When determining your fitness goal, if the primary goal is to lose body fat, it is important to realize that this is achieved through fat loss, not weight loss. When the body receives the proper amount of calories and nutrients, appearance goals can be reached and maintained. In addition, eating foods that fuel muscle tissue helps burn fat efficiently during exercise and when at rest.
It is very important to understand the difference between fat loss and weight loss. Calories are burned in muscle tissue. One pound of lean body mass burns approximately 30 to 50 calories daily and stores 450 calories of energy. Conversely, body fat is a storehouse for calories. One pound of fat burns approximately six calories daily and stores 3,500 calories of energy.
When not following proper nutrition, a minimum of 25 percent of quick weight loss is lost from lean muscle tissue. If 25 percent or more of the weight lost is from lean muscle tissue, an individual may easily regain the lost weight and most likely gain additional weight. Muscle tissue is denser that fat because it's 70 percent water, while fat is approximately 20 percent water. This is where the scale really trips people up.
Rapid weight loss and under eating cause muscle tissue to be used for energy, which decreases metabolism. Providing the body with the food and nutrients it needs will sufficiently fuel working muscles, initiate fat loss and develop a healthier metabolism.
To lose body fat instead of muscle tissue, you can focus on these points:
- Loss of body fat rather than weight loss
- Loss of inches rather than weight loss
- Positive changes in daily eating habits and exercise habits
- Positive changes in how you feel
- Clothes fitting better
- Eating one to two hours prior to training to fuel muscles and prevent muscle tissue loss
- Eating within 90 minutes after exercise to replenish nutrients in the muscle tissue