How to Lose Body Fat
I had this come across my ThumbTack feed the other day, presuming this person wants to know how to lose body fat…..
At first glance you may expect me to make a joke about the goals.
However, years ago when I started to lift at 18 I did a lot of abdominal exercises to try and burn the ring of belly fat that appeared when I stopped playing soccer at the young age of 13.
Such an approach is referred to as target training. The goal is to exercise the muscles in the area where body fat is stored to burn the fat off.
Unfortunately/ fortunately this doesn’t work. (I’ll explain why this is fortunate in one of the next blogs). You absolutely can change body dimensions by focusing on a specific area. Increase muscle mass and the body shape will change, however there is a catch with this too.
The reality is that the distribution of where body fat is gained and lost is genetic. Wherever we gain fat first will be the last location that we metabolize when transforming our physique. We each also have a predetermined shape that will dictate how we put on muscle.
The rate that body fat comes off will depend on the calories that are eaten versus calories that are burned AND (this one is missed too often and derails progress) creating the hormonal environment needed to encourage the body to use stored fat.
A simple way of saying this is that balance is needed. We need to train (precisely too, not all exercise is the same as discussed in a past blog here) and then allow our body to recover. It’s in the recovery state where the magic happens, NOT during the workout. This is why too frequent high intensity training creates a plateau in fat loss, followed by health problems (great article here).
Balance also means hormonal balance. Minimizing total stress, keeping the stress load to a eustressful level (that’s the form of stress that creates positive adaptation) rather than distressful (breaks us down over time, aka bad stress). This hormonal balance also means we eat the right combination of foods. Calories from fat, protein and vegetables create a much different hormonal outcome than calories from sugar and starch.
It’s remarkably simple in most ways. The barrier for most is picking and sticking to one approach. This means getting a scientific training program that metabolizes fat WHILE gaining strength and muscle, the 1-2-3 knockout combo for creating a leaner body. It also means picking ONE nutrition approach to build new habits.
Tomorrow we will go into more details about how to lose body fat and create your leanest, strongest and healthiest body and end the progress/setbacks rollercoaster.