One of my early mentors used a phrase to explain ones relationship w/ the scale. “The scale doesn’t lie, but it sure don’t tell the truth!” How is that possible!?? Allow me to start by tackling the age old question- “What’s the difference between losing weight and losing fat?” The common belief is that if you simply reduce your caloric intake you will lose weight and change your body composition. This approach becomes flawed very quickly!
“Action is the fundamental key to all success.”-Pablo Picasso
When the body experiences a continual decrease in caloric intake, it will lose both fat and muscle. As a result, the numbers on the scale will drop twice as quickly. However, muscle comprises a machinery necessary to burn fat. If you lose this fat burning machinery, your body will not be able to maintain the weight loss (less muscle = fewer calories burned). When attempting to lose “weight” the primary goal is the retention or increase of the present lean muscle tissue, which will enable you to burn more fat and eat more food. Typically, when designing a weight loss program often times people initially state that they won’t be able to consume the amount of food recommended. However, it generally does not take long for most clients to become accustomed to, and enjoy the quantity of food. Additionally, the elevation in caloric intake becomes necessary in order to increase lean muscle mass. As previously stated…by increasing your lean muscle tissue this will increase ones ability to burn fat!
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”-Norman Vincent Peale
Bottom Line… Accomplishing muscle hypertrophy and/or body fat reduction requires continual manipulation of food consumed (potential energy measured in calories) and food used (work measured in calories). When these two factors are equal (energy balance), there is no change in body mass. This is also the state the body constantly strives to maintain. In other words, every time the human body experiences an energy imbalance (mandatory for body mass change) it’s job is to bring the energy back into balance. The body accomplishes this by adapting to the exercise and/or energy input (diet) and ultimately reaches a plateau. At this point, an adjustment must be made in the energy output (exercise) and/or energy input (diet), if progress is desired. The bodies obligatory response to energy imbalance creates the need for continual manipulation of food and work in order to achieve continuous progress. The key to favorably altering body composition is to direct the body to use it’s stored fat to supply the extra calories needed to sustain or build muscle, therefore, simultaneously reducing the fat stores. This is building or sustaining muscle at the expense of body fat. This is the art and science (the fun stuff) of favorably altering body composition until you reach your goal.