Not all types of weight loss are created equal…
When we lose weight it comes from some combination of the following areas:
1. Water weight
2. Fat weight
3. Muscle weight
Losing muscle weight is undesirable.
When we lose muscle weight we end up looking skinny fat – empty sacks of skin and flesh without appealing shape or function.
Muscle mass in adults should be preserved at all costs.
This is not only an aesthetic function but also evidenced by the countless studies that show that humans with higher proportions of muscle mass live longer and healthier lives.
Water weight is its own beast.
Easy to lose, but doesn’t stay gone permanently.
This is the red herring of weight loss. You step on the scale after 1 week of the keto diet and you’re down TEN POUNDS! Oh my god what a miracle…
Often times when we see these huge changes in weight over very short periods of time they are a change in our water weight.
As our body and metabolism adapt to our new dietary routine our body often regains some of that water weight in its effort to return to homeostasis – or”ability of an organism or environment to maintain stability in spite of changes”.
Fat weight is our most desirable type of weight loss.
Losing fat weight without losing corresponding amounts of muscle mass can be difficult but is extremely rewarding.
Accompanied by wonderful health and aesthetic changes, losing fat weight is a slow process that REQUIRES both nutrition and exercise in order to achieve a successful outcome.
Aerobic exercise – also referred to as cardio training – helps us burn significant amounts of calories.
Sometimes as many as 600 per hour with activities like running.
However, because there is no form of resistance, nor is there adequate rest intervals within this form of training, we tend to erode at our muscle mass in order to fuel these activities.
Good examples of this are marathon runners.
If it was the case that we could just run our way to fit lean bodies, we would see marathon runners with significantly higher amounts of muscle.
But the fact of the matter is that aerobic training makes it hard to maintain muscle mass.
To that end, we must ALSO STRENGTH TRAIN in order to gain/preserve muscle mass.
The combination of aerobic training and strength training will allow us to lose weight (usually water and small amounts of muscle) while also working to preserve or even gain that muscle mass.
These types of training modes effectively balance each other out.
At the same time we must make nutritional changes that will initiate FAT LOSS. Typically this is done by eating fewer calories of higher quality food done in combination with our exercise.
In summary, the basic rules for fat loss are:
1. Eat Less
2. Eat better quality food
3. If you do cardio, you must strength train at least 2x a week to balance it out
4. Stick to it for a long time.
Now the challenge is how to implement this in a manageable way.