Removing the fat embedded in between the fibers of your muscle tissue will increase your muscle density. Many effective methods can help you safely reach this goal. Learning more about these ways improves your overall health as well as your body composition.
Read more: 6 Rules of Gaining Muscle Mass
Aerobic Exercise for Muscle Density
Doing aerobic exercise gives you an excellent way to increase your muscle density. The writers of a September 2015 paper in the American Journal of Physiology tested 18 overweight men and showed that doing regular exercise for 13 weeks decreased their body fat. Interestingly, doing aerobic exercise 30 minutes a day had the same effect as doing 60 minutes a day. Both protocols decreased body fat an average of 9 pounds.
The authors of an August 2013 report in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine found similar effects in 30 postmenopausal women tested for 12 weeks. These researchers had the subjects lightly work out three times a day, five days a week. They lost about 8 pounds by the end of the study.
Amazingly, doing intermittent exercise caused more weight loss than doing continuous exercise. These two studies show how doing a moderate amount of exercise produces better results than doing an excessive amount.
Resistance Training for Muscle Density
Doing resistance exercises like sprinting also gives you a way to increase your muscle density. The authors of an August 2014 paper in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism tested 15 premenopausal women and found that doing six weeks of sprint interval training three times a week caused an 8 percent loss in body fat and a 1.3 percent increase in muscle mass. It also increased the participants' running speed and aerobic capacity.
Older adults can reap the benefits of resistance training as well. The writers of a June 2013 report in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness tested 23 postmenopausal women and showed that doing twice weekly workouts for a year improved their body composition.
The women lost 2.6 percent of their total body fat during the study. Interestingly, the whole-body resistance training had a different effect on their upper and lower body areas. The upper body showed a 5.4 percent loss, and the lower body showed a 1.4 percent loss.
Dietary Changes for Muscle Density
You can also increase your muscle density by changing your diet, according to a June 2016 article in Obesity Reviews. These researchers assessed the data of studies tracking more than 1,000 overweight subjects over the course of a year. Eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrate each day was considered a very low-carbohydrate diet, and eating less than 200 grams of carbohydrate was considered a low-carbohydrate diet.
Participants adhering to either of one these low-carbohydrate diets improved their body composition. The low-carbohydrate diet caused a 1.3-pound loss of body fat, and the very low-carbohydrate diet caused a 2.1-pound loss. Eating more than 200 carbohydrates a day had no effect on their body weight.
You can combine these diet and exercise to get better results. The authors of a March 2017 report in the International Journal of Sports and Exercise Medicine tested 27 recreational athletes for six weeks and found that combining a low-carbohydrate diet with regular Crossfit workouts caused a 2.6 percent decrease in body fat. Doing only the Crossfit workouts had no effect on body fat. Importantly, the combination had no effect on athletic performance.
Please speak with a doctor before starting an exercise program or changing your diet.
- American Journal of Physiology: "Body Fat Loss and Compensatory Mechanisms in Response to Different Doses of Aerobic Exercise—A Randomized Controlled Trial in Overweight Sedentary Males"
- International Journal of Preventive Medicine: "Comparison Between the Effects of Continuous and Intermittent Aerobic Exercise on Weight Loss and Body Fat Percentage in Overweight and Obese Women"
- Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism: "Running Sprint Interval Training Induces Fat Loss in Women"
- Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness: "Effects of Long-Term Periodized Resistance Training on Body Composition, Leptin, Resistin and Muscle Strength in Elderly Post-Menopausal Women"
- Obesity Reviews: "Impact of Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Body Composition"
- International Journal of Sports and Exercise Medicine: "Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet Combined With 6 Weeks of Crossfit Training Improves Body Composition and Performance"