Whilst we know that exercise burns calories is it really effective for weight loss as we have heralded for many years. The dependence on weight loss can be soul destroying as soon as you jump on the scales to check your weight loss progress. Energy requires energy with the result of excessive exercise having the adverse effect of increasing your appetite. Whilst taking up marathon running is commendable at the good old age of 50 but what about the wear and tear on the old body. We may have to rethink our exercise programs to accommodate a fat loss program as opposed to performing cardio. Exercising more with high energy activities and reducing calories does not necessarily mean weight loss entirely. You may lose muscle combined with fat loss but the real cost on the body is muscle loss. Our focus should be on enhancing muscular development with fat loss.
If you were my client with this intention, weight loss, I would alter your diet and show you the difference between muscle and fat. If we compare a kg of both fat and muscle it is easy to see the difference. The Fat is like an inanimate object, mostly lifeless and inactive whereas muscle is alive, throbbing, weighs more but in fact appears much less in terms of occupying space. The aim is to increase lean muscle mass with a reduction of calories that induce fat loss. Muscle is metabolically more active than fat, remember the scales is not a true indication of weight loss, so you should go by the way that you feel in your clothes. Whilst medical practitioner have advocated exercise programs like “pounding the pavement” this may not be the best choice for fat loss that could exacerbate a yo-yo type dieting -weight-loss disaster.
Whilst we all need to do a little more functional movement getting off the couch to burn calories may not necessarily be as hard as you think. Some physical activities burn more calories even whilst you rest. Such an activity is resistance training, that is training with weights. Resistance training have benefits that go way beyond “burning calories. It has been suggested that inactive adults lose approximately 3-8% of their total muscle mass per decade (1)
A group of individuals were trained for a 10-week period doing resistance training only. In this time their lean body mass increased by 1.4 kg with an increase of resting metabolic rate by 7 % and a reduction of fat by 1.8kg. The results also indicated a greater sense of wellbeing, energy increase, improved physical performance, movement control functional independence, an increase in cognitive abilities reversal of specific aging factors in skeletal muscle and an improvement of self-esteem. You can’t argue with that.
When you consider a weight loss program consider what you would like to include. it is not just only about a reduction in calories but implementing low impact movement and a weight lifting program which will give you an increase of muscles mass, improvement in metabolic rate, strength and a total loss of fat. It is really that simple, and easier to lose weight and keep it off, without a drop in your metabolic rate.
Whilst everyone is an individual the effects of resistance training may mean that you may never have to use the word “diet “again and focus on a maintenance program with no more yo-yoing between different clothe sizes.
You can do it, in fact we all can and should as there is a great deal of evidence that supports resistance training as a means of reducing the risk of not only breast cancer for women but in all cancers. What can you lose….. a little bit of fat, and that may be all the inspiration that you require
Caroline is a clinical Nutritionist practicing on a consultation basis. Caroline's experience encompasses research and writing on disease prevention with natural herbs, spices, foods and supplementation. Caroline practices holistic nutritional medicine that combines the three elements of being human. Those being, the physical , emotional and the mental components that make us who we are. All of these criterior is fueled by the fundamental of all health, food .