Five Facts That Explain Why You Aren’t Losing Body Fat
Just as important as how we eat is how we train. The way you approach your lifestyle habits will determine how successful you are in changing your body’s composition, losing body fat instead of just losing WEIGHT, and not only achieving, but also maintaining a fit and toned physique. Have you ever been shocked to find out that someone who has a much different appearance weighs the exact same as you? This is because muscle is denser and leaner than fat tissue which means that two people who weigh the same can look completely different depending on the composition of each of their bodies.
I don’t like image comparison so I won’t do a side-by-side of two women at a similar weight for the sake of pointing out the bad and the good because I don’t enjoy perpetuating the endless cycle of shaming, but we all know that there are variable ways that 150 pounds can look on different people. What might surprise you is that those differences are based MORE on their activity and eating habits than on their genetics and actual body type. Here are five quick facts that may explain why it’s been so difficult for you to lose body fat and achieve a more lean, smooth appearance:
- Most low calorie diets don’t focus on macro-nutrients (unless they are restricting them, such as diets that limit or cut out carbs), which means that you are likely cutting a lot of grams of protein along with those calories. Protein is the primary building block for muscle (as well as bone, skin, hair, and many other tissues) so limiting protein means that your body will build less muscle, which results in lower metabolism… which results in gaining (or at least retaining) fat! It also means that your weight loss is much more likely to be due to a reduction of fluid and muscle mass than fat, which results in a smaller version of the same body that is comprised of more fat tissue than lean muscle.
- Since fat is much more important to your body in survival than muscle, your body naturally preserves fat when it is thrown into starvation mode by low calorie crash diets. It will utilize lean muscle mass to burn off calories for energy while retaining body fat! This is why you see so many people who LOSE WEIGHT, but still are not toned and still have a high amount of body fat… and why those people end up gaining weight back as soon as the diet is over since metabolism has been lowered by reduced lean muscle mass in the body. This is also why so many people – particularly women – tend to lose weight and still not be happy with their appearance since there is still a significant layer of dimply fat between the skin and smooth muscle.
- Many people rely on steady state cardiovascular exercise alone to lose weight. Cardiovascular exercise is necessary and essential for overall health and wellness – this is well known and very well documented. However, excessive cardio/aerobic training will result in lower muscle mass and less toning than cardio that is done through high intensity intervals integrated into strength training. Static-state cardio definitely has its place in the routine since it is the best (and easiest) way for someone to get in and stay in the fat burning heart rate zone for longer periods than more high intensity routines. Endurance runs and steady-state cardio routines have just as much benefit (albeit different) as high intensity interval training and interval runs in the ability to burn calories, but static-state cardio alone is not going to get you the results you want. Mixing it all up and keeping your muscles guessing is the best way to transform your body!
- There is no way to target fat loss. You can work a specific area of your body all day every day – that will not help to improve the appearance of that particular area unless you are losing body fat overall. All the abdominal crunches and core exercises in the world will NOT get you a firm, flat stomach without a balanced diet and a well-rounded, progressive strength training program that mixes anaerobic and aerobic exercises into every routine.
- Consistency is key! I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people tell me that they got the weight off, kept it off for some time, and then gained it back. This is because many people approach fitness as a with a deadline in mind. If you do not change your lifestyle to incorporate activity and healthy eating habits as a lifelong goal, you will not maintain a healthy weight and your body composition will slowly revert back to a higher percentage of fat and a lower percentage of muscle over time. This is why fad weight loss programs and crash dieting simply DO NOT work — you cannot maintain those things longterm so being consistent is impossible.
Are you ready to start your fitness journey and aren’t sure where to start? Do you need guidance, but don’t have the resources to call on a personal trainer? Join our community now and see the change that can take place when you put the knowledge, support, and accountability of our group partnership together with the expertise, experience, and specialized fitness program to work for you! Click here to learn more or click here to get started! If you are in the Gwinnett County, Georgia area and would like to join our Rabbit Hill Park boot camp class, register today for our April session!