk with you after the event, but I do have a question. Looking at your pictures, I could see that you were never an overweight individual. How would you address a 350 lb person with a heart condition on losing weight with your program??

EZ
EZ
6 years 11 months ago
These recent posts have been so in line with what I am going through right now I need to respond and hopefully get some advice. I have been eating a paleo diet and doing cross fit 3-4 times a week for a year. That is until 2 months ago when I woke up with severe neck and arm pain/numbness. Come to find out I have herniated discs and should not be doing any activity outside of my physical thearpy and basic walking for at least a few more months. I am concerned with loosing the muscle mass I have built… Read more »
chima_p
chima_p
6 years 11 months ago
Read my reply to Damian a few posts above. My guess is you may be closer to 100 g of carbs than you think. Cut your carbs down to around 50 g and keep a close eye on them. Every thing else seems to be fine. To make you feel better, I did the math. Using your #s you lost 15 lbs of fat and gained 5 lbs of lean body mass! Even if you keep the status quo you are on track to lose 25 lbs of fat for the year! Amazing! People you have not seen since last… Read more »
EZ
EZ
6 years 11 months ago

Thanks, that helps AND makes me feel better. I use fitday to track and will focus on keeping the carbs on the lower end. Bye Bye berries and wine 🙁

I have found all these posts to be the most helpful tool out there. Thank you to everyone that keeps the forum alive.

Fixed Gear
6 years 11 months ago
Just wanted to add, the worst month I had since my primal fat loss journey was September when I surfed like a madman. Like 4-5 days a week 2+ hours at a time. Definitely in the “chronic cardio” range. You can’t not go ‘all out’ when it gets big. In that month, I lost very little fat and 4 pounds of muscle! Every other month without all the cardio, I dropped fat not muscle. Heed Mark’s advice about excess cardio. It really is a muscle killer. Just google images for ‘Olympic sprinter’ and then ‘marathon runner’. Tell me which one… Read more »
kuno1chi
kuno1chi
6 years 11 months ago

Hey, you guys. Just wanted to say…please get the Primal Blueprint book. It will answer a lot of your questions. Drop into the MDA forum when you can.

I’m new at this, only PB for 2-1/2 months. I started at 154 lbs, 110 lbs. LBM, now I am at 148 lbs, 115 lbs. LBM
(I’m 5-9).

Gone from “stuffed into a size 8 like a sausage”…to “size 6 jeans need a belt.

Still not there yet, but hella stronger than I was, and loving it.

It’s a much better life. If I can do it, so can you!

Jack
Jack
6 years 11 months ago

Hi Mark,
I’m interested in bodybuilding and performance and since I’ve been intermittant fasting I’ve seen great results. Cutting seems to happen so quickly and I haven’t noticed any muscle loss when I do.
The odd carb splurge every 2 or 3 weeks seems to do well for increasing muscle mass, though it’s probably the illusion from suddenly full glycogen stores.
Good work, IF works and keep it up!

Ana
Ana
6 years 11 months ago

Mark, I agree with, and practice, most of the principles written here. However, besides my weight training and interval training, I truly love going for long runs. And I’ve been reading up on ‘persistence hunting’, the oldest known method of hunting which involves humans literally running an animal to death – and something Grok almost certainly did…
I’d love to know your thoughts about this.

chima_p
chima_p
6 years 11 months ago

In my opinion Grok certainly hunted like that. However, with no “deep freeze meat life extender” he prob only did that type of hunting once every few weeks if at that. I highly doubt it was an every day activity.

I can’t see going for a long run Sunday mornings hurting at all. If it is something you enjoy then you should do it.

The last thing you want to happen is starting to resent your other activities while wishing you where out running.

James
James
5 years 4 months ago
That’s good to hear. Since getting interested in primal blueprint I have started to cut back my overall running regime (combined with stress fracture motivations…) but I still do enjoy a good long run every week or two. I try to keep most of my runs either slow (9-10min/mile pace) or short, or in most cases both though. I think there’s a happy medium where you can still get the enjoyment of endurance sports and not harm your health that much if you’re careful about how you train. Mark is probably so opposed to cardio because he took it to… Read more »
Ana
Ana
6 years 11 months ago

Surely without a deep freeze he’d need to do it more often? Probably not every day admittedly, but if the hunter brought back the meat to share with the clan, it wouldn’t last very long.

chima_p
chima_p
6 years 11 months ago

What would he do with all that extra meat, organs, hide etc.

How many steaks can you get from a 1200 lb bison? More than enough to feed a group of 20-30 in a week.

Ha! I really don’t know I am guessing.

It’s not like they are running down rabbits haha.

Hortense
Hortense
6 years 11 months ago
Hello, Mark, I don’t understand why you linked to one of the articles on sprinting and growth hormone, because you seem to have misinterpreted the findings…? From my read of the paper (by Stokes et al), it seems as though GH is *inhibited* by multiple rounds of sprints. Furthermore, the authors speculate that it is due to the presence of free fatty acids, and suggest that a high fat diet (such as that consumed by the control group) will also suppress GH release even after 1 trial of sprinting. Your writing style certainly suggests you have read these articles and… Read more »
Boylston
Boylston
6 years 11 months ago
Hi from Seattle, Facts: 44 year old male. 6’1 175 lbs. Have lost weight easily ( and probably wrongly by almost exclusively strongly watching food intake) Desire: Much of what is written above. A much more agile, response body and a much higher increase in muscle mass. Issue: I need support to achieve the words and suggestions written above. For me, it is too much data, and easy for me to waste time and energy trying to decipher what is best, and meanwhile not making positive change. Would love it if someone could suggest someone to guide me through my… Read more »
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Talmadge Boyd
6 years 4 months ago

After a bout with a demyelinating condition that put me on my back for 6 months, I’m trying to build my muscle back up.

So, question is, how do you lift heavy when your left side doesn’t work so well?

emory
emory
4 years 4 months ago
From what I’ve learned, use the right side as much and as heavy as you can which should cause compensatory action on the left. A good example would be how a lifter will increase the size of his/her chest, back, and arms by doing squats and no upper body movements. When working your left side, begin with lighter weights and get the form back down and increase weight gradually when you can do 15 reps or so. There used to be company that sold magnetic fractional weights in 1/4 lb increments which can be used to gradually increase your poundages… Read more »
PinkLady
PinkLady
6 years 3 months ago

I completed my first round of HCG injections, lost weight (165 lbs @ 46% fat down to 144 lbs @ 40% fat). During the maintenance round I found my sensitivity to “carbs” and started PB at the end of May. I feel great and love the food. However, I am still at 40% body fat (Tanita scale). I have cut-out fruits, decreased dairy and nuts to hardly any. Taking short brisk walks and exercising to DVD’s 3x week. Any advice appreciated.

qiangqiang
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6 years 2 months ago

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[…] How to Maintain Muscle While Losing Weight – Because you want to be toned, not skinny-fat. […]

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[…] to sum up, this is yet another review suggesting that IF is the best way to lose fat mass and preserve lean mass. They didn’t get into which mode of calorie restriction was easier and more sustainable, but […]

Michael
Michael
5 years 4 months ago

What do you mean by “fasting” or eat stop eat? I’m eating ~5 times per day, limiting carbs. Should I be fasting a day? Thanks!

Jackie
Jackie
5 years 3 months ago

It’s actually “fight or flight” not “flight or flight” lol

Keith
5 years 3 months ago

Great post Mark,
For me, the best way to gain muscle is to simply lift very heavy weight. When I diet, I aim for the 5-6 rep range. I rarely do any burnout sets or anything like that.

-Keith

liam hills
liam hills
8 months 18 days ago

and does that work well for you?

muscle build program, muscle building program, muscle building, building muscle

Great blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you the use of? Can I am getting your affiliate link in your host? I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

Jaime
Jaime
4 years 11 months ago

Mark- I recently lost lost 40 lbs and after treading this I realize I did it the wrong way. I did a lot of Cardio. I can tell I lost muscle. My stomach is still flabby and so are my thighs. My question is what do I do know to rectify the problem? Please Help

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