Leaning out is almost the main goal for everyone who first into fitness. If not everyone but the majority of them. There is so much myth out there, and often time this information is misleading. Therefore, this post is a collection of facts I wish I know before as a beginner trying to lean out.
Here are the 5 things that I learned throughout the fitness journey, hope it helps everyone that currently has a fitness goal to lean out.
How ‘Magical Food’ Actually Help You Lose Weight
First, let’s debunk one fitness myth that I had seen all the time. There isn’t any magical food that could help you ‘burn fat. Every food has calories. The difference is that it might have lower calories compared with another food group. The theory of ‘calorie in calorie out’ still applies although there is more complexity that goes behind weight loss. However, the basics are still there and I could firmly say that food that helps burn fat isn’t existing.
The reason why someone might notice they are losing weight after eating certain ‘magic food’ is that since that food has a bigger volume/more fullness relatively with its calories content when consumed. This results in you’ll be feeling full after eating, and either stop eating or eat lesser.
This is how you can benefit from the idea: This magical food really does help in weight loss, but only when you go in the right mindset.
When you eat those ‘magic food’, instead of thinking it helping you to burn fat, think of the fullness and satiety after eating. Then you can decide whether you could decrease the consumption of food overall. As long as one overall calorie consumed is lesser, they will eventually lose fat.
Carbohydrates Are Not Your Enemy
This point actually could further elaborate on the point above.
If there is no ‘magical food’ that helps you lose fat, then as long as the calories are the same, carbohydrates aren’t any fattening compared with protein and fat. The reason why carbohydrates are being demonised is that there is so much fame in the keto diet, also because people had mistaken there is distinguishment between complex carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates.
The importance of sufficient carbohydrates in diet should not be overlooked. While everyone is trying to stay out of carbohydrates, we should look at how it actually helps one to maintain leanness. Carbs are good in terms of providing more energy. Especially for those that start weight training. During weight training, the body will look for glycogen as fuel. Having sufficient carbohydrates for each session will ensure muscle recovery at the same time help in performance.
Complex carbohydrates, mean wheat, brown rice, and sweet potato. It’s okay to consume a sufficient amount. Those ‘bad’ carbohydrates are the reason that makes us fat. These are processed food such as food with added sugars, pastry, or food that had been striped with its nutrient content.
Losing Weight Does Not Always Mean Fat Loss
As I had discussed in the previous post, ‘Why Body Recomposition is The New Weight Loss?‘, we could see the importance of having a lean body mass compared with overall body weight. Because your body weight really can’t tell much about how much body fat you actually have. In another way, you can still have high body fat but lighter weight.
Oftentimes the fastest way to lose weight is to go on a restricted diet. Either done by eating only low calories food, whole food or only vegetables. However, the danger is that when the calories are too low to sustain our daily activities, muscles are more likely to break down.
When you getting too fast on losing weight, that is another thing that should be a concern. Because that probably means one had lost muscle at the same time too. Another reason why beginners that go on a restricted diet will tend to lose muscle mass is that they probably don’t into weight lifting. This will make the muscle break down even faster compared with those that weight lifting.
You can still look the same (perhaps slightly smaller than before) but with a lighter weight. In the case that you had lost majority of muscle instead of fat. Why is this possible? Because muscle is denser and required lesser space than fat. When you lose weight too fast, in actual what you had lose is the muscle (with less space), but more weight had losses.
Go For Weight Lifting Instead of Cardio
When a person thinks that muscularity equals bulky, it isn’t.
Body fat is body fat, muscle is muscle. Having more muscle mass have nothing to do with making you look ’round’ or ‘robust’. Often time only the combination of both muscle and high fat makes one person looks bulky.
However, this led most people to think that they need to start cardio. Although this is still a good way rather than you did nothing at all. However, I still recommended everyone starting out trying to lean out (except for those that are truly obese, start exercising is better than everything) go for weight lifting instead of cardio.
Why weight lifting is better than cardio? First, although we can’t deny that cardio burns more fat compared with weight lifting in the same session. However, that is just when we are looking at the calories burned during that single session. The afterburn (EPOC) effect after weight lifting is far higher than cardio.
Looking at the long term,
It is because the RMR (resting metabolism rate) of one person also depends on their lean mass. Which means they will burn more fat even at rest. With this, weight lifting does promote long-lasting results. And it is easier to maintain your weight when you build up more muscle mass instead of relying on cardio.
The Truth About Toning Exercise
I notice there is some ‘toning’ workout over the fitness world that suggests that by using lightweight, you can decrease the size in a specific area. Think of the ‘best arm toning exercise’ ‘burn fat around the belly’ or ‘leg exercise for the thin leg”. The typical outlook is these workouts often encourage you to use some light weight to work on either any body parts, so-called sculpting. They believe that they could add ‘lean muscle’ on that area without looking bulky.
There is something I agree and disagree about these training methods. First, I applaud that these people encourage to use ‘weight’ to train arms or legs instead of going on cardio. However, the problem is these types of exercise often did not target hypertrophy. therefore the muscle-building stimulus is limited.
Building muscle on a specific area does provide a toning effect and will improve the overall appearance. That’s why bodybuilding exists in the first place. However, these people often use heavy weight instead of lightweight. The principle for muscle growth is progressive overload. Although one might found they are able to ‘tone’ their arms after their light-weight workout, however, once they pass the beginner threshold, they will have limitations to further build more muscle in that area.
Also, there is no spot reduction no matter which exercises you are doing. Everyone has different genetics and which part of your body started to lean out will depend on your body type. Therefore, the best way is to do a full body workout, and lift heavy to sufficient aid in fat loss.