How to Lose Bulky Muscles (And Keep Your Muscle Tone)

Ben Greenfield,
April 13, 2011

Ask get-Fit Guy: How to Lose Bulky Muscles without Losing Tone

Q. Listener Allison recently wrote in and asked a great question. She has been spending a serious amount of time working out and isn't happy that a lot of the muscle she's put on is on her arms, because she feels that her arms have gotten a bit too big for her small frame.

Her question: Is there something she could do to safely lose some of the muscle on her arms without losing tone in her arm muscles?

A. It is somewhat difficult to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. But it is much easier to lose muscle without gaining fat. The trick is to do so without putting high amounts of stress on the body, since losing muscle involves forcing your body to "cannibalize" it's own lean muscle tissue.

A good strategy for Allison would be to continue to train her arms so that she does not lose tone, but to use a medium weight and high number of repetitions, in the 15-20-repetition range. She should stop before the muscles are heavily burning or fully fatigued. In addition, Allison could include just a couple workout sessions each week in a fasted state, or on a lower calorie intake day, so that her body is forced to tap into it's own energy for fuel.
If you've successfully lost bulk without losing tone, tell us about it! Go to the Get-Fit-Guy Facebook page and leave me a message.


Woman with Dumbbells image courtesy of Shutterstock