I often have people ask me “Marc if I take this pill or drink this shake will I be able to lose weight?”
In short the answer is no and I’ll go on to explain why in a moment but first I want to talk about the diet companies who make millions praying on desperate people looking for a quick fix to their weight problem. These companies employ the best marketing minds in the world whose job it is to convince people that this new pill or potion is the answer to their weight loss dreams. Using clever adds they pull at the heart strings of our dieter (who has probably tried fad diet after fad diet only to end up back where they started or worse bigger than they where to begin with!) that this new pill or shake can make all the difference in your weight loss plan. Don’t be fooled by sensational claims made by these companies. Now that I’ve got that off my chest I’m going to give you The Truth about Fat Loss…..
There is no special pill, potion or exercise gadget when it comes to fat loss and achieving the toned and sculpted body that you desire.
There is only one way to achieve permanent results and that is to follow an integrated fitness and nutrition plan which focuses on a change in body composition (lean muscle vs. body fat) and not just weight loss according to the bathroom scales. It is lean muscle that plays a key part in any fat loss program.
Calories In vs. Calories Out.
It’s a question of balance. To reduce body fat and increase lean muscle and therefore positively change your body composition you have to play a game of numbers. If you burn more calories than you take in each day you will lose weight. This is called a calories deficit and is the only way to lose fat. Even though this is a simple concept the calorie deficit must be kept small so you don’t lose lean muscle while you burn fat. This will allow you to keep your metabolism high while at the same time transforming the shape of your body. However if calories are severely reduced your body goes into what is known as starvation mode and begins storing fat and breaking muscle down which in turn slows the metabolism. Which is why when people go on strict diets they lose a lot of weight which is mainly muscle tissue. Once they have reached their desired weight they often bounce back to the weight they were before the diet or worse they end up heavier. This is due to the slower metabolism caused by a loss of lean muscle tissue.
Muscle Drives Your Metabolism.
The amount of lean muscle you have directly affects your metabolism and it’s your metabolism that affects the shape of your body. Your metabolism is simply the rate at which your body burns calories. The higher your metabolism the more calories you burn and the more lean muscle you have the higher your metabolism. Muscle is in essence your fat burning machinery as it burns calories even at rest whereas fat does not.
Resistance/ Weight Training.
Resistance training is by far the best way to exercise to reshape your body and increase your metabolism. By using weights, machines and even your own body weight to effectively work your muscles you can progressively overload them so they grow stronger.
As you increase your lean body mass you will increase your metabolism enabling you to burn fat faster even while you are sleeping. This will in turn allow you to eat more and thus preventing your body from going into starvation mode.
There are many more benefits to resistance training than just burning fat. As resistance training strengthens muscles it also strengthens the supporting structures around the joint helping to protect our joints from the stresses and strains of an active lifestyle. Resistance training also decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, helps to lower blood pressure and decreases the risk of degenerative diseases such as arthritis. Other benefits include improved posture, improved mood and enhanced self esteem.
Cardio exercise is the type of exercise performed to train the heart, lungs and circulatory systems and usually involves the use of the large muscle groups over an extended period of time. Running, cycling, swimming, rowing and walking are all great cardio exercises. Cardio exercise is great for burning calories but due to the fact that the body quickly adapts to cardio exercises cardio lovers have to continually increase the time they exercise for in order to burn the same amount of calories, increasing the odds that the body will start to burn muscle for energy instead of fat and therefore lower your metabolic rate. The way to overcome this problem is to increase the intensity of the activity. So instead of training for longer, train harder for the same period of time.
The many benefits of cardio respiratory exercise include increased lung volume, lowered resting heart rate and increased bone mineral density which lowers the risk of osteoporosis.
Nutrition has the greatest impact on fat loss. A balanced and supportive eating plan will not only help to improve your health it will also provide the optimal environment in which to burn fat. If your goal is to reduce body fat you must eat slightly fewer calories than you burn each day.
There are currently thousands of diet books available today each claiming to be the answer to fat loss but the vary fact that there are so many proves that not one of them works. If there was a magic diet then everyone would be on it and know one would be overweight. Diets simply don’t work in the long term due to improper nutrition and a failure to change exercise and eating habits for life.
A healthy nutrition plan doesn’t need to be complicated, keep things simple by eating a wide variety of nutritious foods including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, fish and poultry and a variety of whole grains such as whole grain rice, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread.
Try to reduce your intake of alcohol, junk food and saturated fat by trimming all visible fat from meats. Also try to avoid deep frying food, instead bake, steam, dry roast and stir fry.
Keeping the body hydrated will enable you to burn fat faster and help the body to flush out stored toxins. Try to drink 1.5-2 litres of fresh clean water per day.
There you have it, the truth about fat loss. By eating slightly less calories than you burn each day coupled with resistance training and intense cardio workouts will help you reach your goals faster, safer and the results will be lasting.
Train Hard, Eat Smart!