Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Keeping the Calories Down When You’re Turning Up

Keeping the Calories Down When You’re Turning Up

Everyone loves a crazy night out, but we are not so fond of the extra calories hanging onto our hips. We all know our week of healthy eating goes to waste just about every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. The good news is that that doesn’t need to be the case. With a few substitutions, you can be on your way to the summer bod you have been working for, without destroying your social life (or your alcohol tolerance).

The phrase “liquid fat” is no myth here in college, but the “freshman 15” can be if you make the right choices about your alcohol. First, ditch the extra fruity drink; the alcohol has enough sugar already, so there is no need to add another 400 calories to make it go down easier.

Next, swap out a dessert drink for something a little lighter on the calorie count. I know we all love our Frozen Mudslides and Long Island Iced Teas, but switching that up for a Screwdriver or Mojito slices the calories and fat dramatically. That means that during your hangover, you’ll have less calories to burn off at the gym.

Keep in mind that these are only guidelines. If you just finished exam week, or you are out on the town for your birthday, there is no shame in guzzling down a few Piña Coladas or Frozen Strawberry Daiquiris.

If you’re feeling a little hesitant on giving up your signature drink for every night out, I don’t blame you. College is about having the time of your life and not giving up indulgences. Instead of ordering your favorite drink at the bar, mix it up yourself before you head out. Instead of filling half the glass with juice before even adding the alcohol, cut the amount of juice in half. Not only will this save you some calories, but it will make that amazing drink just a bit stronger.

Suggested Swaps:

  • Ditch the Long Island Iced Tea, sip on a Cosmo instead.
  • Pour out the Manhattan, and enjoy a Gin and Tonic.
  • Drop the Rum Runner, and grab a Jack and Coke (Diet Coke!!!).
  • Get rid of the White Russian, and throw back a few Vodka Tonics.

More good stuff here:

  • 12 ways to eat cookie butter
  • Ultimate Chipotle menu hacks
  • Copycat Chick-Fil-A sandwich recipe
  • The easiest 2 ingredient drink recipes, ever
  • 24 must-visit Chicago restaurants from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

The post Keeping the Calories Down When You’re Turning Up originally appeared on Spoon University. Please visit Spoon University to see more posts like this one.


6 Habits That Are Making You Lose Muscle, Not Fat

You know the routine: Losing weight means chowing down on fewer calories than you&rsquore burning. But if you&rsquore not smart about it, even the best-intentioned plans can backfire. That&rsquos because dropping pounds always means shedding a mix of both fat and muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, having less of it slows down your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds, says Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., founder of the Soho Strength Lab. Fortunately there are steps you can take to minimize muscle loss. To keep your body&rsquos calorie-burning machine revved, steer clear of these six habits that make you more likely to lose muscle.

Eating less calories than it takes to maintain your basal metabolism (i.e., the minimum energy your body needs at rest for things like breathing and keeping your organs going) puts your body into starvation mode, where it burns both fat and muscle for fuel. &ldquoYour body&rsquos main goal is to keep you alive, so it&rsquos going to make sure that you have enough energy for basic functions,&rdquo says Matheny.

(Learn how to blast fat and tone your entire body with workouts from the Women's Health Guide to Strength Training!)

&ldquoWhen you&rsquore not taking in enough calories, your body takes from stored carbs (glycogen), stored fat, and protein from muscle,&rdquo explains Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S., the personal training program manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Exactly how many calories is too few depends on your current weight, although no one should dip below 1,000 calories.

The solution: To maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss, Clayton recommends a deficit of between 500 to 1,000 calories from your current daily intake, with about half coming from calories you&rsquove cut and half from exercise.

Weight loss isn&rsquot just about how much you eat&mdashit&rsquos about what you put in your mouth, too. A 2016 study found that when people went on a low-calorie diet for four weeks, those who ate more protein (2.4 vs. 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) lost 27 percent more fat (10.6 vs. 7.6 pounds) and gained eight times as much lean muscle mass (2.6 vs. 0.22 pounds). That&rsquos because the complete protein found in foods like eggs, poultry, dairy, and meats offers all nine of the essential amino acids your body uses to build and maintain muscle. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not getting enough protein, you&rsquore not giving your body the building blocks to build muscle efficiently. If you&rsquore losing weight, you&rsquoll lose even more muscle,&rdquo says Matheny.

The solution: For dieters, Clayton suggests 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or about 0.7 grams per pound). If you weigh 120 pounds, you&rsquod aim for 80 to 90 grams of protein daily&mdashthat&rsquos about one-third of your total daily calories, or 25 grams of protein per meal plus a protein-rich snack.

Check out this delicious protein-packed snack:

To maintain muscle, your body needs a push. &ldquoWhen you&rsquore not stimulating your muscle, your body won&rsquot build it,&rdquo says Matheny. &ldquoIf you&rsquore on a really low-calorie diet and not resistance training, you definitely won&rsquot add muscle, and you may lose some.&rdquo Indeed, one small 2014 study found that when obese people went on a diet, those who resistance trained lost about the same amount of weight overall as those who weren&rsquot lifting&mdashand they lost half as much muscle (0.9 vs. 2 kg). In fact, lifting weights might actually be a better long-term fat-blaster than cardio: A 2015 Harvard study of more than 10,500 people found that over 12 years, people who weight trained lost about twice as much belly fat (0.33 cm vs. 0.67 waist circumference) as those who just did cardio.

The solution: To see benefits, Clayton suggests fitting in one to two intense weight-lifting sessions per week incorporating mostly full-body moves like squats, lunges, and pushups. Use as much weight as you can handle and work to exhaustion for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps each.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Lose Weight Without Going Low-Carb

Refueling right after you work out is as important as the weights you lift. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not eating after workouts, there&rsquos a higher chance you won&rsquot recover. And if you&rsquore not repairing the muscle you broke down, you&rsquoll lose it,&rdquo says Matheny. The longer you wait to munch, the less efficient and effective that repair process will be.

The solution: Matheny says if you&rsquove worked out moderately for at least 45 minutes, you should down about 20 grams of high-quality protein, like a protein shake or Greek yogurt, within 15 to 30 minutes

RELATED: The Vibrating Tool Khloe Kardashian Uses After Her Workouts

You might think that sweating it out on the elliptical for an hour every day is the way to churn through calories and body fat when you&rsquore dieting, right? Wrong. Unlike weight lifting, which engages all of your muscle fibers, cardio doesn&rsquot build muscle. In fact, it can burn it. Although your body uses mostly stored fat to fuel low-intensity cardio like an hour of walking, if you&rsquore on a calorie deficit and jog for 45 minutes your body taps into muscle for fuel. &ldquoModerate-intensity exercise is most likely to lead to muscle wasting,&rdquo says Clayton. A good sign that&rsquos happening is when, a couple of sessions in, you can&rsquot make it the full distance at the same intensity, says Matheny.

The solution: To avoid muscle loss, schedule low-intensity cardio, like walks, three to four days per week, suggests Clayton. Then, one to two times per week, blast through four minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals (alternating 20 second all-out sprints with 10 seconds rest). &ldquoIt shocks your system and has a ton of health benefits, including protecting your muscle,&rdquo says Clayton.

RELATED: 6 Fat-Blasting Cardio Moves You Can Do At Home

To shed pounds efficiently, your body needs enough rest. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not sleeping, your hormones aren&rsquot functioning properly. You&rsquoll have high cortisol levels, which increases the chance that you&rsquoll store carbs as fat,&rdquo says Matheny. What&rsquos more, because you&rsquore tired you won&rsquot be able to work out as hard. That means you won&rsquot build as much muscle and over time may even lose the bit you&rsquove got.

The solution: Don&rsquot skimp on hitting the sack. Try to schedule in seven to nine hours every night.


6 Habits That Are Making You Lose Muscle, Not Fat

You know the routine: Losing weight means chowing down on fewer calories than you&rsquore burning. But if you&rsquore not smart about it, even the best-intentioned plans can backfire. That&rsquos because dropping pounds always means shedding a mix of both fat and muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, having less of it slows down your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds, says Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., founder of the Soho Strength Lab. Fortunately there are steps you can take to minimize muscle loss. To keep your body&rsquos calorie-burning machine revved, steer clear of these six habits that make you more likely to lose muscle.

Eating less calories than it takes to maintain your basal metabolism (i.e., the minimum energy your body needs at rest for things like breathing and keeping your organs going) puts your body into starvation mode, where it burns both fat and muscle for fuel. &ldquoYour body&rsquos main goal is to keep you alive, so it&rsquos going to make sure that you have enough energy for basic functions,&rdquo says Matheny.

(Learn how to blast fat and tone your entire body with workouts from the Women's Health Guide to Strength Training!)

&ldquoWhen you&rsquore not taking in enough calories, your body takes from stored carbs (glycogen), stored fat, and protein from muscle,&rdquo explains Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S., the personal training program manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Exactly how many calories is too few depends on your current weight, although no one should dip below 1,000 calories.

The solution: To maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss, Clayton recommends a deficit of between 500 to 1,000 calories from your current daily intake, with about half coming from calories you&rsquove cut and half from exercise.

Weight loss isn&rsquot just about how much you eat&mdashit&rsquos about what you put in your mouth, too. A 2016 study found that when people went on a low-calorie diet for four weeks, those who ate more protein (2.4 vs. 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) lost 27 percent more fat (10.6 vs. 7.6 pounds) and gained eight times as much lean muscle mass (2.6 vs. 0.22 pounds). That&rsquos because the complete protein found in foods like eggs, poultry, dairy, and meats offers all nine of the essential amino acids your body uses to build and maintain muscle. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not getting enough protein, you&rsquore not giving your body the building blocks to build muscle efficiently. If you&rsquore losing weight, you&rsquoll lose even more muscle,&rdquo says Matheny.

The solution: For dieters, Clayton suggests 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or about 0.7 grams per pound). If you weigh 120 pounds, you&rsquod aim for 80 to 90 grams of protein daily&mdashthat&rsquos about one-third of your total daily calories, or 25 grams of protein per meal plus a protein-rich snack.

Check out this delicious protein-packed snack:

To maintain muscle, your body needs a push. &ldquoWhen you&rsquore not stimulating your muscle, your body won&rsquot build it,&rdquo says Matheny. &ldquoIf you&rsquore on a really low-calorie diet and not resistance training, you definitely won&rsquot add muscle, and you may lose some.&rdquo Indeed, one small 2014 study found that when obese people went on a diet, those who resistance trained lost about the same amount of weight overall as those who weren&rsquot lifting&mdashand they lost half as much muscle (0.9 vs. 2 kg). In fact, lifting weights might actually be a better long-term fat-blaster than cardio: A 2015 Harvard study of more than 10,500 people found that over 12 years, people who weight trained lost about twice as much belly fat (0.33 cm vs. 0.67 waist circumference) as those who just did cardio.

The solution: To see benefits, Clayton suggests fitting in one to two intense weight-lifting sessions per week incorporating mostly full-body moves like squats, lunges, and pushups. Use as much weight as you can handle and work to exhaustion for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps each.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Lose Weight Without Going Low-Carb

Refueling right after you work out is as important as the weights you lift. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not eating after workouts, there&rsquos a higher chance you won&rsquot recover. And if you&rsquore not repairing the muscle you broke down, you&rsquoll lose it,&rdquo says Matheny. The longer you wait to munch, the less efficient and effective that repair process will be.

The solution: Matheny says if you&rsquove worked out moderately for at least 45 minutes, you should down about 20 grams of high-quality protein, like a protein shake or Greek yogurt, within 15 to 30 minutes

RELATED: The Vibrating Tool Khloe Kardashian Uses After Her Workouts

You might think that sweating it out on the elliptical for an hour every day is the way to churn through calories and body fat when you&rsquore dieting, right? Wrong. Unlike weight lifting, which engages all of your muscle fibers, cardio doesn&rsquot build muscle. In fact, it can burn it. Although your body uses mostly stored fat to fuel low-intensity cardio like an hour of walking, if you&rsquore on a calorie deficit and jog for 45 minutes your body taps into muscle for fuel. &ldquoModerate-intensity exercise is most likely to lead to muscle wasting,&rdquo says Clayton. A good sign that&rsquos happening is when, a couple of sessions in, you can&rsquot make it the full distance at the same intensity, says Matheny.

The solution: To avoid muscle loss, schedule low-intensity cardio, like walks, three to four days per week, suggests Clayton. Then, one to two times per week, blast through four minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals (alternating 20 second all-out sprints with 10 seconds rest). &ldquoIt shocks your system and has a ton of health benefits, including protecting your muscle,&rdquo says Clayton.

RELATED: 6 Fat-Blasting Cardio Moves You Can Do At Home

To shed pounds efficiently, your body needs enough rest. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not sleeping, your hormones aren&rsquot functioning properly. You&rsquoll have high cortisol levels, which increases the chance that you&rsquoll store carbs as fat,&rdquo says Matheny. What&rsquos more, because you&rsquore tired you won&rsquot be able to work out as hard. That means you won&rsquot build as much muscle and over time may even lose the bit you&rsquove got.

The solution: Don&rsquot skimp on hitting the sack. Try to schedule in seven to nine hours every night.


6 Habits That Are Making You Lose Muscle, Not Fat

You know the routine: Losing weight means chowing down on fewer calories than you&rsquore burning. But if you&rsquore not smart about it, even the best-intentioned plans can backfire. That&rsquos because dropping pounds always means shedding a mix of both fat and muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, having less of it slows down your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds, says Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., founder of the Soho Strength Lab. Fortunately there are steps you can take to minimize muscle loss. To keep your body&rsquos calorie-burning machine revved, steer clear of these six habits that make you more likely to lose muscle.

Eating less calories than it takes to maintain your basal metabolism (i.e., the minimum energy your body needs at rest for things like breathing and keeping your organs going) puts your body into starvation mode, where it burns both fat and muscle for fuel. &ldquoYour body&rsquos main goal is to keep you alive, so it&rsquos going to make sure that you have enough energy for basic functions,&rdquo says Matheny.

(Learn how to blast fat and tone your entire body with workouts from the Women's Health Guide to Strength Training!)

&ldquoWhen you&rsquore not taking in enough calories, your body takes from stored carbs (glycogen), stored fat, and protein from muscle,&rdquo explains Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S., the personal training program manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Exactly how many calories is too few depends on your current weight, although no one should dip below 1,000 calories.

The solution: To maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss, Clayton recommends a deficit of between 500 to 1,000 calories from your current daily intake, with about half coming from calories you&rsquove cut and half from exercise.

Weight loss isn&rsquot just about how much you eat&mdashit&rsquos about what you put in your mouth, too. A 2016 study found that when people went on a low-calorie diet for four weeks, those who ate more protein (2.4 vs. 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) lost 27 percent more fat (10.6 vs. 7.6 pounds) and gained eight times as much lean muscle mass (2.6 vs. 0.22 pounds). That&rsquos because the complete protein found in foods like eggs, poultry, dairy, and meats offers all nine of the essential amino acids your body uses to build and maintain muscle. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not getting enough protein, you&rsquore not giving your body the building blocks to build muscle efficiently. If you&rsquore losing weight, you&rsquoll lose even more muscle,&rdquo says Matheny.

The solution: For dieters, Clayton suggests 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or about 0.7 grams per pound). If you weigh 120 pounds, you&rsquod aim for 80 to 90 grams of protein daily&mdashthat&rsquos about one-third of your total daily calories, or 25 grams of protein per meal plus a protein-rich snack.

Check out this delicious protein-packed snack:

To maintain muscle, your body needs a push. &ldquoWhen you&rsquore not stimulating your muscle, your body won&rsquot build it,&rdquo says Matheny. &ldquoIf you&rsquore on a really low-calorie diet and not resistance training, you definitely won&rsquot add muscle, and you may lose some.&rdquo Indeed, one small 2014 study found that when obese people went on a diet, those who resistance trained lost about the same amount of weight overall as those who weren&rsquot lifting&mdashand they lost half as much muscle (0.9 vs. 2 kg). In fact, lifting weights might actually be a better long-term fat-blaster than cardio: A 2015 Harvard study of more than 10,500 people found that over 12 years, people who weight trained lost about twice as much belly fat (0.33 cm vs. 0.67 waist circumference) as those who just did cardio.

The solution: To see benefits, Clayton suggests fitting in one to two intense weight-lifting sessions per week incorporating mostly full-body moves like squats, lunges, and pushups. Use as much weight as you can handle and work to exhaustion for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps each.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Lose Weight Without Going Low-Carb

Refueling right after you work out is as important as the weights you lift. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not eating after workouts, there&rsquos a higher chance you won&rsquot recover. And if you&rsquore not repairing the muscle you broke down, you&rsquoll lose it,&rdquo says Matheny. The longer you wait to munch, the less efficient and effective that repair process will be.

The solution: Matheny says if you&rsquove worked out moderately for at least 45 minutes, you should down about 20 grams of high-quality protein, like a protein shake or Greek yogurt, within 15 to 30 minutes

RELATED: The Vibrating Tool Khloe Kardashian Uses After Her Workouts

You might think that sweating it out on the elliptical for an hour every day is the way to churn through calories and body fat when you&rsquore dieting, right? Wrong. Unlike weight lifting, which engages all of your muscle fibers, cardio doesn&rsquot build muscle. In fact, it can burn it. Although your body uses mostly stored fat to fuel low-intensity cardio like an hour of walking, if you&rsquore on a calorie deficit and jog for 45 minutes your body taps into muscle for fuel. &ldquoModerate-intensity exercise is most likely to lead to muscle wasting,&rdquo says Clayton. A good sign that&rsquos happening is when, a couple of sessions in, you can&rsquot make it the full distance at the same intensity, says Matheny.

The solution: To avoid muscle loss, schedule low-intensity cardio, like walks, three to four days per week, suggests Clayton. Then, one to two times per week, blast through four minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals (alternating 20 second all-out sprints with 10 seconds rest). &ldquoIt shocks your system and has a ton of health benefits, including protecting your muscle,&rdquo says Clayton.

RELATED: 6 Fat-Blasting Cardio Moves You Can Do At Home

To shed pounds efficiently, your body needs enough rest. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not sleeping, your hormones aren&rsquot functioning properly. You&rsquoll have high cortisol levels, which increases the chance that you&rsquoll store carbs as fat,&rdquo says Matheny. What&rsquos more, because you&rsquore tired you won&rsquot be able to work out as hard. That means you won&rsquot build as much muscle and over time may even lose the bit you&rsquove got.

The solution: Don&rsquot skimp on hitting the sack. Try to schedule in seven to nine hours every night.


6 Habits That Are Making You Lose Muscle, Not Fat

You know the routine: Losing weight means chowing down on fewer calories than you&rsquore burning. But if you&rsquore not smart about it, even the best-intentioned plans can backfire. That&rsquos because dropping pounds always means shedding a mix of both fat and muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, having less of it slows down your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds, says Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., founder of the Soho Strength Lab. Fortunately there are steps you can take to minimize muscle loss. To keep your body&rsquos calorie-burning machine revved, steer clear of these six habits that make you more likely to lose muscle.

Eating less calories than it takes to maintain your basal metabolism (i.e., the minimum energy your body needs at rest for things like breathing and keeping your organs going) puts your body into starvation mode, where it burns both fat and muscle for fuel. &ldquoYour body&rsquos main goal is to keep you alive, so it&rsquos going to make sure that you have enough energy for basic functions,&rdquo says Matheny.

(Learn how to blast fat and tone your entire body with workouts from the Women's Health Guide to Strength Training!)

&ldquoWhen you&rsquore not taking in enough calories, your body takes from stored carbs (glycogen), stored fat, and protein from muscle,&rdquo explains Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S., the personal training program manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Exactly how many calories is too few depends on your current weight, although no one should dip below 1,000 calories.

The solution: To maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss, Clayton recommends a deficit of between 500 to 1,000 calories from your current daily intake, with about half coming from calories you&rsquove cut and half from exercise.

Weight loss isn&rsquot just about how much you eat&mdashit&rsquos about what you put in your mouth, too. A 2016 study found that when people went on a low-calorie diet for four weeks, those who ate more protein (2.4 vs. 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) lost 27 percent more fat (10.6 vs. 7.6 pounds) and gained eight times as much lean muscle mass (2.6 vs. 0.22 pounds). That&rsquos because the complete protein found in foods like eggs, poultry, dairy, and meats offers all nine of the essential amino acids your body uses to build and maintain muscle. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not getting enough protein, you&rsquore not giving your body the building blocks to build muscle efficiently. If you&rsquore losing weight, you&rsquoll lose even more muscle,&rdquo says Matheny.

The solution: For dieters, Clayton suggests 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or about 0.7 grams per pound). If you weigh 120 pounds, you&rsquod aim for 80 to 90 grams of protein daily&mdashthat&rsquos about one-third of your total daily calories, or 25 grams of protein per meal plus a protein-rich snack.

Check out this delicious protein-packed snack:

To maintain muscle, your body needs a push. &ldquoWhen you&rsquore not stimulating your muscle, your body won&rsquot build it,&rdquo says Matheny. &ldquoIf you&rsquore on a really low-calorie diet and not resistance training, you definitely won&rsquot add muscle, and you may lose some.&rdquo Indeed, one small 2014 study found that when obese people went on a diet, those who resistance trained lost about the same amount of weight overall as those who weren&rsquot lifting&mdashand they lost half as much muscle (0.9 vs. 2 kg). In fact, lifting weights might actually be a better long-term fat-blaster than cardio: A 2015 Harvard study of more than 10,500 people found that over 12 years, people who weight trained lost about twice as much belly fat (0.33 cm vs. 0.67 waist circumference) as those who just did cardio.

The solution: To see benefits, Clayton suggests fitting in one to two intense weight-lifting sessions per week incorporating mostly full-body moves like squats, lunges, and pushups. Use as much weight as you can handle and work to exhaustion for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps each.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Lose Weight Without Going Low-Carb

Refueling right after you work out is as important as the weights you lift. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not eating after workouts, there&rsquos a higher chance you won&rsquot recover. And if you&rsquore not repairing the muscle you broke down, you&rsquoll lose it,&rdquo says Matheny. The longer you wait to munch, the less efficient and effective that repair process will be.

The solution: Matheny says if you&rsquove worked out moderately for at least 45 minutes, you should down about 20 grams of high-quality protein, like a protein shake or Greek yogurt, within 15 to 30 minutes

RELATED: The Vibrating Tool Khloe Kardashian Uses After Her Workouts

You might think that sweating it out on the elliptical for an hour every day is the way to churn through calories and body fat when you&rsquore dieting, right? Wrong. Unlike weight lifting, which engages all of your muscle fibers, cardio doesn&rsquot build muscle. In fact, it can burn it. Although your body uses mostly stored fat to fuel low-intensity cardio like an hour of walking, if you&rsquore on a calorie deficit and jog for 45 minutes your body taps into muscle for fuel. &ldquoModerate-intensity exercise is most likely to lead to muscle wasting,&rdquo says Clayton. A good sign that&rsquos happening is when, a couple of sessions in, you can&rsquot make it the full distance at the same intensity, says Matheny.

The solution: To avoid muscle loss, schedule low-intensity cardio, like walks, three to four days per week, suggests Clayton. Then, one to two times per week, blast through four minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals (alternating 20 second all-out sprints with 10 seconds rest). &ldquoIt shocks your system and has a ton of health benefits, including protecting your muscle,&rdquo says Clayton.

RELATED: 6 Fat-Blasting Cardio Moves You Can Do At Home

To shed pounds efficiently, your body needs enough rest. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not sleeping, your hormones aren&rsquot functioning properly. You&rsquoll have high cortisol levels, which increases the chance that you&rsquoll store carbs as fat,&rdquo says Matheny. What&rsquos more, because you&rsquore tired you won&rsquot be able to work out as hard. That means you won&rsquot build as much muscle and over time may even lose the bit you&rsquove got.

The solution: Don&rsquot skimp on hitting the sack. Try to schedule in seven to nine hours every night.


6 Habits That Are Making You Lose Muscle, Not Fat

You know the routine: Losing weight means chowing down on fewer calories than you&rsquore burning. But if you&rsquore not smart about it, even the best-intentioned plans can backfire. That&rsquos because dropping pounds always means shedding a mix of both fat and muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, having less of it slows down your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds, says Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., founder of the Soho Strength Lab. Fortunately there are steps you can take to minimize muscle loss. To keep your body&rsquos calorie-burning machine revved, steer clear of these six habits that make you more likely to lose muscle.

Eating less calories than it takes to maintain your basal metabolism (i.e., the minimum energy your body needs at rest for things like breathing and keeping your organs going) puts your body into starvation mode, where it burns both fat and muscle for fuel. &ldquoYour body&rsquos main goal is to keep you alive, so it&rsquos going to make sure that you have enough energy for basic functions,&rdquo says Matheny.

(Learn how to blast fat and tone your entire body with workouts from the Women's Health Guide to Strength Training!)

&ldquoWhen you&rsquore not taking in enough calories, your body takes from stored carbs (glycogen), stored fat, and protein from muscle,&rdquo explains Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S., the personal training program manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Exactly how many calories is too few depends on your current weight, although no one should dip below 1,000 calories.

The solution: To maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss, Clayton recommends a deficit of between 500 to 1,000 calories from your current daily intake, with about half coming from calories you&rsquove cut and half from exercise.

Weight loss isn&rsquot just about how much you eat&mdashit&rsquos about what you put in your mouth, too. A 2016 study found that when people went on a low-calorie diet for four weeks, those who ate more protein (2.4 vs. 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) lost 27 percent more fat (10.6 vs. 7.6 pounds) and gained eight times as much lean muscle mass (2.6 vs. 0.22 pounds). That&rsquos because the complete protein found in foods like eggs, poultry, dairy, and meats offers all nine of the essential amino acids your body uses to build and maintain muscle. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not getting enough protein, you&rsquore not giving your body the building blocks to build muscle efficiently. If you&rsquore losing weight, you&rsquoll lose even more muscle,&rdquo says Matheny.

The solution: For dieters, Clayton suggests 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or about 0.7 grams per pound). If you weigh 120 pounds, you&rsquod aim for 80 to 90 grams of protein daily&mdashthat&rsquos about one-third of your total daily calories, or 25 grams of protein per meal plus a protein-rich snack.

Check out this delicious protein-packed snack:

To maintain muscle, your body needs a push. &ldquoWhen you&rsquore not stimulating your muscle, your body won&rsquot build it,&rdquo says Matheny. &ldquoIf you&rsquore on a really low-calorie diet and not resistance training, you definitely won&rsquot add muscle, and you may lose some.&rdquo Indeed, one small 2014 study found that when obese people went on a diet, those who resistance trained lost about the same amount of weight overall as those who weren&rsquot lifting&mdashand they lost half as much muscle (0.9 vs. 2 kg). In fact, lifting weights might actually be a better long-term fat-blaster than cardio: A 2015 Harvard study of more than 10,500 people found that over 12 years, people who weight trained lost about twice as much belly fat (0.33 cm vs. 0.67 waist circumference) as those who just did cardio.

The solution: To see benefits, Clayton suggests fitting in one to two intense weight-lifting sessions per week incorporating mostly full-body moves like squats, lunges, and pushups. Use as much weight as you can handle and work to exhaustion for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps each.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Lose Weight Without Going Low-Carb

Refueling right after you work out is as important as the weights you lift. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not eating after workouts, there&rsquos a higher chance you won&rsquot recover. And if you&rsquore not repairing the muscle you broke down, you&rsquoll lose it,&rdquo says Matheny. The longer you wait to munch, the less efficient and effective that repair process will be.

The solution: Matheny says if you&rsquove worked out moderately for at least 45 minutes, you should down about 20 grams of high-quality protein, like a protein shake or Greek yogurt, within 15 to 30 minutes

RELATED: The Vibrating Tool Khloe Kardashian Uses After Her Workouts

You might think that sweating it out on the elliptical for an hour every day is the way to churn through calories and body fat when you&rsquore dieting, right? Wrong. Unlike weight lifting, which engages all of your muscle fibers, cardio doesn&rsquot build muscle. In fact, it can burn it. Although your body uses mostly stored fat to fuel low-intensity cardio like an hour of walking, if you&rsquore on a calorie deficit and jog for 45 minutes your body taps into muscle for fuel. &ldquoModerate-intensity exercise is most likely to lead to muscle wasting,&rdquo says Clayton. A good sign that&rsquos happening is when, a couple of sessions in, you can&rsquot make it the full distance at the same intensity, says Matheny.

The solution: To avoid muscle loss, schedule low-intensity cardio, like walks, three to four days per week, suggests Clayton. Then, one to two times per week, blast through four minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals (alternating 20 second all-out sprints with 10 seconds rest). &ldquoIt shocks your system and has a ton of health benefits, including protecting your muscle,&rdquo says Clayton.

RELATED: 6 Fat-Blasting Cardio Moves You Can Do At Home

To shed pounds efficiently, your body needs enough rest. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not sleeping, your hormones aren&rsquot functioning properly. You&rsquoll have high cortisol levels, which increases the chance that you&rsquoll store carbs as fat,&rdquo says Matheny. What&rsquos more, because you&rsquore tired you won&rsquot be able to work out as hard. That means you won&rsquot build as much muscle and over time may even lose the bit you&rsquove got.

The solution: Don&rsquot skimp on hitting the sack. Try to schedule in seven to nine hours every night.


6 Habits That Are Making You Lose Muscle, Not Fat

You know the routine: Losing weight means chowing down on fewer calories than you&rsquore burning. But if you&rsquore not smart about it, even the best-intentioned plans can backfire. That&rsquos because dropping pounds always means shedding a mix of both fat and muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, having less of it slows down your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds, says Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., founder of the Soho Strength Lab. Fortunately there are steps you can take to minimize muscle loss. To keep your body&rsquos calorie-burning machine revved, steer clear of these six habits that make you more likely to lose muscle.

Eating less calories than it takes to maintain your basal metabolism (i.e., the minimum energy your body needs at rest for things like breathing and keeping your organs going) puts your body into starvation mode, where it burns both fat and muscle for fuel. &ldquoYour body&rsquos main goal is to keep you alive, so it&rsquos going to make sure that you have enough energy for basic functions,&rdquo says Matheny.

(Learn how to blast fat and tone your entire body with workouts from the Women's Health Guide to Strength Training!)

&ldquoWhen you&rsquore not taking in enough calories, your body takes from stored carbs (glycogen), stored fat, and protein from muscle,&rdquo explains Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S., the personal training program manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Exactly how many calories is too few depends on your current weight, although no one should dip below 1,000 calories.

The solution: To maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss, Clayton recommends a deficit of between 500 to 1,000 calories from your current daily intake, with about half coming from calories you&rsquove cut and half from exercise.

Weight loss isn&rsquot just about how much you eat&mdashit&rsquos about what you put in your mouth, too. A 2016 study found that when people went on a low-calorie diet for four weeks, those who ate more protein (2.4 vs. 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) lost 27 percent more fat (10.6 vs. 7.6 pounds) and gained eight times as much lean muscle mass (2.6 vs. 0.22 pounds). That&rsquos because the complete protein found in foods like eggs, poultry, dairy, and meats offers all nine of the essential amino acids your body uses to build and maintain muscle. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not getting enough protein, you&rsquore not giving your body the building blocks to build muscle efficiently. If you&rsquore losing weight, you&rsquoll lose even more muscle,&rdquo says Matheny.

The solution: For dieters, Clayton suggests 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or about 0.7 grams per pound). If you weigh 120 pounds, you&rsquod aim for 80 to 90 grams of protein daily&mdashthat&rsquos about one-third of your total daily calories, or 25 grams of protein per meal plus a protein-rich snack.

Check out this delicious protein-packed snack:

To maintain muscle, your body needs a push. &ldquoWhen you&rsquore not stimulating your muscle, your body won&rsquot build it,&rdquo says Matheny. &ldquoIf you&rsquore on a really low-calorie diet and not resistance training, you definitely won&rsquot add muscle, and you may lose some.&rdquo Indeed, one small 2014 study found that when obese people went on a diet, those who resistance trained lost about the same amount of weight overall as those who weren&rsquot lifting&mdashand they lost half as much muscle (0.9 vs. 2 kg). In fact, lifting weights might actually be a better long-term fat-blaster than cardio: A 2015 Harvard study of more than 10,500 people found that over 12 years, people who weight trained lost about twice as much belly fat (0.33 cm vs. 0.67 waist circumference) as those who just did cardio.

The solution: To see benefits, Clayton suggests fitting in one to two intense weight-lifting sessions per week incorporating mostly full-body moves like squats, lunges, and pushups. Use as much weight as you can handle and work to exhaustion for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps each.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Lose Weight Without Going Low-Carb

Refueling right after you work out is as important as the weights you lift. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not eating after workouts, there&rsquos a higher chance you won&rsquot recover. And if you&rsquore not repairing the muscle you broke down, you&rsquoll lose it,&rdquo says Matheny. The longer you wait to munch, the less efficient and effective that repair process will be.

The solution: Matheny says if you&rsquove worked out moderately for at least 45 minutes, you should down about 20 grams of high-quality protein, like a protein shake or Greek yogurt, within 15 to 30 minutes

RELATED: The Vibrating Tool Khloe Kardashian Uses After Her Workouts

You might think that sweating it out on the elliptical for an hour every day is the way to churn through calories and body fat when you&rsquore dieting, right? Wrong. Unlike weight lifting, which engages all of your muscle fibers, cardio doesn&rsquot build muscle. In fact, it can burn it. Although your body uses mostly stored fat to fuel low-intensity cardio like an hour of walking, if you&rsquore on a calorie deficit and jog for 45 minutes your body taps into muscle for fuel. &ldquoModerate-intensity exercise is most likely to lead to muscle wasting,&rdquo says Clayton. A good sign that&rsquos happening is when, a couple of sessions in, you can&rsquot make it the full distance at the same intensity, says Matheny.

The solution: To avoid muscle loss, schedule low-intensity cardio, like walks, three to four days per week, suggests Clayton. Then, one to two times per week, blast through four minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals (alternating 20 second all-out sprints with 10 seconds rest). &ldquoIt shocks your system and has a ton of health benefits, including protecting your muscle,&rdquo says Clayton.

RELATED: 6 Fat-Blasting Cardio Moves You Can Do At Home

To shed pounds efficiently, your body needs enough rest. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not sleeping, your hormones aren&rsquot functioning properly. You&rsquoll have high cortisol levels, which increases the chance that you&rsquoll store carbs as fat,&rdquo says Matheny. What&rsquos more, because you&rsquore tired you won&rsquot be able to work out as hard. That means you won&rsquot build as much muscle and over time may even lose the bit you&rsquove got.

The solution: Don&rsquot skimp on hitting the sack. Try to schedule in seven to nine hours every night.


6 Habits That Are Making You Lose Muscle, Not Fat

You know the routine: Losing weight means chowing down on fewer calories than you&rsquore burning. But if you&rsquore not smart about it, even the best-intentioned plans can backfire. That&rsquos because dropping pounds always means shedding a mix of both fat and muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, having less of it slows down your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds, says Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., founder of the Soho Strength Lab. Fortunately there are steps you can take to minimize muscle loss. To keep your body&rsquos calorie-burning machine revved, steer clear of these six habits that make you more likely to lose muscle.

Eating less calories than it takes to maintain your basal metabolism (i.e., the minimum energy your body needs at rest for things like breathing and keeping your organs going) puts your body into starvation mode, where it burns both fat and muscle for fuel. &ldquoYour body&rsquos main goal is to keep you alive, so it&rsquos going to make sure that you have enough energy for basic functions,&rdquo says Matheny.

(Learn how to blast fat and tone your entire body with workouts from the Women's Health Guide to Strength Training!)

&ldquoWhen you&rsquore not taking in enough calories, your body takes from stored carbs (glycogen), stored fat, and protein from muscle,&rdquo explains Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S., the personal training program manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Exactly how many calories is too few depends on your current weight, although no one should dip below 1,000 calories.

The solution: To maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss, Clayton recommends a deficit of between 500 to 1,000 calories from your current daily intake, with about half coming from calories you&rsquove cut and half from exercise.

Weight loss isn&rsquot just about how much you eat&mdashit&rsquos about what you put in your mouth, too. A 2016 study found that when people went on a low-calorie diet for four weeks, those who ate more protein (2.4 vs. 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) lost 27 percent more fat (10.6 vs. 7.6 pounds) and gained eight times as much lean muscle mass (2.6 vs. 0.22 pounds). That&rsquos because the complete protein found in foods like eggs, poultry, dairy, and meats offers all nine of the essential amino acids your body uses to build and maintain muscle. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not getting enough protein, you&rsquore not giving your body the building blocks to build muscle efficiently. If you&rsquore losing weight, you&rsquoll lose even more muscle,&rdquo says Matheny.

The solution: For dieters, Clayton suggests 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or about 0.7 grams per pound). If you weigh 120 pounds, you&rsquod aim for 80 to 90 grams of protein daily&mdashthat&rsquos about one-third of your total daily calories, or 25 grams of protein per meal plus a protein-rich snack.

Check out this delicious protein-packed snack:

To maintain muscle, your body needs a push. &ldquoWhen you&rsquore not stimulating your muscle, your body won&rsquot build it,&rdquo says Matheny. &ldquoIf you&rsquore on a really low-calorie diet and not resistance training, you definitely won&rsquot add muscle, and you may lose some.&rdquo Indeed, one small 2014 study found that when obese people went on a diet, those who resistance trained lost about the same amount of weight overall as those who weren&rsquot lifting&mdashand they lost half as much muscle (0.9 vs. 2 kg). In fact, lifting weights might actually be a better long-term fat-blaster than cardio: A 2015 Harvard study of more than 10,500 people found that over 12 years, people who weight trained lost about twice as much belly fat (0.33 cm vs. 0.67 waist circumference) as those who just did cardio.

The solution: To see benefits, Clayton suggests fitting in one to two intense weight-lifting sessions per week incorporating mostly full-body moves like squats, lunges, and pushups. Use as much weight as you can handle and work to exhaustion for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps each.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Lose Weight Without Going Low-Carb

Refueling right after you work out is as important as the weights you lift. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not eating after workouts, there&rsquos a higher chance you won&rsquot recover. And if you&rsquore not repairing the muscle you broke down, you&rsquoll lose it,&rdquo says Matheny. The longer you wait to munch, the less efficient and effective that repair process will be.

The solution: Matheny says if you&rsquove worked out moderately for at least 45 minutes, you should down about 20 grams of high-quality protein, like a protein shake or Greek yogurt, within 15 to 30 minutes

RELATED: The Vibrating Tool Khloe Kardashian Uses After Her Workouts

You might think that sweating it out on the elliptical for an hour every day is the way to churn through calories and body fat when you&rsquore dieting, right? Wrong. Unlike weight lifting, which engages all of your muscle fibers, cardio doesn&rsquot build muscle. In fact, it can burn it. Although your body uses mostly stored fat to fuel low-intensity cardio like an hour of walking, if you&rsquore on a calorie deficit and jog for 45 minutes your body taps into muscle for fuel. &ldquoModerate-intensity exercise is most likely to lead to muscle wasting,&rdquo says Clayton. A good sign that&rsquos happening is when, a couple of sessions in, you can&rsquot make it the full distance at the same intensity, says Matheny.

The solution: To avoid muscle loss, schedule low-intensity cardio, like walks, three to four days per week, suggests Clayton. Then, one to two times per week, blast through four minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals (alternating 20 second all-out sprints with 10 seconds rest). &ldquoIt shocks your system and has a ton of health benefits, including protecting your muscle,&rdquo says Clayton.

RELATED: 6 Fat-Blasting Cardio Moves You Can Do At Home

To shed pounds efficiently, your body needs enough rest. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not sleeping, your hormones aren&rsquot functioning properly. You&rsquoll have high cortisol levels, which increases the chance that you&rsquoll store carbs as fat,&rdquo says Matheny. What&rsquos more, because you&rsquore tired you won&rsquot be able to work out as hard. That means you won&rsquot build as much muscle and over time may even lose the bit you&rsquove got.

The solution: Don&rsquot skimp on hitting the sack. Try to schedule in seven to nine hours every night.


6 Habits That Are Making You Lose Muscle, Not Fat

You know the routine: Losing weight means chowing down on fewer calories than you&rsquore burning. But if you&rsquore not smart about it, even the best-intentioned plans can backfire. That&rsquos because dropping pounds always means shedding a mix of both fat and muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, having less of it slows down your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds, says Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., founder of the Soho Strength Lab. Fortunately there are steps you can take to minimize muscle loss. To keep your body&rsquos calorie-burning machine revved, steer clear of these six habits that make you more likely to lose muscle.

Eating less calories than it takes to maintain your basal metabolism (i.e., the minimum energy your body needs at rest for things like breathing and keeping your organs going) puts your body into starvation mode, where it burns both fat and muscle for fuel. &ldquoYour body&rsquos main goal is to keep you alive, so it&rsquos going to make sure that you have enough energy for basic functions,&rdquo says Matheny.

(Learn how to blast fat and tone your entire body with workouts from the Women's Health Guide to Strength Training!)

&ldquoWhen you&rsquore not taking in enough calories, your body takes from stored carbs (glycogen), stored fat, and protein from muscle,&rdquo explains Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S., the personal training program manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Exactly how many calories is too few depends on your current weight, although no one should dip below 1,000 calories.

The solution: To maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss, Clayton recommends a deficit of between 500 to 1,000 calories from your current daily intake, with about half coming from calories you&rsquove cut and half from exercise.

Weight loss isn&rsquot just about how much you eat&mdashit&rsquos about what you put in your mouth, too. A 2016 study found that when people went on a low-calorie diet for four weeks, those who ate more protein (2.4 vs. 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) lost 27 percent more fat (10.6 vs. 7.6 pounds) and gained eight times as much lean muscle mass (2.6 vs. 0.22 pounds). That&rsquos because the complete protein found in foods like eggs, poultry, dairy, and meats offers all nine of the essential amino acids your body uses to build and maintain muscle. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not getting enough protein, you&rsquore not giving your body the building blocks to build muscle efficiently. If you&rsquore losing weight, you&rsquoll lose even more muscle,&rdquo says Matheny.

The solution: For dieters, Clayton suggests 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or about 0.7 grams per pound). If you weigh 120 pounds, you&rsquod aim for 80 to 90 grams of protein daily&mdashthat&rsquos about one-third of your total daily calories, or 25 grams of protein per meal plus a protein-rich snack.

Check out this delicious protein-packed snack:

To maintain muscle, your body needs a push. &ldquoWhen you&rsquore not stimulating your muscle, your body won&rsquot build it,&rdquo says Matheny. &ldquoIf you&rsquore on a really low-calorie diet and not resistance training, you definitely won&rsquot add muscle, and you may lose some.&rdquo Indeed, one small 2014 study found that when obese people went on a diet, those who resistance trained lost about the same amount of weight overall as those who weren&rsquot lifting&mdashand they lost half as much muscle (0.9 vs. 2 kg). In fact, lifting weights might actually be a better long-term fat-blaster than cardio: A 2015 Harvard study of more than 10,500 people found that over 12 years, people who weight trained lost about twice as much belly fat (0.33 cm vs. 0.67 waist circumference) as those who just did cardio.

The solution: To see benefits, Clayton suggests fitting in one to two intense weight-lifting sessions per week incorporating mostly full-body moves like squats, lunges, and pushups. Use as much weight as you can handle and work to exhaustion for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps each.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Lose Weight Without Going Low-Carb

Refueling right after you work out is as important as the weights you lift. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not eating after workouts, there&rsquos a higher chance you won&rsquot recover. And if you&rsquore not repairing the muscle you broke down, you&rsquoll lose it,&rdquo says Matheny. The longer you wait to munch, the less efficient and effective that repair process will be.

The solution: Matheny says if you&rsquove worked out moderately for at least 45 minutes, you should down about 20 grams of high-quality protein, like a protein shake or Greek yogurt, within 15 to 30 minutes

RELATED: The Vibrating Tool Khloe Kardashian Uses After Her Workouts

You might think that sweating it out on the elliptical for an hour every day is the way to churn through calories and body fat when you&rsquore dieting, right? Wrong. Unlike weight lifting, which engages all of your muscle fibers, cardio doesn&rsquot build muscle. In fact, it can burn it. Although your body uses mostly stored fat to fuel low-intensity cardio like an hour of walking, if you&rsquore on a calorie deficit and jog for 45 minutes your body taps into muscle for fuel. &ldquoModerate-intensity exercise is most likely to lead to muscle wasting,&rdquo says Clayton. A good sign that&rsquos happening is when, a couple of sessions in, you can&rsquot make it the full distance at the same intensity, says Matheny.

The solution: To avoid muscle loss, schedule low-intensity cardio, like walks, three to four days per week, suggests Clayton. Then, one to two times per week, blast through four minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals (alternating 20 second all-out sprints with 10 seconds rest). &ldquoIt shocks your system and has a ton of health benefits, including protecting your muscle,&rdquo says Clayton.

RELATED: 6 Fat-Blasting Cardio Moves You Can Do At Home

To shed pounds efficiently, your body needs enough rest. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not sleeping, your hormones aren&rsquot functioning properly. You&rsquoll have high cortisol levels, which increases the chance that you&rsquoll store carbs as fat,&rdquo says Matheny. What&rsquos more, because you&rsquore tired you won&rsquot be able to work out as hard. That means you won&rsquot build as much muscle and over time may even lose the bit you&rsquove got.

The solution: Don&rsquot skimp on hitting the sack. Try to schedule in seven to nine hours every night.


6 Habits That Are Making You Lose Muscle, Not Fat

You know the routine: Losing weight means chowing down on fewer calories than you&rsquore burning. But if you&rsquore not smart about it, even the best-intentioned plans can backfire. That&rsquos because dropping pounds always means shedding a mix of both fat and muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, having less of it slows down your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds, says Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., founder of the Soho Strength Lab. Fortunately there are steps you can take to minimize muscle loss. To keep your body&rsquos calorie-burning machine revved, steer clear of these six habits that make you more likely to lose muscle.

Eating less calories than it takes to maintain your basal metabolism (i.e., the minimum energy your body needs at rest for things like breathing and keeping your organs going) puts your body into starvation mode, where it burns both fat and muscle for fuel. &ldquoYour body&rsquos main goal is to keep you alive, so it&rsquos going to make sure that you have enough energy for basic functions,&rdquo says Matheny.

(Learn how to blast fat and tone your entire body with workouts from the Women's Health Guide to Strength Training!)

&ldquoWhen you&rsquore not taking in enough calories, your body takes from stored carbs (glycogen), stored fat, and protein from muscle,&rdquo explains Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S., the personal training program manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Exactly how many calories is too few depends on your current weight, although no one should dip below 1,000 calories.

The solution: To maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss, Clayton recommends a deficit of between 500 to 1,000 calories from your current daily intake, with about half coming from calories you&rsquove cut and half from exercise.

Weight loss isn&rsquot just about how much you eat&mdashit&rsquos about what you put in your mouth, too. A 2016 study found that when people went on a low-calorie diet for four weeks, those who ate more protein (2.4 vs. 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) lost 27 percent more fat (10.6 vs. 7.6 pounds) and gained eight times as much lean muscle mass (2.6 vs. 0.22 pounds). That&rsquos because the complete protein found in foods like eggs, poultry, dairy, and meats offers all nine of the essential amino acids your body uses to build and maintain muscle. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not getting enough protein, you&rsquore not giving your body the building blocks to build muscle efficiently. If you&rsquore losing weight, you&rsquoll lose even more muscle,&rdquo says Matheny.

The solution: For dieters, Clayton suggests 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or about 0.7 grams per pound). If you weigh 120 pounds, you&rsquod aim for 80 to 90 grams of protein daily&mdashthat&rsquos about one-third of your total daily calories, or 25 grams of protein per meal plus a protein-rich snack.

Check out this delicious protein-packed snack:

To maintain muscle, your body needs a push. &ldquoWhen you&rsquore not stimulating your muscle, your body won&rsquot build it,&rdquo says Matheny. &ldquoIf you&rsquore on a really low-calorie diet and not resistance training, you definitely won&rsquot add muscle, and you may lose some.&rdquo Indeed, one small 2014 study found that when obese people went on a diet, those who resistance trained lost about the same amount of weight overall as those who weren&rsquot lifting&mdashand they lost half as much muscle (0.9 vs. 2 kg). In fact, lifting weights might actually be a better long-term fat-blaster than cardio: A 2015 Harvard study of more than 10,500 people found that over 12 years, people who weight trained lost about twice as much belly fat (0.33 cm vs. 0.67 waist circumference) as those who just did cardio.

The solution: To see benefits, Clayton suggests fitting in one to two intense weight-lifting sessions per week incorporating mostly full-body moves like squats, lunges, and pushups. Use as much weight as you can handle and work to exhaustion for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps each.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Lose Weight Without Going Low-Carb

Refueling right after you work out is as important as the weights you lift. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not eating after workouts, there&rsquos a higher chance you won&rsquot recover. And if you&rsquore not repairing the muscle you broke down, you&rsquoll lose it,&rdquo says Matheny. The longer you wait to munch, the less efficient and effective that repair process will be.

The solution: Matheny says if you&rsquove worked out moderately for at least 45 minutes, you should down about 20 grams of high-quality protein, like a protein shake or Greek yogurt, within 15 to 30 minutes

RELATED: The Vibrating Tool Khloe Kardashian Uses After Her Workouts

You might think that sweating it out on the elliptical for an hour every day is the way to churn through calories and body fat when you&rsquore dieting, right? Wrong. Unlike weight lifting, which engages all of your muscle fibers, cardio doesn&rsquot build muscle. In fact, it can burn it. Although your body uses mostly stored fat to fuel low-intensity cardio like an hour of walking, if you&rsquore on a calorie deficit and jog for 45 minutes your body taps into muscle for fuel. &ldquoModerate-intensity exercise is most likely to lead to muscle wasting,&rdquo says Clayton. A good sign that&rsquos happening is when, a couple of sessions in, you can&rsquot make it the full distance at the same intensity, says Matheny.

The solution: To avoid muscle loss, schedule low-intensity cardio, like walks, three to four days per week, suggests Clayton. Then, one to two times per week, blast through four minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals (alternating 20 second all-out sprints with 10 seconds rest). &ldquoIt shocks your system and has a ton of health benefits, including protecting your muscle,&rdquo says Clayton.

RELATED: 6 Fat-Blasting Cardio Moves You Can Do At Home

To shed pounds efficiently, your body needs enough rest. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not sleeping, your hormones aren&rsquot functioning properly. You&rsquoll have high cortisol levels, which increases the chance that you&rsquoll store carbs as fat,&rdquo says Matheny. What&rsquos more, because you&rsquore tired you won&rsquot be able to work out as hard. That means you won&rsquot build as much muscle and over time may even lose the bit you&rsquove got.

The solution: Don&rsquot skimp on hitting the sack. Try to schedule in seven to nine hours every night.


6 Habits That Are Making You Lose Muscle, Not Fat

You know the routine: Losing weight means chowing down on fewer calories than you&rsquore burning. But if you&rsquore not smart about it, even the best-intentioned plans can backfire. That&rsquos because dropping pounds always means shedding a mix of both fat and muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, having less of it slows down your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds, says Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., founder of the Soho Strength Lab. Fortunately there are steps you can take to minimize muscle loss. To keep your body&rsquos calorie-burning machine revved, steer clear of these six habits that make you more likely to lose muscle.

Eating less calories than it takes to maintain your basal metabolism (i.e., the minimum energy your body needs at rest for things like breathing and keeping your organs going) puts your body into starvation mode, where it burns both fat and muscle for fuel. &ldquoYour body&rsquos main goal is to keep you alive, so it&rsquos going to make sure that you have enough energy for basic functions,&rdquo says Matheny.

(Learn how to blast fat and tone your entire body with workouts from the Women's Health Guide to Strength Training!)

&ldquoWhen you&rsquore not taking in enough calories, your body takes from stored carbs (glycogen), stored fat, and protein from muscle,&rdquo explains Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S., the personal training program manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Exactly how many calories is too few depends on your current weight, although no one should dip below 1,000 calories.

The solution: To maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss, Clayton recommends a deficit of between 500 to 1,000 calories from your current daily intake, with about half coming from calories you&rsquove cut and half from exercise.

Weight loss isn&rsquot just about how much you eat&mdashit&rsquos about what you put in your mouth, too. A 2016 study found that when people went on a low-calorie diet for four weeks, those who ate more protein (2.4 vs. 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) lost 27 percent more fat (10.6 vs. 7.6 pounds) and gained eight times as much lean muscle mass (2.6 vs. 0.22 pounds). That&rsquos because the complete protein found in foods like eggs, poultry, dairy, and meats offers all nine of the essential amino acids your body uses to build and maintain muscle. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not getting enough protein, you&rsquore not giving your body the building blocks to build muscle efficiently. If you&rsquore losing weight, you&rsquoll lose even more muscle,&rdquo says Matheny.

The solution: For dieters, Clayton suggests 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or about 0.7 grams per pound). If you weigh 120 pounds, you&rsquod aim for 80 to 90 grams of protein daily&mdashthat&rsquos about one-third of your total daily calories, or 25 grams of protein per meal plus a protein-rich snack.

Check out this delicious protein-packed snack:

To maintain muscle, your body needs a push. &ldquoWhen you&rsquore not stimulating your muscle, your body won&rsquot build it,&rdquo says Matheny. &ldquoIf you&rsquore on a really low-calorie diet and not resistance training, you definitely won&rsquot add muscle, and you may lose some.&rdquo Indeed, one small 2014 study found that when obese people went on a diet, those who resistance trained lost about the same amount of weight overall as those who weren&rsquot lifting&mdashand they lost half as much muscle (0.9 vs. 2 kg). In fact, lifting weights might actually be a better long-term fat-blaster than cardio: A 2015 Harvard study of more than 10,500 people found that over 12 years, people who weight trained lost about twice as much belly fat (0.33 cm vs. 0.67 waist circumference) as those who just did cardio.

The solution: To see benefits, Clayton suggests fitting in one to two intense weight-lifting sessions per week incorporating mostly full-body moves like squats, lunges, and pushups. Use as much weight as you can handle and work to exhaustion for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps each.

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Refueling right after you work out is as important as the weights you lift. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not eating after workouts, there&rsquos a higher chance you won&rsquot recover. And if you&rsquore not repairing the muscle you broke down, you&rsquoll lose it,&rdquo says Matheny. The longer you wait to munch, the less efficient and effective that repair process will be.

The solution: Matheny says if you&rsquove worked out moderately for at least 45 minutes, you should down about 20 grams of high-quality protein, like a protein shake or Greek yogurt, within 15 to 30 minutes

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You might think that sweating it out on the elliptical for an hour every day is the way to churn through calories and body fat when you&rsquore dieting, right? Wrong. Unlike weight lifting, which engages all of your muscle fibers, cardio doesn&rsquot build muscle. In fact, it can burn it. Although your body uses mostly stored fat to fuel low-intensity cardio like an hour of walking, if you&rsquore on a calorie deficit and jog for 45 minutes your body taps into muscle for fuel. &ldquoModerate-intensity exercise is most likely to lead to muscle wasting,&rdquo says Clayton. A good sign that&rsquos happening is when, a couple of sessions in, you can&rsquot make it the full distance at the same intensity, says Matheny.

The solution: To avoid muscle loss, schedule low-intensity cardio, like walks, three to four days per week, suggests Clayton. Then, one to two times per week, blast through four minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals (alternating 20 second all-out sprints with 10 seconds rest). &ldquoIt shocks your system and has a ton of health benefits, including protecting your muscle,&rdquo says Clayton.

RELATED: 6 Fat-Blasting Cardio Moves You Can Do At Home

To shed pounds efficiently, your body needs enough rest. &ldquoIf you&rsquore not sleeping, your hormones aren&rsquot functioning properly. You&rsquoll have high cortisol levels, which increases the chance that you&rsquoll store carbs as fat,&rdquo says Matheny. What&rsquos more, because you&rsquore tired you won&rsquot be able to work out as hard. That means you won&rsquot build as much muscle and over time may even lose the bit you&rsquove got.

The solution: Don&rsquot skimp on hitting the sack. Try to schedule in seven to nine hours every night.