How to Lose 3 Percent Body Fat and Gain 10 Pounds in Muscle

Streching out
A man is training his legs outside. (Image: vladans/iStock/Getty Images)

If you gain 10 pounds of muscle while maintaining the same body weight, you can expect a significant reduction in your body fat percentage, 3 percent or more. If you want to lose weight while gaining muscle, you must reduce your overall caloric intake and engage in a regular workout routine that includes both aerobic and resistance exercises.

Reduce Calories

Step 1

Reduce your caloric intake. It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. Limiting portion sizes is one way to reduce total calorie consumption.

Step 2

Eat more fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. By volume, you can eat more high-fiber foods than refined grains, refined sugars and other processed foods to get the nutrients you need and satisfy your hunger.

Step 3

Cut back on fats, especially saturated and trans fats. By restricting your intake, you eliminate unneeded calories from your diet, helping you reach a deficit and reduce body fat.

Step 4

Limit your intake of refined sugar. Refined sugars don’t add nutritional value to your food, yet they increase your caloric intake.

Step 5

Drink plenty of water. Water consumption helps you minimize your caloric intake at meals, as water contains zero calories.

Exercise

Step 1

Do aerobic exercises -- such as jogging, biking, swimming or brisk walking. Exercise increases caloric expenditure. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderately intense activity most days of the week. To burn fat faster, workout 60 minutes most days of the week, recommends the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Step 2

Involve yourself in a competitive sport. For many people, it’s often difficult to get 60 minutes of straight exercise a day. To help you reach this goal, engage in a sport you enjoy -- such as tennis, racquetball, soccer, basketball, football, field hockey or baseball. As long as you're moving, you’re burning calories, which can help you reach the deficit to reduce your body fat percentage.

Step 3

Incorporate strength training into your workout routine. Lift weights, work with resistance bands or simply use your own body weight to increase the workload placed on your muscles. Two to three days a week is a good goal for strength-training activities.

Tip

Example: If you weigh 185 pounds with a lean body mass of 155 pounds, you have a total body fat percentage of 16 percent. If you lose 7 pounds, your body fat percentage drops to 13 percent, hitting your goal of 3 percent fat reduction. However, if you maintain the same weight while gaining 10 pounds of muscle, your body fat drops to 11 percent, a 5 percent body fat reduction by exchanging fat for muscle.

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