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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
102 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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102 thoughts on “How to Maintain Muscle While Losing Weight”

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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!

    2. 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.

    3. 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…

      1. 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 reach your ideal body fat percentage.

        1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 eating & exercising & living the PB way- it’s the only lifestyle that promotes overall excellent health as far as I’m concerned which is why I will never give it up!

    1. 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 hasn’t dealt with it much so it tends to get dismissed by most docs. Google is your friend if you are interested. I hate to post links here but good info is out there. Let me know if you have questions. Good luck!

      1. 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.

  4. 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 been doing sit-ups and push ups, and I have a 15lb kettleball I’ve been doing bicep curls and triceps exercises with, but I have no idea how to work out the rest of my body.

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

    3. 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 repeat. it incorporates the whole body and will get your heart rate up, fast.

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

  6. 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 can be easily or no require reheating.

    4. Do some searching and link clicking on the move primal section, you might find some exercises you can easily do with apparati from your job/truck.

  7. 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!

    1. 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.

  8. 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 to a size 2! Not really trying to lose weight so much just get in shape and be healthy. I was shocked when my jeans no longer fit but my body felt strong. My body fat test back in March was an astounding 19% body fat. Curious to what it is now. I will get retested soon. My weight fluctuates but I know I am on the right track when I am carving protein and veggies and H2O!!!!( and a little vino here and there doesnt hurt!)

  9. 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?

    1. 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#

      1. 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!

  10. 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?

    1. Fulfill your protein requirement each day, hit your carb range and then fill up the rest of your daily intake with fat. If you’re still hungry and you’ve got protein/carbs nailed down add some of that coconut oil to your meals. And yes, you saw it correctly. Coconut oil being largely saturated (stable) fat is solid at room temp.

      1. Thanks, Mark.

        I think it’s an issue of not enough fat. I’ll play around a bit with it to see what happens.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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 my weight-loss, which was to include good fat and not ‘count calories’. Of course this did not fit their methods, as they only see pure caloric deficit as the ONLY way to lose weight along with exercise. If that were true, then YES, you couldn’t lose fat and gain muscle.

    No wonder I was so perplexed as to which plan to follow: My way (healthy, but fat) or their way (low-fat/ unhealthy, but lose weight). The only way I saw it was A. Be unhealthy, but lose weight or B. Be healthy, but stay at or gain weight.

    The clues about these ‘low-fat’ dieters noting in their journals about having more success with their weight-loss when cutting out carbs led me straight here. I haven’t gone back since….

    1. 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 a week and I was unable to add the 20 pounds of muscle I wanted. That’s absurd. The thing is I never wanted to be a roided-out guy, I just wanted 20 pounds to go from emo-skinny to “average” muscle mass. Couldn’t do it in 15 years!! Sure every winter I’d put on a little muscle, and then every spring I’d tear it all off with chronic cardio. And just stay “skinny-fat” with my crappy, average body. I just thought that was life, that was the junk genes I was dealt. When really my genese were just fine. It was TERRIBLE advice holding me back.

      You pack muscle on with a LOW GI diet and MODERATE protein, not extremely high protein and 40 grams of dextrose “post workout shakes.” You drop fat through diet, not cardio. It’s that simple. It’s ridiculously simple. It’s so simple it makes me angry that I was kept in the dark for so many years, my PRIME, all of my 20’s, by following ‘Conventional Wisdom’. I shouldn’t be in the best shape of my life at 35 and NOT have been able to achieve that my when I was 25. Ya’ know? It’s so EASY when you have the right information and utterly IMPOSSIBLE when you follow misinformation.

      1. 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 rotated through, year after year! I am now wearing my smallest jeans and they are now too big on me. So, I have this revelation of “Wow, how sad is it that after ALL OF THAT HARD WORK and dedication, for 7 years, that THESE were my (then) ‘skinny’ jeans when they actually are quite a bit above my true optimum size!”.

        I almost feel cheated. But I chalk it up to a learning experience. One that I can relate to when I coach others on the true way to be free from the slave of protein shakes, hard-core cardio, dry chicken breasts, chemical-laden low-fat cottage cheese and the damned chain attached to a lunch bag that accompanied me EVERYWHERE, just to keep from missing a meal!

        Man, I feel like a Genie, release from her bottle.

        1. 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?

      2. 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.

        1. 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 coconut oil in order to get extra calories in the form of fat. When I track my food it looks like this 1500 calories- fat 60%, protein 25-30%, carbs 10-15%.. I know we’re not supposed to stress about macros, and I DON’T, but I’m new at this and working to get the hang of things and I find it helpful for these beginning stages. Thanks

      3. 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 help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    2. 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 muscle right? But I’m unsure on how to eat because following a meal plan that required me to eat every 2-3 hours was just stressful and made me anxious rather than feeling good (as I’m still in college and missing a meal meant jeopardising the whole routine) so what do I do? Keep following the meal plan and just suck up the anxiety until I get to goal weight and then eat normally?

      Because I heard that to lose weight you should create a calorie deficit, exercise frequently, small portions of food etc which is what I’m currently doing now but all I’m losing is muscle instead of fat? I don’t understand how I should go about this..

      I’m not intentionally trying to gain abs or anything – just a flatter midsection and I don’t lift. (I do a few squats with light weights if that counts lol) so I find taking protein shakes etc unnecessary. Like I said my main issue is to why aren’t I losing body fat if my diet is clean, exercise frequently, lots of water, small portions etc? If you could help shed light on this and offer some advice then I’d be truly thankful!

  14. Mark –

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

    Thank you.

  15. 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 sugars in them that may be of some importance.
    Also, when I do my Tabata protocol sprints (HIIT), should I not eat anything afterwards for some time to maximize fat loss, or is it better to refuel my muscle cells with some simple sugars afterwards — and what amount of simple sugars is optimal (5 g or 10 g or 30 g?). I do 14 minutes of total running (5 minutes slow job, then 8 20 second sprints with 8 10 second slow jobs with a 5 minute cool down) once a week.

    Thanks,
    Mustafa

  16. 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 this 3 times a week.

    However, I am not so sure about the interval training anymore. It basically works that way, more or less (as I said, the exercises vary all the time):
    5mn warm up at around 30% intensity
    1mn at around 80% intensity (very close to sprinting)
    1mn at 30%
    1mn at 80%
    1mn at 30%
    1mn at 80%
    1mn at 30%
    1mn at 80%
    1mn at 30%
    1mn at 80%
    1mn at 30%
    1mn at 80%
    5mn at 30% to cool down

    And this is to be done 3 times a week as well with at least one full day of rest in the week.

    I did this training about a year ago for about 2 months and lost around 7kg (from 83kg to 76kg for 1m76). I don’t think I lost muscle as I was improving on the push up test every week and was also able to increase the intensity and repetitions on the work outs week after week. My diet though was more traditional as in low carb/fat, high protein and high fibre.

    I am doing this training again now but this time following the PB diet and I don’t see the results to be as impressive as last year. I seem to lose weight but quite slowly (from 80.7kg to 79 in 2 weeks) and I didn’t improve on my push up test last week (I also gained like 700g since Sunday). My waist and neck sizes are decreasing though but I cannot see any noticeable difference when comparing 2 photographs at one week interval.

    I am really confused…

    What do you reckon?

    1. 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 and gone to the bathroom. Weekly weigh ins will give you a better idea of your weight loss. Daily will just make you stress. If you don’t know what your bodyfat percentage is the scale is pretty much useless anyway.

      This is the reason why you don’t see the scale mentioned in the above post except, oddly enough, in the graphic.

  17. 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

  18. 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!

  19. 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,

  20. 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

    1. 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.

      If you want to loose fat faster then lay off the cals from fat, say maybe 100 grams of fat.

      Bottom line is the quantity of fat to consume will vary greatly for each person depending on starting size and fat loss goals.

      The reason the you lose muscle during CW style weight loss is the severe restriction of calories and the relience on carbs, moderate protein and low fat.

      The high level of carbs never kick starts the muscles to use fat as fuel (ketosis). The brain competes with your muscles for glucose. Guess which organ wins? By reducing the metabolic cost of muscle through catabolism (muscle loss)the brain reserves it’s glucose stores(oversimplified).

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

  21. 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??

  22. 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 up. One of my goals with eating paleo and doing CF was to lean out, which I was on track with, although slowly. I have always been strong, building muscle has been easy, but loosing fat has been hard.

    What kind of a diet should I be concentrating on knowing that I will not be getting the kind of exercise my body is used to? I am 5’4″, 145# and eat on average about 100g protein, 75g fat, 75g carbs a day. I have lost only 10 pounds eating this way for the past 8 months, but I know I have gained muscle mass as well. My %BF went down about 7% but is still close to 30%. I was fine with the slow process since it was going down, but now I am not able to exercise. (I am still in pain and the thought just makes me hurt) I fear I will loose my muscle and gain fat. Tweaking my diet is all I have. Does anyone have some suggestions of what I should shoot for to avoid this?

    BTW, I love the recipes I have found here. I have made the beef burgandy two times already, one time by the request of my non paleo eating friend that loved it and is now converting!

    1. 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 Festivus may not even recognize you.

      1. 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.

  23. 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 you’d rather look like…

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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 such an extreme, but do ultra elite bodybuilders turn out any better? My current view is that cardio isn’t needed for health, but it can be done in a healthful way if you’re careful about it.

  27. 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.

    1. 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.

  28. 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 understand them well, which could be misleading when people just assume that your interpretations are correct. Does challenging conventional wisdom include blind faith of the guy with abs who has his own blog?

  29. 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 defined goals. ( a live person) Or suggestions on how I can do this under a watchful and consistent eye, who will see where I might be straying in the wrong direction and keep me on track.
    Would love concrete feedback on how I can do this and achieve what I strongly desire and will devote myself to. If any folks know Seattle or live here and can give guidance to my question I would be greatly appreciative.

    Thanks so much,
    Tom
    Seattle ( lower capitol hill)

  30. 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?

    1. 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 without having to jump 2-5 pounds.
      I wish you luck.

  31. 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.

  32. Only $1.5 let you lose weight in three days ,what are you hesitaty?don’t hesitaty come on .jion us my friend.if you want to know about ,please landing site (www2daydiet-green.com)

  33. 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!

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

  35. 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

  36. 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

  37. I am 5’2″ over 200 lbs and have been told I am insulin resistant. I desperately want to become healthy. I have two beautiful children and a fantastic husband. I had spinal surgery a few years ago so low impact exercise or swimming is about all I can do for now. Where do I start? Three years ago I was 135 lbs and loved life…I am off course and need help.

  38. Debra,
    I am 5’4″ and currently very overweight but recently begun a low glycemic way of eating and lost 11lbs in 2 weeks. My accountability partner has lost 13lbs! Eating this way REALLY WORKS for me!

  39. Hello,

    I have seen people say here that when they changed their diet and exercise plans they came out of all those years of wrong dieting and exercising. I couldn’t figure out what this means? Can someone please help me.

    I am currently on the traditional low fat, moderate protein and moderate carb diet with 30 to 40 minutes elliptical and running in the gym and half hour of weights training. What I do not understand is what is the alternative that worked for you??

    I am eating 100 grams of carb everyday. Cereal in the morning, big Salad with chicken breast and some nuts and a little olive oil for lunch, and then some vegetable stirfry with little veg oil with some baked chicken and 1 cup rice in the evening. I also have a fruit around 5pm as a snack. I feel full but am on a low calorie diet. I am 5’2, 162 pounds and female.

    Can you please tell me what I am doing wrong? i am loosing some pounds in the weighing machine but I do not know if this is mostly muscle??

    Thank you.

  40. Hey everyone,
    Ive been paleo for a little now (2 weeks). Im having difficulty when it comes to my workouts. I wake up at 6 am to do my usually hiit (bodyrock.tv), although i dont seem to have the motivation/ energy to really “give ‘er” like i use to (preworkout use to be a vegasport, yerbamate, green tea, palm sugar..ect, omg it helps so much!). So what do you suggest for a small preworkout kick/energy booster? Sugar free of course.

    Also im very confused as to if i should consume some carbs after a sweaty workout or no. Ive just read “primal body, primal mind”, Nora mentions that there is no need for carbs in the body. Period. But what about postworkout, i dont want to see my hard earned muscles get eaten up! So basicly my 2 questions are, what should i be eating pre and post workout?

    If anyone could help clarify this for me it would be awesome!

  41. Thank you, I have just been searching for information approximately this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I’ve found out till now. But, what concerning the conclusion? Are you sure about the source?|What i do not understood is if truth be told how you’re not really much more well-preferred than you may be right now. You’re so intelligent.

  42. Mark,
    You recommend sprinting to increase growth hormone production. This link you supply above (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18187617?dopt=Abstract) says that “A single 30-s sprint is a potent physiological stimulus for growth hormone (GH) release. However, repeated bouts of sprinting attenuate the GH response”.

    Your sprint routine consists of 6 to 8 sprints per weekly session. Wouldn’t that be counter productive in terms of trying to get more GH in your system if the above statement is true? Should we be just doing 1 30 seconds sprint every other day instead of 8 sprints in one day?

  43. How can you get your full day of protein by eating just 1 per day?

  44. Your recommendation of a certain amount of protein per pound of lean body mass is fine. I just need to determine my lean body mass for the right intake of protein. Any recommendations as to how to best make this determination. Currently 59 years old six foot 2 inches. No meds. Very active. Hope that helps:)

  45. Hello, 23 male here i had lost a total of 83lbs in 8 months i was 255 now i am 172 i did it on my own decided to run it off and swim it off. Was tired of being lazy i have been doing bicep curls past 5 months and abs. Seeing good results i just want to gain knowledge on muscle mass for chest and forearms and back. I am beginning to build a routine and it feels good never have i received so many compliments in my life from a size 44- a 32. I just dont want to be a anorexic skelo lol. i guess i will moderately watch my protein intake from now on. I always looked stocky even still have a big upper body people think i box/ football.

  46. Hello there,

    I have recently found out about becoming fat-adapted, when looking to overcome my problems with hypoglycemia when I try fasting (I would like to IF regularly, for health not weight loss, but it seems detrimental at present, with the symptoms like faintness, headaches and raised cortisol I get from fasting).

    So I figured I have to get fat-adapted (or leptin-sensitive) first and started to follow the advice of reducing carbs to ~50g a day and having lots of protein & fat.

    I’m slim with not much excessive body fat, just a little bit on my stomach and tights maybe, and normally fairly active with walking and cycling to places.

    What worries me now is that after just a few days of this I have lost a little bit of weight, but it is clearly from muscle as my fat deposits seem about the same but I look noticeably less toned and more flabby! I’m scared to continue with this low level of carbs now; conventional advice says to have days with more carbs in between and not to reduce too much.

    Is it because my body cannot yet use the fat and protein to feed the muscles? If so it seems a catch-22 if I have to reduce carbs to become fat-adapted!? Or is my overall calory intake too low? I’ve not lost much weight, only a pound or two, but I’m sure it’s muscle I lost.

    Also finding it a bit hard to judge exactly how much carbs I am getting, but assumed if anything it was more than theh 50g as I had some veg, very small amounts of rice, tomato sauce, houmous, beans and a larger amount of yoghurt over the days, also some fruit. But compared to what I used to eat (mainly carbs), it was truly tiny amounts.

    Feeling daunted and confused now, any advice would be much appreciated…

  47. hello,

    I am a type 2 diabetic male. I am 63 years old. In march, 2011, My fasting blood sugar was 316 mg/dl. My postprandial reading was 428 mg/dl. ketones in my urine was + +. My weight was 172 lbs. I am 71 inches tall. My waist size was about 40 inches. My doctor put me on Mixtard 30 to be taken, using the insulin flex pen. The dosage was 20 units in the morning after breakfast and 14 units in the evening after dinner.

    Taking the help of many diabetes web sites, I changed my eating habits, eating lesser grains, and eating frequent small meals. I also walked after breakfast, after lunch, after evening coffee and after dinner. I walked briskly for about ½ an hour after these meal times. As my blood sugar readings improved, I decreased the amount of insulin I was taking. For the last two months, I have been taking only 2 units of insulin in a day. This was sufficient to keep my fasting blood sugar levels at below 100 mg/dl and 2 hours after meal readings as 120 mg/dl.

    Today is the 17th of October, 2012. For the last 7 days I have not taken any insulin shots. My fasting sugar is below 90 mg/dl. My postprandial sugars are below 110 mg/dl. If I take, even a single unit of insulin, in a day, my sugar readings go below 60 mg/dl. My weight is now 147 lbs. My waist size is now 36 inches. I still have a lot of fat around my waist. I have a lot of fat around my belly button. I want to get rid of the fat round my belly button and the fat around my waist. I want to increase my weight by increasing my muscle.

    The pants, that would not fit me in march, 2011 are loose on me today. I have used a hole punch to make notches in my belt. Even now, the belt, wrinkles the waist band. I feel, that I have to buy new pants in the near future. I now weigh, the same as I did, when I was 20 years old.

    I still have to walk after alternate meals, to burn the sugar in my blood stream. I have to continue this routine so as to avoid taking the insulin. I do not know, how long I can maintain this routine, and avoid taking insulin. I take no oral medication. Also, I do not wish to take any oral medication. I want to know, whether I will be burning fat as well as sugar, during this ½ an hour walk after meals. I also want to know, whether this walk decreases my muscle mass. I want to avoid decreasing muscle mass.

    salvis

  48. Hello everyone I came across this as I am trying to find a way of losing weight and gain muscle, my problem is what kinds of food should I be eating to help me lose weight and keep it off , can anyone give me a few tips or even recipes to help and even some exercising tips would be fantastic thank you kim 🙂

  49. I’m confused by the 50g carb/day recommendation. The primal blueprint curve shows that 50-100g is the sweet spot for weight loss, and under 50g is for ketosis, people with diabetes, etc. What should be my aim? I’m currently about 36% body fat, 156 pounds, and 5’4″.

  50. Hi Mark,I stumbled upon this article and found it incredibly helpful, primarily because I’m scared that since I’ve started losing weight (it’s been three months that I’ve started eating healthier and less, as well, in order to lose a few lbs) I’ve also lost muscle mass: checking myself at the mirror I’ve realized that I’ve completely lost all the bum I had. Actually I have less cellulite , but I really can’t say if it’s flabbier, but the curve of my ass has almost disappeared. I don’t know if I’ve lost muscle or fat there, but it’s definitely something I didn’t want.

    My goal was/is to lose fat on my thighs and to tone them up together with my butt, but actually so far I’ve lost only a few little inches on my thighs and I don’t see much improvement in my tone. I am scared I focused too much on cardio and too little on strenght training, and mostly, I’m scared I’ve been eating too little. All the times I’ve checked my calorie intake using the online calorie calculator the result that came out was way less than what I should eat,also for loss weight, but I always thought that I didn’t count well or that those calculators weren’t dependable, because really, I don’t feel like I’ve been starving myself. Energy wise, I don’t feel tired, and since I’ve started working out, I’ve developed a lot of resistance, not lost it. Maybe then I’ve just lost fat and not muscle, or maybe a combination of both? What do you think?

    I wanted to ask you advice on how increasing my calorie intake without gaining the weight I’ve lost, I’m scared I will take it all back as soon as I start eating a little more. Plus, what do you recommend doing to tone my lower body and lose the fat I still have? I really am in need of an expert’s advice.

  51. I did the Body for Life program a few years back and didn’t eat enough. Although my thighs and biceps responded nicely, my calves and forearms lost almost all their muscle. Does anyone know how to build them up again? I’ve tried the calf raises at the gym with the machines, but no results. Thanks!

  52. I have been with a few online trainers.. this is my second time competing in npc bikini. I am 39, vegetarian. I do not feel like I am getting the right diet. In January I weighed 145 (I am5’6.5) my trainer put me on an 1100 cal day diet.macros- 60% protein, 30% carbs and 10% fats. running 5 miles a day 5 days a week. I lost 20lbs by competition in March but just looked skinny-not fit.
    I managed to stay around 137 lbs after and maintain at 1400 calories/Day.
    I now have a new trainer and at 15 weeks out put me on 1950 calories 35% protein,45% carbs and 10% fats. This was to put on muscle before cutting. I am doing strength training 5x a week and little cardio. but I am up 10-11 lbs in 5 weeks. I am 10 weeks out from my comp now and just feel big and sloppy. I feel gross from the carbs. is this too many? my diet will change next week but now in afraid I won’t lean out in time.

  53. Helloo! I’ve got a question – I’ve been trying to live a paleo lifestyle for the month of Feb. I’ve cheated a little by eating quinoa one week and potatoes on the weekend, but apart from that its been good. I haven’t dropped any fat though? I dance about 7-10hrs a week (ballet/contemporary) and lift weights maybe once a week. I used to lift weights 3x a week for 1.5hrs, then do cardio on the other days as or just dancing. I weighed 53kg and was/felt more lean. I only ate abut 1500cal (non paleo) and I had slight abs showing! I felt stronger in dance but sometimes nit have enough energy. Now however I don’t count calories and I don’t do weights 3x a week, yet I feel more exhausted physically? I do want to get back to being really trim and to get rid of the fat on my tummy but I don’t want to lose muscle as well (which I think happened last time). Should I increase my weights to 3x for 45min and count my calories? Or carbs? Or protein? If its meant to be easy (as I’m reading it can be)why am I not getting it right? I do consumer perhaps too much fruit -about 2 serves a day (banana for dance energy and grapes). Also what can help to keep me going for dance classes that run for 2hrs? I cant do the high jumps at the end cause all my energy is gone and I wake up tired and exhausted. I want to feel energetic and strong!! And with the promise of that possibility in sight but seemingly out of my reach Im tempted to go back to my old ways…(I used the book ‘losing the last 5kg’ by Michelle Bridges – Australian trainer for the biggest loser). Anyway please help!! (oh and I have IBS and on the low fodmap diet, so dietry restrictions and have suffered from low iron in the past…) 🙂

  54. Hi Mark- I’m a nutritionist who eats healthy (focus on nutrient dense foods, not calories) and I do a mix of P90x and rebounding 5-6 times a week. I see muscle definition after 2-3 days of doing weights in the P90x workouts but if I miss 2-3 days of the weights, the definition is completely gone. This has been a vicious cycle that I have been stuck in for years. I still workout regularly because it makes me feel better and lifts my mood. However, I am starting to feel very discouraged about “keeping the muscle”. Is this normal for women to lose their muscle tone so quickly even after months of working out regularly? Any advice for me?

  55. I’m now a bit confused. In an earlier post about carbs by Mark, there was advice that 50-100g per day carbs resulted in fat loss, 100-150g per day resulted in maintenance. This post suggests 50 for fat loss. There is quite a bit of difference between 50 and a range that goes up to 100 per day. So which measure is it?

  56. Hey Mark. I’ve been following your website for quite a while now and it’s always been very helpful. My question is would 100 Burpees (20×5) or 2 rounds of tabata Burpees (100 in 10 mins) everyday lead to muscle loss. I do bodyweight training and some lifting like deadlifts, farmers walk etc. Thanks so much. Great website!

  57. A gram of protein per lb of lean mass to maintain muscle?

    For me, that’s 140g of protein >.< Short of eating 1 dozen eggs, I have no idea how to accomplish that.

    I do know eggs, shrimp, and fish are very good sources of protein, but there's only so much I can eat (or even afford).