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Do You Really Want To Lose Weight?
If you answered yes to this question, what would you think if I told you that you might be wrong in thinking that?
Losing weight and losing body fat are two completely different processes, therefore resulting in two different outcomes.
So what is weight loss?
Weight loss is defined as a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary or involuntary circumstances. In most instances weight loss will arise due to the loss of body fat, but in cases of extreme or serve weight loss, it can be depleted from muscle, body fat, water and other substances in the body.
Individuals who are voluntary losing weight through a diet typically use the scale as their only gauge of tracking. Unfortunately, individuals who focus solely on weight loss and tracking the number on the scale, have no real clear understanding of what they are losing.
The goal to a successful weight loss journey is to preserve as much muscle as possible or even gain some, whilst at the same time lose as much body fat as possible.
So what is fat loss?
In it's simplest term, it is the portion of the body that consists of fat. Body fat (Adipose Tissue) is normal and serves the important function of storing energy as fat for metabolic demands. Obesity is the result of excessive body fat, which in turn leads to impairments on health.
Your body fat percentage on the other hand, is a value that tells you how much of your body weight is made up of fat. In terms of your overall health, your body fat percentage can be one of the most useful numbers available to you, much more than how much you weigh and even more so than your BMI.
Your body fat percentage is the key indicator of your success, not the scale.
Calories In Vs Calories Out
Calories are everything. They are the true key to an effective diet plan regardless of any other aspect of it. In most cases, no other nutritional factor influences what happens to your body in comparison to the level that calories do.
And the reason why calories are so damn important is actually pretty simple once you understand some basic things…
No matter what the goal of your diet and no matter what sources of information you've been exposed to, the single most important part of every single diet plan is calories, or more specially, your total daily calorie intake.
See, everything we eat and drink contains calories (one of the exceptions is obviously water), but the majority of the foods and drinks we consume contain some amount of calories and go on to make up our daily calorie intake. As these are the calories that are being consumed and taken in by the body, let's call these "calories in"
On the other hand, everything we do burns calories. They are what our bodies uses for energy to do everything, ranging from intense workouts to the simple daily tasks we normally take for granted.
In addition to this, your body actually burns a significant number of calories each day on its own just functioning properly and keeping you alive.
Since these are calories that we are using and burning, these will be referred to as our "calories out".
If calories out beat calories in
In this situation, this equals is a caloric deficit. In simple terms, this means you burn more calories than you have consumed and there was a deficit of calories.
This is simply you not supplying your body with all the calories it needs. It has already burnt all of the calories you have consumed, but it still needs more. Since you are consuming less there is only one thing the body can do:
Find an alternative energy source on your body.
Your body is an intelligent machine. It will use whatever calories you consume as energy to perform whatever tasks it needs to perform on a daily basis, and if it still needs more calories beyond that amount, it's going to use the calories that it previously stored on your body.
There are two primary sources that your body will use for energy when this happens:
Body Fat - This scenario is pretty obvious. This is how you'll lose fat in a positive sense. If you eat less, this results in a lower daily calorie intake. If you consistently consume fewer calories than your body needs, it uses your stored body fat for energy instead.
If you have ever lost any amount of fat before, this is how it happened and why. You burnt more calories than you consumed and this forced your body to dip into your fat storage and burnt your own body fat for energy.
Muscle Tissue - This scenario, could come at a surprise to some. However, muscle is really just calories that were stored on your body. As intelligent as the human body can be, it really doesn't care if it takes it energy supplies from fat or breaks down the muscle. So, when you are in a caloric deficit and your body needs to find an energy source, it won't ignore your muscle tissue and only use fat. It can and will use both.
So why is muscle so important and what can cause the body to burn fat for energy instead of muscle?
Mitochondria the powerhouse cells
Muscle is vital to your success in losing fat. Muscles have these fat burning powerhouses called mitochondria. Mitochondria are cellular power plants that are responsible for the production of energy. It in mitochondria that fat is metabolised.
There is a positive correlation between the amount of muscle you have and the number of mitochondria. Therefore, it stands to reason that the more mitochondria you have, the more potential to burn fat.
But these mitochondria do not just grow on trees, so how do we get more of these powerhouses?
You need to be giving your body a reason to create more of them of course!
You can do this in several ways, either by performing HIIT, otherwise known as High Intensity Interval Training or by weight training is another. By creating a large demand for energy, up and above what the body can produce, your body is forced to create new mitochondria in order to be prepared for the next time your muscles call on that needed extra energy.
The amazing thing about muscle and mitochondria is that they are active tissue. In comparison to fat, they need constant energy to maintain themselves.
So what does this really mean? It means that your body will be burning fat at all times of the day... even whilst you are counting those sheep in the land of nod. Yes, you read that correctly, even while you're sleeping, it is possible to burn fat.
Preserve Muscle While Losing Fat
So we have hopefully established by now, the game is to focus on preserving muscle while we lose fat. People tend to sabotage their diets by eating too little food and too few nutrients resulting in muscle loss.
Once you start to lose muscle, you begin to start an uphill battle to lose fat. This is one of the reasons why so many diets fail.
So in order to avoid the uphill battle and prevent muscle loss, make sure you follow these basic guidelines:
Get in enough calories for your body size and activity level
The calories you actually consume are from nutrient dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fibre and whole grains.
Aim to consume 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of body weight per day
Aim for calories in the 10-12 times your body weight range (Lbs)
Eat enough carbohydrates to support your activity level. You can start at the 150 grams range and adjust from there.
Fill the rest of your calories with healthy fats
Stay consistent with your exercise and give your body a reason to maintain and preserve the muscle.
Do you really want to lose weight?
Too many times successful diets are sabotaged because of meaningless numbers on the scale. A scale will tell you nothing other than measure the force of gravity of your body. Why should this matter at all?
The scale cannot tell you if your clothes fit better, it can't tell you if your body fat percentage has changed and it definitively won't tell you that you are looking better.
When you start your fitness journey, it is important that you track your progress using methods other than the scale. Use measuring tools that are going to track fat loss, not weight loss. Simple methods would be tape measures, pictures, clothes sizes and, believe it or not, people's comments.
Don't worry if the weight stalls or even goes up. If you're looking better, you're weight doesn't matter!
The only time it matters is when you tell your weight to someone who doesn't understand the difference between weight loss and fat loss.
So I ask you again... Do you really want to lose weight?
Need More Help With Your Weight Loss Goals?
Did you enjoy this article and want to know how RMS Personal Training can help you further to achieve your weight/fat loss goals?
Then send us a message to see how I can help.
Or head over to https://www.rmspersonaltraining.com/ for more information.