Lean Muscle Mass and Fat loss

As a Personal Trainer people are constantly asking me advice about weight loss and I have noticed that a lot of people have a lot of different ideas about losing weight but one of the most common errors made by overweight and obese people and ironically most of the girls I tend to talk to is that they tend to focus too heavily on weight loss, rather than more specifically on body fat loss. In particular, those who seek rapid weight loss most usually fail to achieve substantial fat loss.

By making this mistake, many diet or adopt lifestyles that produce (usually temporary) weight loss from dehydration and loss of lean muscle mass.

Why is this a mistake you ask?

Allow me to explain. First of all forget just trying to lose as much weight as possible, this is real life not the biggest loser (or as I tend to call it, the fattest idiot. haha I do love that show though, how cool is it?) we want to look good and be healthy not necessarily lose as much weight as possible.

Basically put, lean muscle mass burns calories. So even when at rest the more lean muscle mass you have the more calories you will burn.

Although different sources quote different estimates, by the more conservative estimates each pound of muscle tissue burns around 100 calories per week.

Therefore, if your weight loss includes loss of muscle mass or lean body tissue, your resting metabolic rate drops. Your body will just not burn as many calories as it did before you lost the muscle mass.

Thus begins the dreadful self-defeating slide of the dieter and come on, I am sure that this has happened to everyone not just people that are largely overweight or obese…. You seek to lose weight and adopt a diet/program that not only aids you in losing some body fat, but also results in loss of vital lean muscle mass. Suddenly, the diet no longer works. Even while sticking to the diet, you will start to gain weight because the reduced muscle mass means your resting metabolic rate has dropped. Eventually, you will regain all of the weight you lost – even though you are no longer eating as much as you were in the first place.

The dream of rapid fat loss suddenly turns into the nightmare of rebound weight gain.

You’ve become one of the 95% of people for whom permanent weight loss remains elusive.

What is an overweight or obese person to do?

The first thing to do is refocus on what really matters. What really matters is body fat loss – not mere weight loss. I mean if you have adopted an exercise program don’t you want to get all the benefits which should include a faster resting metabolic rate.

The need is to focus on lifelong dietary, exercise and lifestyle patterns that promote both:

  • Body fat loss, &

  • Building muscle mass and maintaining that muscle mass

Remember it’s easy to get fit, it’s just hard work.

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