What are the core principles to keep in mind when trying to lose fat? Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about fat loss, and see what we can learn.
Do I Have To Change My Diet?
This is obvious, and we won’t insult your intelligence by going over this too much. It isn’t a coincidence that in every article you can ever read on fat loss, the number one thing mentioned is your diet. Every expert, every bodybuilder or athlete out there will tell you that to lose fat your diet is what will take you the furthest. That being said, there are things that you should do to your training to take you to that lean body you deserve. To get started read this.
Should I Use Heavy Or Light Weights?
Often times you will have information out there telling you that if you traditionally lift heavy weights, you should be switching to lighter weights with more reps. Is this justified? In short, no. There seems to be no reason to do this that would maximize your results. It can be tempted during your time dieting, to lift lighter weights, since your energy might be lower, you might be more tired generally. This is wrong, fight this temptation. You need to demand that your body continues with the heavy compounds movements. These exercises have the most metabolic demand, and as we will discuss in a moment, that is a good thing.
What Is The Impact Of Muscle On Fat Loss?
In general, it isn’t going to be very easy to gain muscle and lose weight at the same time. It is possible, and many things have been written about it, and if you are a beginner in the fitness game, it will almost definitely happen to you.
Having muscle should interest you for reasons beyond being a much stronger sexier version of yourself. Think of body as an old train. Your Metabolism is the engine, and your fat is the coal that feeds it. The more muscle you have, the faster the train goes, the more coal you need. In short, the more muscle that is on your body, the more fat your body will burn. Your metabolism will be much higher than if you had less muscle. So, build more muscle, burn more fat, it’s that simple. It’s simple, but not easy.
What About Calories?
The traditional narrative for weight loss revolves around expending more calories than you are taking in. While this is true, it can lead some plucky wannabe mathematicians to think that as long as they beat their shins to death on the treadmill and only eat celery they will lose weight. And they are right, you will lose plenty of weight. Most of it will be muscle, and you will just go back to looking like you did when you were thirteen.
This is why steady state cardio is not the most useful thing in your fat loss training arsenal. What is better is HIIT and weight lifting. You basically want to burn as many calories as is possible throughout the day. By using high intensity cardio and weight lifting, you will raise that metabolism, burning more calories throughout the day. And jogging is boring. If you really enjoy jogging, then by all means throw it into your routine, but do not rely on it as a primary source of exercise for shedding fat.
Can I Just Pick One Strategy?
It depends on what you mean by one strategy. With fat loss, the key is variety. This is due to the metabolic demands of new routines. The more inefficient your body is at something, the harder it will have to work, and the more fat you will lose. So what do we mean when we say that variety is good? If for instance you have been doing the same program for a few cycles and your progress is beginning to slow down it might be an idea to change.
What is not a good idea is to swap bodybuilding for CrossFit or swimming. This drastic change will be too much. Although you will have a metabolic demand, you want to avoid taking up something completely new. If you are constantly having to learn new movements, new skills and new rules you will not master quickly enough to benefit from the effects. If you are struggling with a new Olympic lift, your weights will be low, your body will be less stressed than your mind. It is always good to learn new things in the gym, but if fat loss is your main goal, put learning new skills on the back burner.
Take your existing strategies and tweak it. Add in a circuit to your training, mix up the rep schemes, throw in some supersets, add a HIIT end to your workout. There are plenty of things you can change to keep progressing, and this will make sure that your metabolism keeps ticking along at a quick pace.
Should I Do Morning Cardio?
This is a tool used by many bodybuilders over the years. It can help shed some unwanted fat, and also get some thinking and relaxing done. If you do a slow walk or cycle (below 120 bpm heart rate) you can really attack some of that ugly fat. This should be done ideally for around 45 mins to an hour several times per week. It might not be the most interesting exercise on earth, but it is a great time to catch up on some audio books, journal writing, world domination planning etc.
So putting it all together we see that heavy resistance training should be at the heart of your weight loss regime. Add to this some variety, some HIIT and some early morning cardio you should be set. Weight loss takes discipline and focus. Get your head into gear, enjoy the process, I’ll see you at the beach.