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Fat Loss Truths: Part Two

This is part two in my series on “fat loss truths.” I’ve created this series to help shed some light on the myths and misconceptions about what really works to lose fat and transform your body.

While I look to regularly comment and post on the latest trends in weight loss, I felt it would be helpful to reinforce the facts about what I know to work.

While some of these “truths” may not be new to you, it’s always good to go back to the basics. This will keep you from being tempeted to run blindly after the latest fad diet or so called fat loss breakthrough.

Fat Loss Truth #5
Low Calorie Diets Will Always Have A Rebound Effect

It’s important to understand the human body can’t differentiate between intentional calorie deprivation (as in a diet), and starvation.  When you dramatically reduce your caloric intake your body shifts into a protective mode by slowing your metabolism down and holding onto fat.

This is nothing more than a self-preservation mechanism built into your DNA. In the beginning of a very low calorie diet you can lose weight but only a small amount of it will be actual fat loss. The remainder will be water weight and lean muscle tissue – the exact OPPOSITE of what you want to get rid of.

Not only will low calorie slow your metabolism down to a crawl, causing your initial weight loss to come to a gradual halt, but more importantly they will also inevitably bring about a “rebound” effect.

When you eventually break and starting eating normal again you can get even fatter than you were before starting the diet.  It gets worse…when you rebound your percentage of body fat generally increases because your body cannibalized muscle tissue as an energy source during the dieting process.  This is also referred to as the “yo-yo” effect that low calorie dieters talk about.

To effectively lose the fat stores in your body, you’ve got increase your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns fuel throughout the day – even when you’re NOT exercising). This is accomplished by not only changes in what you eat, how much, and how often, but also with the development of lean muscle tissue.

Everything else is a quick fix and is likely to have a rebound effect. There’s always some new breakthrough way to lose fat you’ll see become vogue for a while but you simply can’t change how the human body functions.

Fat Loss Truth #6
Doing More Cardio Doesn’t Always Equal More Fat Loss

I see women at the gym all the time that will spend 5 days a week, 45-60 minutes at a time, on the stair-stepper, treadmill or elliptical but they never seem to look any different. I know men who run 6 miles a day who have no muscle tone and rolls of fat around their waists.

You’ve been led to believe that if you want to lose fat, all you have to do is increase the amount of cardiovascular exercise. It’s just not that simple. In fact, doing more cardio can actually be counterproductive.

If cardiovascular exercise is not supplemented with resistance training to at least maintain muscle mass, you cannot effectively accelerate the fat loss process. Long duration cardio will burn a lot of calories during the workout but it’s the “post-workout” burning of calories that makes a bigger difference.

There’s also the issue of hormonal responses from the exercise you do. Long duration cardio, especially when combined with low calorie diets, can actually result in a reduction of fat burning hormones like testosterone and growth hormone. The end result is a continued breakdown of lean muscle tissue and a slowed metabolism.

Cardio workouts are certainly an essential part of a fat loss program, but they should be varied in intensity and duration for optimal results.

Fat Loss Truth #7
Weight Loss Cannot Be Maintained Without A Concern For Muscle

It’s important to understand that lean muscle is metabolically active tissue.  Fat on the other hand does not use energy, it is used as energy.  Muscle uses energy and therefore the more lean muscle you have the more fat you can burn.

It’s no coincidence that the most muscular individuals are also the leanest.  And here’s the biggest benefit, and why everyone needs to incorporate resistance training in their exercise program: the more lean muscle you have the more fat you can burn at rest.

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This is where a lot of people have their beliefs upside down. It’s not how many calories you burn while you’re working out. After all there’s only so much time you can devote to exercise in a given week.

A lot of my clients are really surprised when they learn this during a resting metabolic rate test. It’s the discovery of the fact that you burn four to five times as many calories during the day at rest than you do with an hour of exercise (even at the highest of intensities).  It all comes down to your rate of metabolism.

And the reality is people with more lean muscle have a faster metabolic rate than do those with less lean muscle.  That doesn’t mean you have to look like a body builder to be an efficient fat-burning machine.  You just have to work on building lean muscle with resistance training as part of your overall strategy. Combined with the right cardio and the right diet, you’ll see the results you want.

Fat Loss Truth #8
Thigh Reducers, Tummy Trimmers and Body Part Shapers Can’t “Spot Reduce.”

Flip through the channels on Saturday morning and you’ll find tons of infomercials touting muscle-specific exercisers for body fat reduction.  They try to make you believe that you can reduce your waist size by working the abdominal muscles, or you can reduce your thighs with a thigh exerciser. These are all scams and total rips offs.

The only way to reduce body fat is by combining a precise program of supportive nutrition with the right balance of cardiovascular and resistance exercise. If you want to lose that layer of fat around your stomach, don’t work your abdominal muscles, work your leg, back, chest, and larger muscles.

This might sound weird but it’s the truth. Remember muscle is metabolically active tissue. If you create more of an energy demand from the bigger muscles you can literally transport fat from your stomach area to your legs for example to be burned for fuel. Bottom line is spot reduction from a fat loss standpoint is a total waste of your time and nothing more than a myth.

You just have to cut through all the lies, misinformation and total nonsense being shoved down your throat by these big, mega-buck companies attempting to further line their pockets at your expense.

The truth about what works to lose fat and transform your body never changes. What worked fifty years ago still works today and will work fifty years from now. Ignore the universal truths about how your body functions from a fat burning/fat storing process and expect to be disappointed every time. Align yourself with these truths and you’ll be on your way to seeing the results you’ve always wanted.

Until next time…eat primal, train hard, and live strong!

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. You can receive a FREE n0-obligations trial of his Charleston personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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Category: Fat Loss.