If you are like many people working out, you probably have a bit more body fat than you would like. There are tons of guys in gyms that lift hard during the year to gain mass, but they also have put on a bit of fat during this time. If you want a pleasing physique, you are going to need to get down to a respectable body fat level.
Continue to Lift Heavy During This Dieting Period – The common mistake that many people make is that they want to “lift for high reps” to tone the muscles. Tone is mainly caused by having a low body fat percentage, not the type of lifting you are performing. The reason you want to continue to lift heavy and make strength gains is that you want to make sure your body holds on to that hard earned muscle. If you lift light for high reps, your body doesn’t have any reason to keep that muscle mass.
Reduce Body Fat at A Slow Rate – Give yourself plenty of time to get lean. Many people decide they want to get in shape two months before summer or a vacation. I recommend at least 3-4 months, if you want to get super-lean without losing muscle mass. The slower you reduce body fat, the less likely you will lose muscle mass. This makes sense because in order to lose body fat you need to eat less calories than what you burn and you need to perform a significant amount of cardio. In order to drop fat quickly, you have to go too low in calories to maintain the current amount of muscle you have. You will lose muscle mass. If you create a slight calorie deficit and lose only 1 to 2 pounds a week, you are much better off.
Perform High Intensity Interval Training – High Intensity Interval Training is the most effective form of cardio to burn body fat without losing muscle. To see the evidence, let’s compare these two types of cardio in a real world situation. Sprinters have much more muscle than marathon runners. Sprinters perform a quick burst of effort, followed by a period of resting. Marathon runners train using the “slow and steady cardio” that is recommended by most trainers. I don’t know about you, but I would rather look like a sprinter! When you hit cardio, alternate intense sprinting type efforts for 30 seconds followed by a minute or so of a less intense effort. Continue this pattern for 15 minutes. You will burn body fat while keeping that hard earned muscle.
Eat a “Realistic” Strict Diet – If you try to go too strict on your diet, you won’t be able to maintain your diet for very long. My rule of thumb is this…I try to make sure that at least 75% of my meals are really clean and low calorie. If I do decide to eat a bit junky, I will try to make sure it is after a long and hard workout. Also I will eat pretty low carbs during the day before my workout, to maximize the amount of fat burned in my workout. If you have too much carbs in your system while working out, your body will burn carbs instead of the fat off your body. This really makes a big difference in your quest to reduce body fat. ( Source: Musclebuildingtrainingtips.com )