Not many days go past without hearing someone say they've lost weight. Whether it's 5 lbs or 10lbs, my response is always “Great, but 10lbs of what?”. The reason I ask this is because you CAN’T assume your weight loss consists entirely of body fat. This is beacuse there are 3 types of weight loss, muscle tissue, body fat & water retention.
Being around the industry for over 10 years now and seeing hundreds of “Before & After” photo’s, the same issue seems to repeat itself over and over. A slight loss of fat across the mid-section, accompanied by a huge loss of lean body tissue on the shoulders and arms. Now I say the phrase “lean body tissue” because everyone freaks out when you call it muscle & presume it’s becoming a bodybuilding article – it’s NOT.
“A slight loss of fat across the mid-section, accompanied by a huge loss of lean body tissue on the shoulders and arms.”
Most people want to achieve the “toned” appearance but what do you think is toned? Muscle! Losing muscle tissue drops your metabolism and thus you burn less calories when idle. That is why so many people see a huge gain in body fat after a dieting phase. At the very least you must protect yourself from losing lean body tissue. How? Weight training. One exercise per major body part, for as little as one set each for 18-25 reps will signal your lean tissue to stay in a partially flexed state (creating the toned appearance).
You see your body is smart and when you diet it still needs energy through calories to function. It’s much easier to break down the protein in your muscles than use the body fat across your stomach. With weight training you are signalling to your body, to leave your lean tissue alone. Not stopping there, you then restrict your calorie intake through food & drink, leaving body fat the only source of energy the body can use.
Try squeezing your arm, if you can push down quite far chances are you need to put on a little lean tissue. To do this, work your weigh up the weights and stop progressing the moment you start to look “toned” or carry on for that “bulky” look. For concerned women out there you can comfortably work your way to shoulder press 12kg dumbbells and still look athletic and feminine. You will need to lift some serious weight & do multiple sets to start looking “muscular” so don’t be worried.
Weight training and some high intensity cardio will strengthen your joints and bones, supercharge your metabolism & turn your body into a fat burning machine. Using this approach, you will experience drastic weight loss in which some will consist of water retention. To be certain you are losing the right weight (body fat rather than muscle tissue), make sure your strength is NOT decreasing on the weights. If it is, try finding the right balance by slowly increasing your calories to the point where you can sustain strength and still lose weight.
Still not sold? Check out this great article by the NHS. Start making your time work for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR RJ Endeavour is the Founder of RJ Endeavours (an app development business), a qualified fitness instructor with over 10 years experience in fitness & business. In the past he's been funded by the Princes Trust & the Department for Business Innovation & Skills. RJ is also skilled as a computer programmer, with knowledge in various programming languages and is currently on a global business acceletator programme working on Intelligence4Fitness - a smart health & fitness application.
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