Friday, June 10, 2011

Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss

Most trainers and other professionals will tell you that to lose weight, you must use more calories than you consume, and they would be correct. However, if your goal is to lose fat, not just weight, then you may need to change the rules a little. Decrease calories and you will lose weight, but you may also lose muscle. Increase calories and you may gain a little fat, but you may also gain muscle. In order to lose fat, you need to begin to look at food differently. Not all calories are created equal. For example, midmorning you decide you are hungry and within your reach are glazed doughnuts and a container of low-fat Greek yogurt. Each contain the same amount of calories, however, the doughnut has 4 grams protein, 11 grams of fat,(3 gm are saturated fat), and 12 grams of sugar. The yogurt (3/4 cup) has 11 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat, and 5 grams of sugar (depending upon brand). One choice will provide you with sustained energy and have a smaller impact on your glucose levels, and will favorably impact muscle metabolism; the other will give you a short burst of energy and send your glucose soaring – which is going to negatively impact how your body metabolizes the calories.

People trying to lose weight also believe that the longer they spend doing cardio or working out, the more weight they will lose. This is true. However, they may be losing more muscle than fat, depending on what type of workout they are performing. Lots of cardio, with no resistance training, can make a person skinny-fat; sure, you lose weight, but your skin is flabby with no muscle tone.

Becoming a healthy weight combines both proper nutrition and exercise. If you are a female, don’t be afraid of weight training, it will help you to build muscle, (not bulky muscles), which will help increase your metabolism, which, in turn, will help you to lose weight. If you incorporate HIT cardio into your regular weekly cardio schedule, you will improve both your aerobic and anaerobic metabolism. This, coupled with choosing the right foods, will help your body become a fat burning powerhouse, give you more energy, and help you become a healthy individual.

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