Body fat vs. body weight...
It is a very important concept that many people do not fully understand. Our very language continues to promote the misunderstanding – people still say they want to ‘lose weight’ when in fact what they really want to do is ‘lose fat’.
Overweight as a term is really a misnomer. You could have two people of equal heights, who both weigh 150lbs. One could look puffy and unhealthy, while the other looks fit and lean. Why? Quite simply – muscle tissue weighs more than the equivalent amount of fat tissue.
Whereas muscle itself utilizes energy, fat is simply stored energy – it is your reserve tank of fuel. We do require some fat stores, but excess fat is not only unnecessary, it is dangerous. And it impedes movement. Muscle is the opposite – useful for a number of purposes, including strength and support, speed and agility. It assists with movement.
Yes, muscle weighs more than fat, but this is because it is denser. As you work out you may notice an INCREASE in your weight. This is not bad news – remember, as you put on muscle your weight could very well increase, but your body shape will still become smaller. If you are trying to decrease body fat, never base your goals on weight – always measure your body fat percentage. You can be guaranteed that even though the scales say you are not losing ‘weight’ your clothes will tell a different story.
By increasing your muscle tissue you are creating a need for energy – those muscle stores are functioning tissue and require more energy than your old fat stores did. This is great news – the more muscle tissue you have the more energy you burn each and every day; not only when you exercise, but the entire time 24 hours, seven days a week.
As you get stronger and healthier, your body promotes increased energy usage. Just a few weeks into training, even when you are sitting on the couch, as a new, stronger, leaner person, you are burning more energy than you would have one month earlier.
Yes, your dietary needs will change, but don’t be scared of your increased appetite – it is just a matter of making sure that along with your new training regime and need for energy, you are filling up your system with premium fuel.
Diets and dietary change are two very different things. ‘Going on a diet’ is never a good idea. Diets are unsustainable and only meant to be quick fixes. They are not healthy and they are not helpful. Instead you need to incorporate dietary change. Dietary change is sustainable change – permanent change that alters your eating habits for the better, permanently.
So get rid of the scales. Contrary to popular belief, they do lie. It’s time to concentrate on the healthy you. If you want something to focus on, choose your body fat as the measurement to keep one eye on. The other should be firmly fixed on the shopping cart – exercise is only half the battle. It isn’t just what you put out – it is also what you put in that counts.
At NJ Fitness we understand that there is more to being healthy than pulling on a pair of shorts and jogging around the block. We help you tackle your goals from every angle. Inquire about our personalized approach to creating the new and improved version of you.