Have you ever wondered whether you’re too focussed on losing ‘weight’? Are the scales your oracle?
If that’s the case then we have good news because a change of focus might bring rewards. Instead of thinking you need to lose weight, concentrate on losing fat. This might be a better idea because weight-loss might mean losing both fat and muscle, and generally it’s a good idea to maintain your muscle while losing the fat. Your body far percentage should be a real measure of your progress and your overall health and adding muscle can ever be beneficial because it will help increase your overall metabolic rate and increase the number of calories you burn passively. So, more muscle, more calorie burn, faster weight-loss.
Just what burns the calories?
Inside your cells there are little things called mitochondria that act like batteries because they store and process the energy that your cells need to do their job. So, the more mitochondria you have, the more calories you’ll burn. Certain exercises encourage your body to add more of them to existing cells. One of our favourite types of exercises for this is HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. Strength training is also good, and will create a large demand for energy in your body. So, any muscle-building activity will send a clear signal to your cells that they need more mitochondria. Any muscle you build will actively use calories, unlike fat which just sits there, which means that your increased muscle mass will be burning calories even while you sleep.
Why is this so important?
If you pay attention to fat-loss instead of weight-loss, the benefits you get from your workout and diet can change radically. Instead of just weighing less, fat-loss will help you fit your clothes better and look healthier. That’s why it’s important not to just rely on a scale to check your progress, and to check your fat loss rather than your weight loss, which you can do with callipers or a tape measure. You might even want to ignore your weight altogether because it’s not always a great indicator of how fit you are.
Is losing fat different to losing weight?
Yes, losing fat and losing weight are related but distinct concepts.
Weight loss refers to a reduction in overall body weight, which can include changes in fat, muscle, and water weight. It is a general term that encompasses any decrease in the number on the scale. Weight loss can occur through various methods, including dieting, exercise, or even dehydration.
Fat loss specifically targets the reduction of fat mass in the body. It involves losing excess body fat while preserving lean muscle mass and water weight. Achieving fat loss usually requires a combination of a balanced diet and regular exercise.
Keep the muscle, ditch the fat
If what we’ve said so far has made sense to you, then it’d be a good idea to follow these ideas on how to preserve your muscle while losing fat. If you cut back too much on calories, it’s possible to lose the muscles and the potential to burn extra calories along with them.
Here are a few tips to prevent muscle loss:
- Don’t cut back on the calories
- Get your calories from meat, fruits, dairy, veg, whole grain and legumes
- Aim your caloric intake to be about ten times your weight
- For every pound of lean bodyweight, get 1 gram of daily protein
- Eat enough carbohydrates to support the exercise you do
- Make sure to get health fats and essential fatty acids in your diet
- Make sure you exercise
So, if you take this guide to heart, you’ll find yourself losing fat rather than losing fat and muscle. You’ll look better and probably feel better too.