What’s the REAL Key to Fat Loss?
How’s that for a title to pique some interest!? It’s no secret that we’re obsessed with fat loss in this country. I mean, anyone who’s spent a sleepless night channel surfing or perused the magazine rack in the grocery store is seemingly bombarded with infomercials and articles claiming to be the “next best thing” with regards to winning the battle of the bulge.
You all know what I’m talking about. And, if you’re like me, you’re constantly in a state of eye rolling.
Thing is, though – as much as we’re inundated with television shows, news stories, websites, books, webinars, magazines, and DVDs telling us how we can go about getting our sexification on, as a whole, when you take a minute and actually look around, we’re still pretty freakin fat. What gives?
Truthfully, I just feel that our efforts are going in the wrong place. Of course, first and foremost, diet is going to (and always will be) the determining factor. I’m sorry, but if you’re one of those people who hightails it to the local Starbucks after a workout in order to reward yourself by inhaling a Frappuccino and bagel you’ve got your priorities mixed up.
I know this is going to come as a shock to some people reading, but trust me when I say this: there’s no way in hell you just burned off 900 calories trudging along on the elliptical trainer for the past 45 minutes. I don’t care what the calorie tracker told you, it didn’t happen. Not even close. In related news – there’s no such thing as the Easter Bunny.
To expound on this a little further: when it comes to creating a caloric deficit (which in turn leads to increased fat loss), diet trumps exercise every time. If someone is really (and I mean REALLY) getting after it in the gym, I’d say it would generally take 45 minutes of vigorous exercise to burn off 500 kcals. Compare that to just NOT eating those three Oreo cookies you typically have as a mid-afternoon snack, and it becomes pretty clear which is the most efficient use of your time speaking strictly in the context of fat loss.
Moreover, my good friend, Mark Young, noted recently that there’s quite a bit of research which suggest that adding exercise to an already effective diet produces little (if any) additional weight or fat loss.
Of course, this isn’t to say that exercise (in any form) is a complete waste of time or doesn’t have any merit – that would just be looney talk. But, it does say something to all of these crazy “metabolic disturbance” type protocols that many trainees tend to follow when the main goal is fat loss.
As Mark demonstrated in THIS post, when already in a caloric deficit, adding in ANY type of exercise is not going to have a huge impact on weight (or fat) loss.
That being said, with regards to fat loss, exercise should be used for a different purpose altogether. Not so much as a form of burning calories (which doesn’t hurt), but moreso as a way to MAINTAIN MUSCLE MASS!!!!!!!
What makes muscle, keeps muscle. That’s the REAL key to fat loss. Do your best to retain muscle in the form of lifting heavy things, and let the diet take care of everything else.
Maybe it’s the strength coach in me talking, but I truely feel that if more people followed this mantra, they’d see marked improvements in their results.