I want to lose weight but at the same time I don't want to gain any more muscle mass than what I already have. However, whenever I research exercises I could do the results always seem to show more defined muscles gained from their increase.

So what kind of exercises can one do to just lose weight without gaining muscles? [Preferably ones that don't require any special equipment]

  • 3
    Why don't you want to gain any muscle mass at all? Muscles help you move, maintain posture and improve your ability to function in life.
    – user2861
    Jan 29, 2014 at 23:49
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    Even if you gained no muscle at all (baffling, I agree @LegoStormtroopr), simply reducing the fat in your skin will increase definition.
    – G__
    Jan 29, 2014 at 23:59
  • 2
    What exactly do you want to look like? I mean if you want to lose weight without gaining muscles, you can bascially just do a seriously reduced calroie diet - but then you'll look like the wrong Christian Bale - The one from The Machinist
    – user2861
    Jan 30, 2014 at 0:35
  • 1
    @BerinLoritsch You're right, I was just thinking that the answers are similar. That is, you're not going to decrease fat and increase muscle while in a caloric deficient state - to the point that you're going to weigh more. Jan 30, 2014 at 20:01
  • 1
    @DanAndrews, I see your point. The dietary side of things is going to look awful similar. The exercise side of things is very different, though. I will say, training with my new coach I am losing fat while having some increase in my muscle mass. Gaining muscle and losing fat not impossible, nor is it slabs of muscle either. I've lost 9 lbs since October, 12 of which was fat. I'm not saying all 3 of those pounds were muscle, but some of it was. However, it's also not what the OP is looking for. Jan 30, 2014 at 20:11

5 Answers 5


Based on your question and the the answers you gave in the comments, it sounds like you might want to look into aerobic and endurance based exercise.

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As far as your diet goes, you'll want to be in a healthy body fat range, but not so low as to show off definition in your muscles. While 10-15% body fat is probably the sweet zone for how your homones behave, you'll want to be closer to the 15-20% range (normal for men in their 20s).

There's actually a few different types of endurance related exercise, so don't think that running is your only option. You might enjoy:

  • Running (5k, 10k, half marathons, marathons)
  • Cycling both in races or just to enjoy the countryside
  • Cross country skiing
  • Triathlons
  • And many others

Due to the nature of endurance related athletics, you will experience the following transformations:

  • A lower heart rate
  • More aerobically efficient cardiovascular system
  • Higher VO2 Max
  • Higher lactate threshold
  • Development of slow twitch (type 1) muscles

You'll find that a great number of endurance athletes do not have large arms, and six packs are rarely noticeable.


The best answer for you is a healthy and nutritious diet.

You can achieve what you want simply by putting the right foods and drinks in your mouth and you won't have to lift a single weight or walk a single mile.

Lots of veggies, salads, some fruit, lean meats (chicken, Turkey, beef), fatty fish like salmon and trout.

Get rid of or at least cut down (significantly) on sugary drinks, alcohol, fast foods, anything high in carbohydrates - especially high GI carbs.

When cooking, use extra virgin olive oil, butter, or coconut oil. Avoid margarine.

Fat loss is made in the kitchen. You can't out train a crap diet. First and foremost, get your diet in check, and then worry about exercising if you wish.


You can try endurance sports to loose fat. To lose fat you need to do aerobic exercise for long time. The fat metabolism can't start fast. It slowly started after 30-40 minutes after the endurance exercise began. The single aerobic exercise must be one hour or more. You are going gain some muscles, but it's not going to be a lot. Mostly your muscles going to take just good athletic shape. To burn fat during endurance exercise you need to have good amount of the carbs in your blood, muscles and liver. The good news is, you are not going to be too hungry after aerobic exercise correctly done. Anaerobic exercise mostly useless for weight lose.


Weight gain (and especially muscle gain) is mostly a function of caloric intake. So if you exercise a lot and don't eat much you won't gain much weight or muscle.


Any exercise, aerobic mostly for example swimming, running, or playing sports. Now even these will increase muscle size generally speaking but not comparably to weight training because you are using your muscles in everything you do here. But the key to not putting on size is time under tension and eating at a caloric surplus to supply the muscle with to grow.

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