weight loss



2 minute read

The importance of maintaining muscle mass during weight loss

By Nick Harland | Medically reviewed by Dr Nimlan Shanmugathas
woman working out with dumbbells

Losing weight is tough, and there’s a lot to think about during your journey. But one thing you can’t overlook is the importance of maintaining your muscle mass. It’s vital for supporting your general health and also helps to keep the weight off once you’ve lost it.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why muscle mass matters

We’re sometimes guilty of talking about weight loss from just one perspective: losing body fat. But actually, weight loss is a little more complex than that.

Because when we lose weight we don’t just shed body fat. Weight also comes off our bones, blood, and muscles. That’s why it’s so important to maintain as much of your muscle mass as possible during a period of weight loss. It’ll help you sustain healthy weight loss and give you a better chance of keeping it off. Plus, if you lose too much body mass at once, it could have a negative impact on your general health and long-term weight management.

Simply put: if you can keep the muscle on, you’re more likely to keep the weight off. But that’s easier said than done. Here are a few ways you can help maintain your muscle mass to support long-term weight loss.

How to maintain muscle mass

Increase your protein intake

Although our approaches towards weight loss have evolved over time, one thing has stayed the same: the importance of a balanced diet. And when you’re going through a period of weight loss, that balanced diet should be teamed up with an increased protein intake. 

You should aim to consume about 20-40 grams of protein in every main meal, or between 1.2 and 1.5 grams for every kilogram of your body weight. That means if you weigh 100kg, you should aim to eat around 120-150 grams of protein a day.

Here are some good sources of that extra protein:

  • Lean meats: chicken, turkey, and lean beef

  • Eggs

  • Greek yoghurt

  • Fish

  • Legumes: beans, lentils, and chickpeas

  • Tofu

If you’re on the Numan Weight Loss Programme, your health coach will be happy to show you how to incorporate extra protein into your diet.

Do resistance training

There are two main types of exercise: cardio and resistance. While cardio training can improve your cardiovascular health, boost your metabolism, and help to regulate your weight, resistance training is the best way of maintaining or even increasing your muscle mass. 

Some strength training exercises include:

  • Weights

  • Squats

  • Push ups 

  • Pilates

You should aim to do strength training exercises 2-3 times a week. Again, your Numan health coach can give you some advice and guide you through the process.

The numan take

When you lose weight, you’re not just shedding body fat. Weight also comes off your blood, bones, and muscles. So if you’re going through a period of weight loss, it’s important to maintain your muscle mass. The best way to do that is by increasing your protein intake from whole food sources and doing extra resistance training. Remember: if you can keep muscle on, you’re more likely to keep the weight off.