4 Signs You’re Actually Losing Muscle, Not Fat

Are you paring away your gains?

losing muscle
Man lifting weights in gymnasium. (Getty Images)

If you’re feeling worn down at the gym, you might be burning through your muscle, not your fat. A recent Men’s Health feature breaks down what you should look out for if you’re concerned about losing muscle mass.

“It is bad to lose muscle instead of fat, because muscles are the key players in body movement and function,” Gerardo Miranda-Comas, MD, Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai told Men’s Health. “With loss of muscle mass, strength and endurance are affected negatively, leading to decreased functional performance.”

If your normal workout feels strained or if you feel sluggish performing your everyday activities, these could be signs that you’re actually burning muscle and not fat. Spencer Nadolsky, D.O., author of The Fat Loss Prescription, explains: “You’ll notice less strength in the gym. The weight you used to be able to do for reps may decrease or you may not be able to get as many reps as you once did for each set.”

Although you might see rapid weight loss, it’s not necessarily a good thing. Unless you’ve got a solid amount of fat to lose, seeing rapid weight loss could mean you’re actually losing your muscle mass, which is exactly what you don’t want when you’re trying to cut fat and build muscle.

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