Eat Plenty Of Protein
Anytime you reduce your daily calorie intake to promote fat loss, you should also increase the percentage of your daily calories that come from protein. This measure will help you preserve muscle and lose only fat. Muscles are made of protein, after all.
In a 2010 study conducted at the University of Birmingham, England, two groups of athletes cut calories equally to promote weight loss. But one group got 15 percent of their daily calories from protein (which is about normal) while the other bumped their protein intake up to 35 percent. The 15 percent group lost more total weight, but more than half of that weight was lean body mass. Members of the 35 percent protein group lost just as much fat without losing any muscle.
Now, a 35 percent protein diet is a little much for endurance athletes, who need their carbs to fuel workouts. But as an athlete you can increase protein’s contribution to total calories during weight loss in a way that doesn’t sabotage your training by simply maintaining your current level of protein intake (in terms of grams per day) while cutting fat and carbs from your diet to achieve your desired calorie reduction.