Exercising isn’t always about losing weight. If getting in shape without losing weight is the goal, it’s important to know which rules of exercise and dieting you should follow. According to the American Council on Exercise, muscle building exercise programs with proper intake of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats can lead to muscle gain and fat burning without significant loss of weight.
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Exercising to maintain current weight requires a program that focuses more on building muscle and less on burning excess calories. Exercise programs that work for this type of goal include strength training and mass building. Fewer repetitions per set -- typically six to eight -- will increase strength and build muscle without burning more calories than you need. Training harder and less frequently is also a good strategy for getting in shape without losing weight since you will rest more often.
Cardio should be kept to a minimum in order to preserve calories that your muscle will surely use up as you build lean mass. Too much cardio will speed up the weight loss. Stick to shorter and more intense cardio sessions, such as interval training or speed drills. Interval training will help burn fat, but help you keep lean muscle, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
Protein should be consumed in order to help with the muscle building process during training. If protein consumption is inadequate during your program, you will eventually stop seeing results. Lack of protein makes it difficult to repair muscle damage done during intense bouts of exercise. If this occurs, you may stay the same weight but your body fat percentage may go up as a result.
Carbohydrates are an important part of the muscle building process. They’re important because they give you the quick energy you need during your intense workouts. Complex carbs such as vegetables, oats and whole grains should be consumed evenly throughout the day. Stay away from excess sugars. When you’re trying to get in shape and maintain your current weight, carbohydrates must still be consumed in order to provide constant energy so you don’t feel tired during your workouts, according to the National Federation of Professional Trainers.
Fats are still important whether you want to lose or gain weight. Consuming healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado help with bodily repairs on the cellular level. Eating fat will not make you fat. Especially during a a strict dietary program where most of the calories are being used efficiently. Fats also provide the extra calories you need to maintain your metabolic state. If you exercise under your minimum daily caloric requirements you risk losing losing weight in the form of muscle mass.
- ACSM’s Resources for the Personal Trainer; American College of Sports Medicine
- American Council on Exercise Personal Trainers Manual; Cedric X. Bryant
- Sports Nutrition Manual; National Federation of Professional Trainers, Mark P. Kelly et al.