Many people start on a fitness journey with the sole purpose of losing weight and seeing the number on the scale get smaller. I always love to hear when people are making an honest go of it to improve their overall health, but setting out to solely lose weight is a misguided journey.
Let’s talk about the difference between fat loss and weight loss.
Fat is the substance that your body uses to store excess calories found in all the foods you eat. Typically, when you lose excess fat, you also lose weight. Sometimes, though, you can maintain or even gain weight. The truth is that through strength training, you will build up lean muscle while also helping you shed excess fat through aerobic exercise. The more muscle that you build, the more fat you can burn. Furthermore, the more muscle you have the higher your metabolism will be and the more metabolically active your body will become.
Muscle weighs more than fat so losing weight is great but building muscle should be the focus. We need healthy, metabolically active tissue. Remember with age it will shrink so you need to think about building muscle not just losing weight.
It’s a known fact that after the age of 35 a female will lose 1 lb of muscle per year and a male will lose 1/2 lb of muscle as well so it’s vital to understand and make sure you are not just looking at total weight and understand internal composition.
This should be a no-brainer, then, your weight should go down through exercise and strength training, right? Not necessarily. Muscle is more dense than fat, so my advice to you is NOT to get fixated on a number on the scale. It is NOT an accurate measurement of your overall health. If you’re truly setting out to improve your health and not just lose a few pounds here and there, then you should work on changing your overall body composition. Increasing your lean tissue-to-fat ratio indicates a more positive overall fitness level and optimal general health which is more important than the number on the scale.
For example, a female that is 5 feet 5 inches tall, 35 years old that weighs 140 with a body fat percentage of 31% will have:
- 43.4 lbs of Fat Mass (Strictly Adipose (Fat) Tissue on her body)
- 96.9 lbs of Lean Mass (All internal tissues, organs, bone and brain)
After 30 days of exercise she noticed that she lost 7 lbs while following an extreme low carb diet and doing only cardio every day with no weights at all. Her body comp at the end of 30 days showed her at 133 lbs with a body-fat of 29%, this equates to:
- 38.57 lbs of Fat Mass (previously she had 43.4 so good job)
- 94.43 lbs of Lean Mass (previously she had 96.9 lbs so not so good here)
The goal in fitness is to build lean mass and lose body-fat as we need muscle to keep us stronger as we age, increase our metabolism and ensure we maintain as much muscle as we can.
There are a number of cardio and strength training activities that can be used in tandem to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. But, your best bet would be to have a well thought out plan that not only involves aerobic and strength training, but also a nutritional overhaul.
Contact us if you are ready to take that next step. We are here to help!
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