Do You Want to Lose Weight?
If you answered yes, you are wrong. Well, not wrong actually, but what you’re really wanting to do is lose fat. Anybody can lose weight. You just don’t eat. You will lose weight, unfortunately, the weight you lose will be both muscle and fat.
The goal to successful weight loss is to preserve as much muscle as possible, or possibly even gain some, while at the same time lose as much body fat as possible. Your body fat % is a key indicator of your success, not the scale. In fact, stay off the scale.
Muscle is vital to your success for losing fat. Muscles have these little fat burning powerhouses called mitochondria. Mitochondria are cellular power plants that are responsible for the production of energy. It’s in the mitochondria that fat is metabolized. There is a positive correlation between the amount of muscle you have and the number of mitochondria. And it stands to reason that the more mitochondria you have, the more the potential to burn fat.
Get More Mitochondria
How do you get more of these little cell powerhouses? You need to be giving your body a reason to create more of them. You do this by performing high intensity exercise. HIIT training is just one of these methods. Weight training is another. By creating a large demand for energy up and above what your body can already produce, your body is forced to create new mitochondria in order to be prepared for the next time your muscles call on that needed extra energy.
The great thing about muscle and mitochondria is that they are active tissue. Unlike fat, they need constant energy to maintain themselves – energy like fatty acids. What does this mean? It means that your body will be burning fat at all times of the day – even while you’re sleeping. Yes, it is possible to burn fat in your sleep, and that is how.
Don’t Worry About Your Weight
Telling people to ignore their weight is a very common that I address and for good reason. Too many times successful dieting is sabotaged because of a meaningless number on a scale. A scale does nothing other than measure the force of gravity on your body. Why should this matter at all? It can’t tell you if your clothes fit better, it can’t tell you if your body fat percentage has changed, and it definitely won’t tell you that you’re looking any better.
When you start dieting, it is imperative that you track your progress using methods other than the scale. You need progress measuring tools that are going to track fat loss – not weight loss. Body fat testing (although this is an estimation & not fully accurate), tape measures, pictures, clothes sizes, and people’s comments are all going to be more useful for you. Don’t worry about your weight – even if it goes up. If you’re looking better, you’re weight doesn’t matter. The only time it matters is when you tell your weight to someone who doesn’t understand the difference between weight loss and fat loss.
Preserve Muscle While Losing Fat
Alright then, if our goal is fat loss, we are going to need to focus on preserving muscle while we lose fat. People tend to sabotage their diets by eating too little food and too few nutrients resulting in muscle loss. Once you start losing muscle, you are fighting an uphill battle to lose fat. This is one of the main reasons why diets fail, just behind food addiction.
To prevent muscle loss, make sure you are following these basic guidelines:
• Get in enough calories for your body size and activity level.
• Make sure those calories are nutrient dense by having them come from fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, tubers, non-fat dairy, and whole grains.
• Aim for calories in the 10-12 times your body weight range.
• Try to get in 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight, and divide that evenly among 5 meals.
• Eat enough carbohydrates to support your activity level. You can adjust them as you go.
• Fill the rest of your calories with fat – healthy fats and EFAs (essential fatty acids).
• Make sure you exercise and give your muscles a reason to maintain themselves. If you don’t exercise, your body is going to shed that unneeded muscle. Force your body to preserve it and even grow it by giving it consistent stimulation.
Follow these guidelines and you will reach your true goal of not just losing weight, but losing that unwanted fat, and keeping your beautiful muscle.