If you feel lost as to what to do and like your hard work in the gym isn’t showing, I want to help you avoid common body recomp mistakes with 5 tips to dial in your workouts and your diet to help you lose fat NOT muscle!

The first key component for fat loss is adjusting your diet to not only fuel your training but better help you recover from it.

Because we can only train as hard as we can recover from! 

And our nutrition is a key component of our recovery! 

Now…this tip is one most of us know we should be doing…yet we often try to find a reason NOT to do…

It’s why I really want to take a second to explain the WHY behind it.

While we often just want to know WHAT to do….

Knowing the what without the why doesn’t help us truly embrace the changes, especially when we don’t…well….like them to some extent. 

So what is probably the most important thing we can be focusing on nutrition wise if we want fabulous body recomp no matter our age?

Increasing our protein! 

You’ve heard me harp on this before, but that’s why I want to really focus on WHY higher protein is so key.

First reason why protein is key…It’s the building blocks of muscle. 

By increasing our protein, especially when in a calorie deficit, we are making sure we’re getting our muscles the fuel they need to repair and rebuild from our hard training sessions.

If we aren’t getting our muscles what they need, we risk losing more muscle as we try to lose fat, especially the harder we train and the more cardio we include. 

And we want that muscle!

Building and retaining lean muscle helps us look more defined as we lose fat.

It also helps us avoid metabolic adaptations to burn more calories at rest.

And when we are getting our body the fuel it needs to truly repair from our workouts, we are preventing the catabolic environment that can often occur during a fat loss phase, leading to us losing not only fat but ALSO muscle.

Now you may have heard that you can only use about 20-30 grams in a meal for muscle protein synthesis. 

And tried to use this as an excuse to not eat higher protein.

But protein isn’t just used for building muscle….we are literally made up of protein.

So that 20-30 grams you’re eating, isn’t just going to cover your muscle needs. It’s being used for other body functions as well. 

And as we get older, we also aren’t as able to utilize protein as efficiently.

So the harder you’re training as you’re trying to see body recomp, especially as you get older, your protein needs increase. 

Second, protein makes the fat loss process easier not only because of it’s muscle building benefits but also because of it’s thermic effect and satiating effect.

Higher protein diets have been shown to increase satiety, partly because they even help you create higher volume meals. 

And higher protein diets also lead to a daily higher calorie burn because it requires more energy to digest protein than the other macros. 

So you can feel fuller with technically a higher calorie intake, and ultimately create a bit more of a deficit through the fact your body has to work harder to turn that protein into the fuel you need!

Not to mention…it’s way easier to create and maintain your calorie deficit with higher protein for many people. 

We just don’t want to eat more of the protein than we have to so we are less likely to overeat!

And if you do happen to overeat your calories, high protein diets are the only diet shown to help you avoid gaining unwanted fat with a slight calorie surplus. 

High protein diets give you that extra wiggle room!

With increasing your protein, and the extra flexibility it can give you in your calorie intake, you also want to fight to keep your calories as close to your current maintenance as possible. 

Creating a SMALL calorie deficit is key if you want to lose fat and not muscle.

Our body doesn’t like change.

The more we can adjust from what we’re currently doing, the better as our body won’t rebel as much. 

And if you are currently under eating protein, you may even keep your calories where they are at as you increase your protein first.

Because even by increasing protein, due to the thermic effect, you could put yourself into a slight deficit. 

With also building muscle from your training because you are eating enough calories for muscle growth, you may then find what was your maintenance is now a small deficit.

So with calories, fewer isn’t better.

Extreme deficits put us at more risk for muscle being lost NOT better or faster fat loss results. 

And this can lead to us looking softer and needing to slash our calories lower and lower to see further progress. 

Keep your calories as high as you can, first changing protein levels. 

Then consider even starting by subtracting 100-200 calories from what you’re consuming CURRENTLY to create that deficit. 

These diet changes then need to be paired with your workouts strategically.

Especially the harder you train, the more you need to avoid extreme deficits while focusing on increasing protein.

And you want to make sure your workouts are designed with a focus on muscle.

Yes, muscle. 

Even if your goal is fat loss.

This makes sure you’re retaining lean muscle while in a deficit to lose fat as efficiently as possible.


Now, there are lots of workout designs that can work. 

But your focus when you design your workouts is on how you can lift more quality loads during your session. 

Too often we try to add more quantity, more training volume.

Instead we want to focus on the QUALITY of the volume we are doing. 

Not only does this help us get more out of short sessions, but it truly challenges our muscles with the intensity and progression they need to be forced to adapt and grow stronger.

More reps and sets, more volume, can just lead to training we don’t recover from without actually pushing us to the extent we need to create that stimulus for growth. 

We need more quality loads lifted over the session.

That’s where cluster sets can be a great technique to use. 

If you’re struggling with going heavier, only able to do a few reps with your current weight in a row…

Or even slightly fear your form breaking down as you begin to lift heavier so hesitate…

Cluster sets can be a great technique to use.

They can help you get out 8 reps with a weight you would only usually be able to use for 4 or even 5 reps. That’s a lot more weight lifted over the workout! And it’s all because you broke down those 8 reps into mini sets.

With cluster sets, you are breaking up your traditional set of 8 reps, mini sets of 2 or 3 in a row, with just 10-30 seconds of rest between those mini sets, before you rest longer and do another round.

Because you are only performing 2 or 3 reps before the short rest, you will find you can use more weight for the full 8 reps than you would have been able to if you had tried to just do 8 in a row. 

Using this technique to lift more weight for quality reps will lead to faster muscle growth in a safer way and us losing fat NOT our muscle! 

It’s a great way to really create the needed stress and stimulus for muscle growth even as we get older and don’t have the same anabolic hormonal environment we did when we were younger.

But no matter what techniques you include, and especially the more advanced an exerciser you are, the more you have to really focus on pushing yourself in your training sessions. 

This doesn’t just mean adding more loads.

It means creating progression in different ways.

And one way we often don’t discuss as a way to create progression in our training is exercise order!

The order of the exercises we include can have a huge impact. 

Ever become aware of how much a muscle is actually working in a move because of another exercise you recently started including before it? 

That can be used to your advantage!

Include an isolation move before a compound lift and you can use “pre-exhaust” or pre-fatigue technique to your advantage. 

You may find you better activate the muscle you targeted with the isolation move in your following compound lift for more quality of movement.

Or that you are able to fatigue the prime mover in your compound lift with lighter loads and better quality of movement.

If however fatiguing the muscle with the pre-haust technique leads to you compensating, you may find that using an isolation move right AFTER a compound lift works for you better.

This post-exhaust training technique can be a great way to push a muscle past failure.

You’ll do the compound lift to fatigue, compound then use an isolation move to further target a muscle involved in the lift to work to failure.

You can also use BOTH techniques over progressions, especially to help you both take muscles past fatigue but also fully fatigue prime movers that usually won’t hit failure with a compound move because you’re usually limited by smaller, weaker muscles fatiguing first! 

But they are both great ways to progress and create that stimulus for muscle growth without just focusing on adding more weight!

Then remember, we can only train as hard as we recover from.

When you’re working hard toward a goal, you’re going to get burned out.

That’s why planning in breaks is key!

And breaks are not only rest days every week, but also strategic diet breaks and recovery weeks.

This doesn’t have to mean, and honestly shouldn’t mean, just lying on the couch doing nothing.

Nor should it mean excuses completely blowing your calories and macros.

The goal of these breaks is to help you mentally and physically have a break from the grind.

It’s like refilling your gas tank.

You don’t want to end up on empty by the side of the road.

You want to pull into a gas station when the light comes on. 

This allows you to keep moving forward faster.

These strategic breaks can help you from avoiding hitting burn out or letting cravings get the better of you.

So don’t fear sometimes backing off to ultimately do more!

Take time where you include more foods you love and even increase your calories out of a deficit. 

Take time at points to lower your workout intensity or recharge with workouts that are new and fun and address any weak links. 

Embrace even doing the minimum as you shift your priorities to come back wanting to keep working toward your goals! 

But stay focused on the fundamentals and use these 5 tips to help dial in your diet and your workouts together to lose fat and NOT muscle!

The best results happen when we follow a “recipe” – a clear plan…

Learn more about my 3-Step Recipe For Results”

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