– Lots of cardio will not give you the body of your dreams!
– It’s possible to weigh more on the scales but wear a smaller clothes size!
– A high protein diet can support your fat loss goals.
We have all been there, vowed to lose weight and set off on our road to ‘svelteville’. You’ve done this before and know what to expect. Lots of boring salads, no social life, hunger and a sudden desire to consume the contents of your kitchen cupboards every evening. It’s all worth it though when you get on the scales after (a very long!) week of starvation and find you have lost 3lbs! Hurrah you cheer it’s all going to be worth it. However, another day of hunger loomes and you have a personal training session to get through after work. You couldn’t think of anything worse, having just about managed to drag yourself to the gym fuelled only with a celery stick and some low fat soup all day. You manage to muster enough energy for a reasonable session and roll into bed after your thin air dinner. Bikini body here I come, right? So, what if we were to rephrase our goal to ‘I want to lose body fat’, ultimately this is the goal right? This is actually what we meant by ‘lose weight’, we want to be smaller and firmer. This requires an entirely different strategy than simply making the numbers on the scale decrease. You might be surprised to know that the 3lbs that you were so proud to lose having tortured yourself for a week was predominantly water and muscle loss, with a small proportion coming from body fat. But believe it or not, It is entirely possible to get smaller, firmer and heavier, let us explain.
Muscle weighs more than fat
Muscle is more dense than fat so it takes up far less room than the equivalent weight of body fat. The image below shows an example of this. Crash dieting combined with daily slow paced cardio will yield weight loss on the scale, however it will also leave you feeling weak, tired, grumpy and hungry due to lack of calories; which let’s face it is not sustainable and you will soon be back to where you started. Fat loss on the other hand can be achieved without any undesired side effects through proper nutrition and training believe it or not. How? We hear you ask!
More muscle = less fat
Firstly, when it comes to achieving a lean, defined body, holding on to your current muscle mass is very important. Not only does muscle give you the shape you are looking for, but it is also metabolically active. This means it requires calories in order to exist. Fat on the other hand is not, it sits around on our bodies and is nothing more than a transportable fuel source. Holding on to the muscle you have will make fat loss far easier, so preserving it should be high on your agenda! In order to hold onto this precious fat burning muscle you will need to ensure your workout schedule includes regular weight training as well as being supported with sufficient high quality protein.
What about cardio?
Cardiovascular exercise does have a role to play in fat loss too, but contrary to popular belief it should not be the most important or only tool used. We favour HIIT over long periods of steady state cardio for fat loss.
What should I eat?
When it comes to what to eat for fat loss, cutting calories drastically is counterproductive. As we mentioned your gym performance will suffer due to lack of energy and you can kiss goodbye to that muscle. Instead we suggest focusing on fuelling your training and feeding your body with the nutrients it needs. Pay particular attention to including lean protein sources, plenty of dark leafy green veg, healthy fats with a moderate intake of carbohydrates which should be consumed predominantly around your training.
Following these simple tips you stand a far better chance of achieve the body you are after. We say ditch the scales and obsessing about the numbers it shows and instead use the mirror as your guide.
Eat well, train hard and the fat loss will come.