It’s the same, right? Not really.
Mentality plays a big role in your fitness journey. Anyone that’s ever embarked on a path to a healthier lifestyle, has been a competitor, is a fitness model, or is an athlete can attest to this. Your mind is your most powerful muscle, hands down.
Naturally then, it’s easy for our scales to play tricks on us when they don’t move or even worse – they go up – when we’ve been doing everything right.
This is what separates weight loss from fat loss. The terms are interchangeable in social norms, however, the perspectives are different. You don’t always lose weight when you lose fat.
Isn’t that crazy? Let me explain. Muscle weighs more than fat. So when you strength train and gain muscle, a couple of scenarios can play out:
- you don’t lose the equivalent amount of fat so the scale doesn’t move
- you haven’t really incorporated much cardio and it’s taking time for your metabolism to do its thing so the scale may go up because you’ve added muscle mass to your body composition
Neither one of those are bad or unfavorable scenarios! First of all, our metabolisms are all different. You shouldn’t go crazy and start doing 45-minutes of cardio per day to blast the fat off. Why? Because eventually you’ll reach a plateau and then what? Are you going to increase your cardio to 60-minutes per day?
Train smarter! Not harder.
Start off with strength training and slowly add in cardio. If you do strength training the right way, trust me, your heart rate will be up anyway and you’ll be burning fat regardless. Pay attention to how your body responds to all of these changes. Do you notice one area developing faster than others? Can you increase intensity of your cardio rather than time? What about decreasing the rest time between sets?
All of these are little details you can adjust in your training regimen without killing yourself on the stair master or treadmill to kick things up a notch.
Also – more muscle mass = more fat burn at rest. This means, the more muscle you build, the more fat your body will burn automatically at rest. So now imagine how much more it will burn when actually working!
But again, muscle weighs more than fat so the number on the scale may not actually move or it may even go up which is discouraging to someone who is trying to lose “weight”. But if you’re measuring your body fat percentage and sticking to your program, you are likely losing fat and inches while putting on muscle.
Don’t be a slave to the number on the scale. The perception of that stupid little number can make or break you. It’s important to have an understanding and see things from a different point of view so that you don’t give up before you start seeing results. Aim to lose FAT not WEIGHT.