When I meet new members (or chat with current members) and start talking about what their goals are, one of the most common answers I hear is, “I want to lose some weight”. The way I interpret this answer is really “I want to lose some fat”, because I don’t know many people who are looking to lose muscle mass. As we continue to watch the epidemic of increasing waistlines in this country, I am never surprised by this answer. What most people do find interesting is that the fitness industry is arguably bigger than it has ever been; yet the percentage of the population that is overweight continues to rise. Hmm, this seems counterintuitive…if more people are exercising shouldn’t we being seeing the opposite? Well, let’s take a deeper look at what is necessary to lose fat.
So here we go, I know most of you won’t like this answer, but the cold hard truth is that 80% of the battle against body fat is your diet. (Kelso, 2012) You can come to the box 6 days a week and bust your ass, but if you are still crushing bags of Doritos, Sour Patch Kids, and cans of cola on a regular basis you will have a hard time losing the amount of body fat you desire. If your number one goal is to lose fat, then getting the right food on your plate should be your number one priority. I would highly recommend reading the book “It Starts With Food” by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig for more information, or check out their website http://whole9life.com/. Also, please feel free to ask any of your friendly CrossFit ABQ coaches for more information and we can point you in the right direction.
Now with the issue of food being addressed we can move on to the next point. Exercise is certainly an important piece of the fat loss puzzle, however certain methods are more beneficial than others. The bottom line here is greater effort burns more calories. So, that means if you have the option of trotting along on a treadmill at a leisurely pace for 30 minutes while watching Dr. Phil, or coming to CrossFit ABQ and hammering out some heavy back squats followed by an intense met con…well hopefully you can determine the better of the two choices. Basically, choose the option that will be most uncomfortable and that is the one that will burn the most energy. By engaging in higher intensity workouts you will be depleting glycogen, which will force your body to utilize fat storage for energy. Furthermore, more fat will be burned during the post-workout recovery process following a high-effort workout as opposed to a low intensity effort. (Kelso, 2012) One final word on the exercise portion involving fat loss; if you want to lose fat go all in during strength training days. Ben made an excellent post Monday regarding this issue so please read that as well if you haven’t already. As far as our discussion here, simply put, more muscle mass means less fat. So, pick up and/or move heavy things frequently.
So there you have it folks. If you want to lose fat you must eat well, train smart, and recover well. We are here to help you with all of these so please let us know if you have questions.
Kelso, T. (2012). The Right Way to Lose Fat: How to Exercise. September 6, 2012 from http://breakingmuscle.com/training/right-way-lose-fat-how-exercise