To jump on the fat-loss bandwagon, you'll probably start with a diet and throw in the cardio at full force to ramp up your progress. This technique is common among all those craving a lean physique because they want results now, which is understandable considering that most men will need to spend a good four to five months in the gym while eating a surplus to put on any muscle mass.

After patiently waiting for muscle to appear, men are eager to show off the results. But when it comes to fat loss, too much can be a very bad thing.

Here’s how to synchronize your diet and cardio in the healthiest and most efficient way possible to get the kind of muscle mass you’re dying to show off.

1. Create a Negative Balance

To synchronize your diet and cardio, remember: In order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. If you don't achieve this negative balance, you aren't going to lose any weight. Alternately, if you achieve too much of a negative balance, you’re more likely to lose muscle weight along with some fat. This is the undesirable part of the equation.You can create this negative balance through diet, through increased physical activity or through a combination of both — which is the route most people take. This is the acceptable and best way to synchronize your diet and cardio with the goal of losing weight.

2. Don’t Shock Your System

Most people who want to lose weight want to see results right away, which leads to a drastic decrease in food intake and an increase in time spent on the treadmill. Talk about shocking the system.In this situation, the body perceives a state of famine and slows down its metabolism so that you are, in fact, burning very few calories per minute. This total daily reduction in metabolic rate means you’re not going to lose the amount of weight you expect to, and is the very reason why it’s so important to synchronize your diet and cardio.

Add a massive amount of cardio to your low-calorie diet, and the situation worsens. Not only does your body perceive a famine, but it's also being forced to exercise for a lengthy period every day. What's it going to do first? Well, since cardio is a catabolic exercise, it's going to break down the most metabolically active tissue available — muscle.

3. Do One First

The best way to synchronize your diet and cardio is to transition into your goals. If you'd rather reduce your food intake, diet first. Don't add the cardio right away; first see what kind of progress you can make with diet alone. Likewise, if you hate giving up food, add some cardio into your routine. As your weight loss begins to slow down, you can either add more cardio or start to diet.

Remember: The body will adapt quickly to steady state cardio, and the last thing you should do is three hours of cardio a day to lose a measly half-pound per week. Generally speaking, dieting is a better way to go about losing body fat while retaining muscle. It's part of a healthy fitness regimen.

4. Getting Instant Results

What if you need to see immediate results, but don’t have time to ease into synchronizing your diet and cardio? Whether it's for a special event, a bodybuilding competition or otherwise, some situations call for you to maximize fat loss by doing cardio while dieting; this method helps achieve a higher calorie deficit.

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5. Don’t Make It a Habit

You should only do this for a short period of time — until the desired fat loss is achieved. This is not for someone who wants to lose more than 30 pounds of fat, but more for someone who really only has 5 to 10 pounds to lose.

6. Consume Enough Food

To prevent muscle loss when adding the cardio while on your diet, consume 1.5 times your body weight in grams of protein per day. At this level, you will decrease nitrogen loss, meaning a lower amount of muscle tissue will be used for fuel. Upping your daily protein intake will allow you to start the cardio right away, and shed calories without many problems. Do note, however, that after five or six days on this diet it would be wise to eat more calories (particularly more carbs) for one day. This will help prevent the metabolic slowdown that may be happening in response to the diet.

7. Work It

The best way to synchronize your diet and cardio is to start one before the other. Let your body adapt to one stressor and, once the results begin to slow down, add the second component. This will minimize metabolic damage to your body and prevent lean muscle tissue loss.For those who really must diet and exercise at the same time, it’s important to get enough protein in your diet. If you skimp on this, you will likely be disappointed in your results because, while you may very well lose bodyweight, a large portion of that dissipating weight will be the muscle mass you worked so hard to gain.