How to lose muscle mass in your legs, arms or upper body on purpose!

How to Lose Muscle

If you want to learn how to lose muscle on purpose read here.  Why would you want to lose muscle mass? So many men, and some women too, are trying to build as much muscle as possible. Apparently it is attractive in some circles. But some women and men are concerned that lifting weights causes their thigh muscles to become too bulky. You’ve seen the Incredible Hulk types, right. Maybe you’re one.

Some Issues With Too Much Muscle

how to lose muscle

photo from CelebMuscle

How comfortable is it to walk around carrying all that extra muscle mass and weight? It can reduce your range of movement and certainly slow your speed and aerobic capacity. Maybe you look strong but can you run one mile without gasping for air?

And how do you find clothes to fit you well unless you have a personal tailor. What is that muscle for? For show only? Maybe you look a little bit like you are trying too hard. A guy or gal does not have to be The Incredible Hulk to look hot. You can lose some of that muscle and be more overall physically fit and feel better than ever.

If you are done with working out to be as big as possible or are just genetically predisposed to building muscle and looking huge and want to lose muscle in your legs or other certain areas of your body there are a few things to know. It may take you a while to lose the muscle weight depending on your starting point but it can be done.

You will need to change some things that you are doing. Right. You can’t change yourself unless you do something different.

This Information Will Tell You How to Lose Muscle Mass if You Want To

It is possible to lose muscle mass in your legs, chest, thighs, calves, and arms if you are determined and willing to make some lifestyle changes.

This article will tell you exactly what you need to do to lose muscle mass. Be aware that losing muscle mass too fast could be unhealthy. Plan to do it moderately. You know– extremes are often dangerous.

How to Lose Muscle

There are Basically 2 Ways to Lose Muscle and They Work Well When You Do Them Together

Keep in mind, you are losing weight. When you want to lose muscle you need to do these 2 things:

  1. Stop eating as much. Restrict your calorie intake.
  2. Quit working your muscles. Stop working out so much. Or workout differently.

So you are not going to starve yourself to lose muscle. You probably want to do this in a healthy and somewhat calculated manner. Extremes can be unhealthy.

And you are not going to quit exercising – right?

Here we have broken the diet and exercise items into key point that you can adapt to your own lifestyle and circumstances so that you can lose muscle mass in any area of your body you want to.


Eat Less – Lose Weight

You cannot gain weight, muscle or fat, if you are not taking in enough calories to sustain your current body weight. Depending on your current activity level and weight today you’ll need to reduce the number of calories you consume to lose muscle.

This is going to sound weird and contrary to what you normally hear. A restricted calorie diet is a good way to lose muscle. It makes your body shift into starvation mode and lose muscle. It can also make you store fat for emergency energy. Eating less protein gives your body less of a chance for your muscles to recover after a new kind of workout. That is covered later.

How and What to Eat to Lose Muscle Mass

Your diet is responsible for a very large percentage of your body composition, that is the amount of fat and muscle that makes up you. Eat too much, you get fat. Too little, you waste away. Exercise plays a part too. If you sit around all day you get flabby even if you are thin.

You could cut down on protein and increase carbs as one way to approach your muscle reducing diet. However, don’t go to extremes. Strive for a balanced intake of Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat. Make sure all the foods you eat are quality foods. Read labels. Does the ingredients list look like a chemistry set? Pick something else.

Reducing calories will help you lose weight including muscle and fat. For starters, estimate how many calories you currently eat. Use a food diary if necessary, and then reduce your calorie intake by about 10 – 15% daily.

Need Help Choosing Food?

The new US government food pyramid is now called “choose my plate”. If you need help choosing a balanced diet go there. It is set up to make it easy to pick food without making it too complicated.

If you are really technical and want to know exact grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates you should eat every day Google “weight loss calculator” to find more detail. Just remember, the details won’t help unless you eat less.

A good weight loss calculator will require your current weight, your activity level, and your target weight plus gender to estimate a reduced calorie diet and exact amounts of protein, carbs and fat for you.

Basically you want to balance your protein, carbs and fat in this approximate ratio: 10 – 35 % protein, 45 – 65% carbohydrates, 20 – 35% fat. You will want more carbohydrates to fuel your increased cardio workouts. Keep the protein on the lower side and always choose quality food.

Something you need to remember is that if you are not losing weight you will need to reduce the amount of calories you consume or increase your activity level or your weight will level out or grow. You don’t want to increase you fat levels a lot while losing muscle.

Drink Water

Drinking lots of water helps your body get rid of the excess body you are melting away. You are changing muscle and fat to water, CO2 and energy. The byproducts need to be eliminated and the water will help with that. Plus drinking water gives you something to do when you want to grab any food not on your list for the day.


Increase Cardio

You can lose muscle mass by performing cardio in these three ways:

  • Frequent cardio sessions. Example, run every day.
  • Extend your cardio session for longer time periods.
  • Do cardio when you are a bit hungry, like in the morning before you eat breakfast. Your body will burn the muscle for energy since your carb storage has been lowered throughout the night.

The reason long, sustained cardio sessions help you lose muscle is because you will burn lots of calories. Use up more energy than you take in and your fat and muscles will shrink.

Wait a While After You Work Out to Eat

When you eat right after a workout your body uses that nutrition to repair and restore itself including muscle. Waiting an hour or so to eat anything might not allow your body to gain more muscle back. Drink water instead.

Work Out with Small Weights and Large Reps

Back in the day the workout instructors at the “ladies” gym would instruct women to do plenty of reps with small weights because they didn’t think any woman would want to develop muscle. It works. You will never build any muscle, just tone, doing 30 reps with a 2 lb weight.

This goes for every area that you want to lose muscle including arms, chest, thighs and calves. You can exercise all your muscles; just keep the weight low and the reps high.

Work on Certain Parts of Your Body Only One Day Per Week

If you don’t want to completely atrophy you will want to keep exercising. If you only work one area of your body at a time per week that area will not be able to grow. Keep the reps high and the weight low and workout specific areas less frequently.

Stretch Before Workouts

There is a theory that stretching before a workout will help your muscles stay smaller. Not sure about this but stretching keeps you flexible and that will help you prevent injuries.

Keep Your Routine Simple and Unvaried

This might not be the best advice for overall fitness but if you keep doing the exact same thing in the gym, low weights, low resistance and lots of reps your body will get used to it and become really efficient. The result will be no muscle gain.

Get Plenty of Sleep Every Night

Since you are basically dieting to lose weight in the form of muscle mass you will need to reduce calories. When you are tired you tend to eat more for energy. Get enough rest so you are not tempted to eat more than you planned for.

Stop Resistance Training on Areas of the Body Where You Want to Lose Muscle

Avoid any kind of exercise that creates a pump, in your arms, thighs, back, chest or calves. Getting a pump from an exercise? Then you need to lower the weight. If certain types of cardio get you pumped, like spinning (the pretend high hills and sprints), then you need to stop that part of the workout or do it with less intensity. No pump. No gain.

A real good exercise for reducing leg muscle is walking, running or jogging. Have you ever seen a distance runner with big legs?

If there are specific areas of your body that are not responding to your muscle reduction efforts then you may want to consider not working these at all. This may be especially true for the legs.


So to sum it all up, losing muscle is losing weight. You need to reduce the number of calories in your daily eating plan and reduce protein too. You can keep exercising, just do it differently. Performing more long sustained aerobics like running or walking and high repetition, low weight exercises to keep your muscles toned but not huge will help you lose muscle. How to lose muscle –  Just do it!

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