Chances are, as with nutrition, you’ve heard all sorts of things on the best way to train to lose fat and build muscle. Chances also are that most of this advice was wrong, or at the least, misguided.
If you want to change your body and achieve that toned, lean, ripped look you have to be strength training.
Understanding “weight” loss and “fat” loss
The first thing you need to understand and internalise is the fact you don’t want to lose weight, you want to lose fat. And the two are entirely different things.
(Body) weight is everything that makes up your body mass — things like your muscles, body fat, organs, water, bones, etc.
Weight loss is easy: deplete your water levels, remove carbs from your diet – hell, stop eating altogether and you’ll lose ‘weight’. You’ll also die, so don’t do that.
Fat loss is the process of losing body fat while maintaining your muscle mass and/or even gaining muscle mass.
Here’s an example of weight loss and fat loss.
In both photos, Christian Bale is exhibiting the ‘ripped’ look – if we go by the standard definition of ‘exhibiting low body fat’ – but what look do you prefer? I’m going to go ahead and assume the 60 lb heavier Batman Bale.
There’s one defining factor between Machinist Bale and Batman Bale: Muscle.
The more muscle you have on your frame, the better you’re going to look when dieted down (and in general).
And ladies, this applies to you too.
The girl on the left is fitness model Lori Harder, and the girl on the right is some random runway model I found on Google ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. *
*(Tbh, I found both of them on google–one just had her name attached to the image.)
The two are most likely around a similar level of body fat, the one difference between the two girls is that the fitness model has more muscle.
And that’s my point: There’s a tendency for women to think that if they keep losing weight they’ll somehow reveal the lean physique of the girl in green. In reality, they end up looking more like the girl on the right.
Regardless if you’re wanting to ‘tone’ or get lean; one thing will remain constant: the need to build muscle.
A few more reasons why strength training is important during a fat loss plan:
• Strength training helps preserve your metabolic rate (mainly through the preservation of muscle mass).
• You can’t ‘spot reduce fat’–selectively lose fat from certain places on your body, but you can ‘spot increase muscle’–selectively increase muscle on certain parts of your body. This, in turn, will help you tighten up those ‘trouble areas’.
• Strength training tends to be more enjoyable. As you master complex movements and watch your lift numbers go up, this can act as a powerful motivator.
• Low barrier for entry for those who have a lot of weight to lose and are extremely unfit.
• Strength training is the most functional thing you can do. There’s a lot of talk about “functional” training” these days–doing all sorts of weird things on Bosu balls, balance boards, and whatever else in the name of “functionality”; these same people will disparage lifting heavy weights because it isn’t “functional”.
Here’s the thing: Being strong is the most functional thing you can do, and you’ll find with increased strength everything in your life will improve.
This is no exaggeration. Playing with your kids; changing a flat; picking up groceries; getting into a bar fight*–all things that require some level of strength.
*I don’t condone this, but hey, you never know.
Also, the stronger you are–increased muscle, connective tissue strength, and bone mineral density–the more resilient you become to injuries. Sure, this isn’t directly linked to fat loss, but, I mean, do you want to be weak and fragile? Exactly.
You should already have your training program and hopefully started using it. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Pick one of the programs here and get your ass to the gym and lift.