As an Online Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach– I see and hear it all. I mostly work with women who come to me with the initial goal to “lose weight”.
Now, here’s the thing… most people say they want to “lose weight” but…what they actually really mean is that they want to “lose fat”.
Let me explain….
Weight loss and fat loss are not exactly the same thing.
What is Weight Loss?
Weight loss is (obviously) when you lose weight from your body.
We know for sure that weight loss happens when you consume less energy (calories) than you burn. However, when many people embark on a weight loss journey they may pick a plan like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig etc (all of which have you in a caloric deficit whether they openly say it or not).
Most folks believe they need to sweat on a consistent basis in order to lose weight (not true).. so many people will combine their caloric deficit diet with cardio.
So we have the calorie deficit + the cardio. Which will lead to weight loss without question (given everything is a-ok from a medical standpoint).
Now what many people do not realize is that this type of approach can result in the appearance of “skinny fat”.
Why does this happen?
Because you are in a calorie deficit and you are burning more calories with cardio you are essentially becoming a “skinnier” version of YOU. But you are not really becoming a stronger and more toned version.
This is because this approach does not take into consideration the preservation of and building of lean muscle tissue.
Let me make something clear: I am not here to judge anybody, ever… it could be the case that many people desire that physique– and there is 100% nothing wrong with that.
You decide how you want to look and how you want to feel.
But for the most part, many people with certain physique goals say they want to “tighten/tone up”. They want to be strong, have energy, have increased metabolism etc. This all comes from being more precise with diet (specifically protein) and incorporating resistance training.
When it comes to weight loss with approach of less calories (and perhaps more cardio), there is little consideration for lean muscle mass (both the preservation of and the building of new lean muscle tissue).
Bottom line: when you “lose the weight” you are also likely losing a good amount of muscle too. That being said– it’s nearly impossible to ensure that all of the weight you loose is 100% pure fat — but there are things you can do to maximize your fat loss and minimize your muscle loss 🙂
Fat loss specifically means that you are being more methodical in your “weight loss approach” to ensure that most of the weight you are losing from your body is fat and not muscle.
I don’t know about you but when I embark on a fat loss plan, I want to keep as much muscle as I can (After all, I worked hard for it!).
So if you have decided that your goal is really to LOSE FAT (and minimize muscle loss), here are some steps you can take to ensure that most of the weight that you lose is fat and not muscle.
The Steps You Can Take To Maximize Fat Loss & Minimize Muscle Loss
- Step 1 Make sure you are in a safe caloric deficit (You can use a bunch of online calculators that show you how to do this. If you want to do it somewhat manually, I recommend calculating your BMR, multiplying by 1.3 and then creating a 15-25% calorie deficit (I would start with 15% and gauge progress before you change things).
- Step 2 Aim to consume adequate protein. The general recommendation is .8-1g of protein per lb of bodyweight. Protein will not only keep you feeling full and satiated, but it will help you build and preserve lean muscle tissue.
- Step 3 Strength train 3-5 days per week and don’t be afraid to go heavy. Many women spend too much time on the cardio machines thinking it will build the physique they are after– when in reality– they will find those results in the weight room. (You can also sprinkle in some HIIT if you enjoy it or if you want to take things up a notch).
Feel free to check out the video below that originally aired in my [Free] Facebook Group– Eat & Exercise For Your Goals (Feel free to join us if you haven’t already.