Know the difference between weight loss and fat loss
When we think of both fat loss and weight loss we think they’re the same thing, right? Actually they’re not. Weight loss is a decrease in overall body weight.
This weight can include, muscle, fat, and water from the body. That’s it. Weight loss is simply a loss of overall body weight.
Fat loss is a reduction in body fat. Reducing body fat is what most people want to achieve.
Fat loss is more specific than weight loss. We can lose body fat by reducing calories, just like with weight loss. But the quality of food we consume for fat loss is more important.
We need to be more specific about our macronutrient intake, i.e. protein, carbohydrate and fat intake. Fat loss cannot be achieved alone by diet.
What is fat loss?
Everyone has a certain amount of body fat. This fat is often expressed as a percentage of their total body composition — for example, 16% body fat. Women tend to have more body fat on average than men. One of the reasons for this is that women need to maintain a higher level of body fat for the reproductive system.
Men also tend to have more lean muscle mass on average than women for a given weight, which can lead to a lower level of body fat.
Excess fat is stored in the body’s fat cells which are called adipocytes. This is where we get the term adipose tissue, which literally means fatty tissue.
The most common types of body fat (adipocytes) that are spoken about are subcutaneous fat (the fat between the skin and the muscle), and visceral fat (the fat around the organs.) There are others, but these two are the ones most responsible for health and appearance.
Fat loss is the breaking down and reduction of these stored adipocytes.
We can’t choose where we want to lose fat from, and there’s no special protocol to help spot reduced body fat. This means you can’t exercise a specific area that you would like to lose fat from and hope it works.
Unfortunately, if you want a flat toned stomach, sit-ups alone won’t help you lose the weight —but there are ways to lose it.
What’s The Best Way To Lose Fat?
To lose fat you want to maintain or increase lean tissues. Muscle is vital to your success for losing fat. Muscles have these little fat burning powerhouses called mitochondria.
Mitochondria are cellular power plants that are responsible for the production of energy.
How do you get more of these little cell powerhouses? You need to be giving your body a reason to create more of them. You do this by performing high intensity exercise.
HIIT training is just one of these methods. Weight training is another.
By creating a large demand for energy up and above what your body can already 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 great thing about muscle and mitochondria is that they are active tissue. Unlike fat, they need constant energy to maintain themselves – energy like fatty acids.
What does this mean? It means that your body will be burning fat at all times of the day – even while you’re sleeping. Yes, it is possible to burn fat in your sleep, and that is how.
Weight training doesn’t mean you have to look bulky. When people claim they want to ’tone up’, they are referring to building muscle and losing body fat. Muscle is less energy dense than fat in the body. Muscle takes up less space in the body than fat does.
If you lose body fat, and gain muscle you will instantly look much slimmer and more ‘toned’. A healthy weight loss is a weight loss of 1-2lbs a week. This will vary depending on how much a weight person has to lose.
Best Method to Lose Weight?
To lose weight you need to be consuming less calories than you expend. This is the main component to losing weight. This can be achieved by reducing portion sizes or tracking calories. If you want to lose weight quickly, by all means, focus on a fat-burning program that includes improving your eating habits. If you want to set your body up to have a higher resting metabolism and burn passively on a regular basis, condition your body for strength training and exercise regularly. HIIT workouts are perfect for getting your body into this fat-burning state.
Ways To Measure Weight Loss Or Fat Loss Progress
Body weight is affected by many factors. For example, if you eat too much salt one day, your body weight the next day could be off. Similarly, if you gain muscle and lose fat over the course of a few months, you may see your body weight increase even though you look better in the mirror.
Tracking body weight is a useful measure only if you know exactly how your weight is being affected by things like muscle gain or water retention.
A better way to keep track of progress is by taking progress pictures each month, by measuring body fat percentage regularly and by taking body measurements.
The last one, body measurements, is best done by a health professional, That said, there is a way to do it yourself.
Here are the principal measurements that you could use to track your progress:
- Bust: Measure all the way around your bust and back on the line of your nipples
- Waist: Measure its narrowest point, usually just above the navel
- Hips: Measure all the way around the widest part of the hip bones and glutes
- Upper arm: Measure above your elbows, around the fullest part
- Thighs: While standing, measure around the fullest part of thighs
- Calves: While sitting, measure around the fullest part
Depending on your fitness level, your total body weight consists of:
- Muscle: 30-55% of body weight
- Fat: 10-30% of body weight
- Water*: 10-25%
- Bone: 15% of body weight
- Organs and other tissues: 10-15%
*Not including the water in muscle or fat.
Will I Bulk Up If I Do Weights?
Just because you are lifting weights, you are not going to turn into a body builder. People only increase weight and build muscle like this if they are in a calorie surplus, and a big calorie surplus at that.
Lifting weights will simply mean you are retaining muscle. The more muscle we have, the more calories our body will burn.
What’s The plan?
To prevent muscle loss, make sure you are following these basic guidelines:
• Get in enough calories for your body size and activity level.
• Make sure those calories are nutrient dense by having them come from fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, tubers, dairy, and whole grains.
• Aim for calories in the 10-12 times your body weight range. use MyFitnessPal to get the right amount.
• Try to get in 0.8 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight, and divide that evenly among 5 meals.
• Eat enough carbohydrates to support your activity level. You can start at 150 grams and adjust from there.
One of the fastest ways to lose weight in the short-term is to cut carbs —that’s because carbohydrates retain some three times as much water as any other type of macronutrient. When you cut back on carbs, your body isn’t retaining as much water, plain and simple.
Because this number on the scale doesn’t tell the whole story, The goal to successful weight loss and fat loss is to preserve as much muscle as possible, or possibly even gain some, while at the same time lose as much body fat as possible.
Your body fat % is a key indicator of your success, not the scale. In fact, stay off the scale.
I’m always happy to help with more tips on weight loss, muscle building, or advice on workouts that will help you achieve your goals. If you want personal training face to face in Melbourne or online email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.