For some people, losing fat is the main goal of their exercise program. They want to get fit and trim. But as you go through a weight-loss journey, you need to consider that as the pounds leave your body, your RMR will also change – affecting just how much you can eat.
Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the number of calories your body burns while resting. That’s the energy you need to keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing, and your brain functioning. The higher the RMR, the more calories you burn at rest. The lower your RMR, the fewer calories burned, and any excess calories you have will be stored in your body as fat. That’s just the way our bodies work.
As you lose fat, you have less body mass to burn calories. The lighter the body mass, the fewer calories the body burns while resting. So, in order to maintain your RMR as you lose weight, you need to do two things: eat less and build muscle.
By eating less as you continue to lose fat allows your body to continue to work in a calorie deficit. If your body is burning more calories than what you are consuming, you will continue to have an RMR that benefits you. If you lose weight and consuming more calories than your RMR is burning, you’ll have a calorie surplus. Remember – the lighter the body is, the fewer calories it needs to function. What might have been a caloric deficit diet when you were heavier can turn into a caloric surplus diet when you weigh less.
Increasing muscle while you’re losing fat can be done with a planned strength-conditioning program and by including more protein into your diet. The more muscle mass your body contains, the more calories it takes to maintain your RMR – which is a good thing – and a strength conditioning plan will build more muscle.
As you build muscle, your body will burn more calories to feed and repair those muscles after a strength conditioning workout. Protein is made up of amino acids, which aid and cause many of the reactions and processes in your body. When you exercise and lift weights, you create tiny micro-tears in your muscles. When you eat protein, your body breaks it down and uses those amino acids to repair the tears. They surround and fill the tear, making it bigger and stronger.
It’s great that you are losing the fat you wanted to lose and with a combination of strength training and an added-protein diet plan, you can continue to maintain or increase your RMR with a lower body mass.