But you don’t need a six pack to greatly reduce your health risk. What you want is to lose your keg—to be able to lay down flat on your back without your stomach sticking up higher than your rib cage.
The other things that help men to lose weight more easily, such as more muscle mass and more testosterone, can be used to your advantage when it comes to shedding that dangerous visceral fat—but only if you use those muscles— by doing plenty of cardio exercise and strength training along with watching your diet.
Although you will have weeks where you lose more weight, and weeks when you lose little to nothing, the ideal rate of weight loss for men is still between one-half and two pounds per week (towards the higher end if you have more than 40 pounds to lose and the lower end if you are closer to your goal weight).
To learn more about the weight loss differences between men and women, read ”Gender: Does it Really Make a Difference?”.
I’m trying to build muscle and also lose fat. Do I need to eat more protein or avoid cardio?
No. Eating extra protein doesn’t build muscle tissue and, unless you’re doing something excessive, cardio exercise won’t cause you to break down muscle tissue.
You do need adequate protein intake so that your body can repair and rebuild your muscles after exercise—that’s when the growth in size and performance actually happens. But a diet that provides 15%-35% of total calories from protein is plenty to meet this need, and there’s no muscle building advantage to eating more than this amount of protein. People who do a lot of strenuous physical activity, either as work or as extended bouts of training or exercise, may do better to stay towards the higher end of that recommended protein range, but there’s no evidence to suggest that going over 35% is necessary or beneficial. It’s the work that your muscles to do (specifically, working to fatigue when weight training) that induces muscle growth and development—not how much protein you eat. Continued ›