What You REALLY Need to know about Fat Loss
It seems that Everyone wants to lose weight…
Yet there is so much conflicting information about how to lose body-fat, even among so called experts. Maybe I should say Especially among so called experts!
It seems that most can’t see the forest for the trees – so it is time to set the record straight.
My all time favorite training expert Alwyn Cosgrove recently posted this in his blog
Hierarchy for Fat Loss
1. Correct Nutrition
There’s pretty much nothing that can be done to out-train a crappy diet. You quite simply have to create a caloric deficit while eating enough protein and essential fats. There’s no way around this. The fact is – you can get lean without doing any exercise at all — so diet remains the single biggest difference maker.
2. See #1
Yep. It really is that important. Not eating a Big Mac with a large fries and a large soda saves you about 1400 calories and takes zero seconds. Eating them and then trying to burn off the calories will require 2+ hours of pretty hard work….
Diet is #1 and #2….By comparison – training only begins at number 3 on the list….
3. Activities that burn calories, maintain/promote muscle mass, and elevate metabolism
I think it’s fairly obvious that the bulk of calories burned are determined by our resting metabolic rate or RMR. The amount of calories burned outside of our resting metabolism (through exercise, thermic effect of feeding, etc.) is a smaller contributor to overall calories burned per day. The biggest chunk is your RMR.
We can also accept that RMR is largely a function of how much muscle you have on your body — and how hard it works. Therefore, adding activities that promote or maintain muscle mass will make that muscle mass work harder and over time- elevate the metabolic rate. This will become our number one training priority when developing fat loss programs. There are studies showing RMR to be elevated after 12 weeks of only 800 calories when resistance training is performed. Other studies show an acute effect of increased metabolism for 38 hours post workout.
So if you only have time to do one activity – make it resistance training.
4. Activities that burn calories and elevate metabolism
The next level of fat loss programming would be a similar activity. We’re still looking at activities that eat up calories and increase EPOC.
EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption) is defined scientifically as the “recovery of metabolic rate back to pre-exercise levels” and “can require several minutes for light exercise and several hours for hard intervals.”
Essentially, we’re looking for activities that keep us burning more calories after the exercise session.
In every single head to head study, interval training outperforms steady state in terms of fat loss – for two reasons — 1) You burn more calories minute-for -minute performing the activity and 2) you burn more calories in the recovery period as a result of the activity.
If you have more time – a couple of interval training sessions per week will be the next thing I’d add.
5. Activities that burn calories but don’t necessarily maintain muscle or elevate metabolism
This is the “icing on the cake” — adding in activities that’ll burn up additional calories but don’t necessarily contribute to building muscle or increasing metabolism. This is the least effective tool in your arsenal as it doesn’t burn much outside of the primary exercise session, but it is very easy to recover from.
This category is slower or less intense aerobic work.
So the “hierarchy” is essentially a practical way of allocating your training time to the most effective activities.
What’s interesting is that most people tend to start from the bottom of the hierarchy and try to work up. They do hours of low intensity cardio without adjusting diet – and eventually start doing some intervals. At some point they join a gym and “Do weights”. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve told me they are going to start weight training when they “get in shape…”
I’m not saying exercise isn’t important when trying to lose fat. But start with an effective diet. Add in resistance training. That’s the cornerstone of a fat loss training program. Then start adding in interval work, longer cardio etc.
This is probably the best “Big Picture” overview of fat loss I have ever seen.
Supportive Nutrition is literally drug like in it’s effectiveness.
A well designed training program will incinerate fat at an astounding rate – when combined with Supportive Nutrition. Fix your Metabolism. If you do traditional dieting you end up losing as much lean tissue as you do body fat. When you return to regular eating your metabolism has slowed down – and you get fatter than before – stop the cycle!
Cardio has it’s place – but is so far down the list for fat loss that for most people it is just a waste of time. Walk the dog, play with your kids, have active fun activities – but don’t call it cardio. Call it Living.
You know that thing you did before “life” got in the way…
If you are looking to lose fat and get in the best shape of your life without struggling to succeed alone, check out the best personal training in Hendersonville NC!