Weight Loss vs Fat Loss – Which are you doing ?
Weight Loss vs Fat Loss - if your are only focused on what the weighing scales is saying then you might be setting yourself up to fail!
Losing weight does not always mean that you are losing fat. Weight loss can also come from reduced muscle mass or water weight.
Depending on your fitness goals, your total body weight may not be a good indicator of your progress. Whether you want to reduce body fat or slim down, you should understand the differences between weight loss and fat loss.
Weight Loss vs Fat Loss
Weight loss refers to a reduction in your overall body weight. This weight loss may or may not include body fat. There are three primary areas where you can lose weight; water weight, muscle mass, and body fat.
When most people say that they want to lose weight, they really mean that they want to lose fat. They want to improve their physical health or appearance by getting rid of their body fat and toning flabby areas. This requires fat loss. However, basing your success on your weigh-ins does not offer an accurate measurement.
Stop Weighing Yourself Every Day
The problem with relying on your overall body weight to measure the success of fat loss is that your bodyweight is unreliable. Your weight can change each day, depending on the contents of your stomach, bladder, and bowels.
Your water weight can also fluctuate. Carbohydrates bind to liquid, forcing your body to retain more water weight. When you switch to a low-carb diet, you may experience significant weight loss in the first two weeks. However, most of this weight loss is a reduction in water weight and not due to fat loss.
While getting in shape, you may also increase or decrease your muscle mass. When you gain muscle through your workouts, the extra muscle weight may counter the weight of your fat loss, resulting in no weight loss. You may also lose muscle mass and retain the same body fat, resulting in weight loss with no fat loss.
These are the reasons why your bodyweight should not be your main measurement for tracking your progress. While weight loss does not always equate to fat loss, you can still track your bodyweight. You just need to ensure that you are using additional methods for judging your success.
Tips for Accurately Tracking Your Progress
The first tip for tracking your progress is to stop weighing yourself frequently. Instead of weighing yourself each day or week, you should use the scale once every two weeks. This also helps you make sure that you are not losing or gaining an abnormal amount of weight between weigh-ins.
Besides weighing yourself every two weeks, there are several other tasks to perform. After weighing yourself, use a fat caliper to measure your body fat.
You should also take measurements of your body parts. Measure your neck, arms, thighs, chest, and waist. If you are losing body fat, the waist measurements should decrease while the other measurements may remain roughly the same or increase from muscle gain.
These steps should be performed every two weeks. You will not notice drastic changes from day to day or week to week. As mentioned, daily measurements are also unreliable. When you monitor your weight and measure your body fat over a longer period, it is easier to gain a general idea of your progress.
Recommended Body Fat Levels for Men and Women
The idea that your health is mostly connected to your weight causes many people to forget about the importance of body fat measurements. You may not even know what the recommended body fat percentage is for men or women.
The ideal body fat percentage is a topic that is regularly debated within the fitness community. The general recommendation for men is to maintain between 13% and 20% body fat. Women are recommended to maintain between 20% and 30% body fat.
Your body also requires some fat. For men, 5% body fat is essential. For women, 10% to 13% minimum body fat is necessary to keep vital organs functioning. Athletes often try to achieve a body fat percentage somewhere between the minimal essential body fat and the recommended body fat.
How to Focus on Fat Loss and Not Weight Loss
Whether you want to get in better shape, look good in a swimsuit, or build more muscle, you likely want to lose body fat and do not need to focus as much on your weight loss. Regardless of your fitness goals, you should include a combination of cardio and strength training in your fitness routine.
Cardiovascular exercises, including swimming, cycling, and running, are useful for targeting fat loss. However, these exercises do not always help retain or build muscle. Without strength training, your cardio may result in unnecessary muscle loss. While your weight will decrease, so will your metabolism.
Muscle requires more energy than fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns throughout the day due to the stronger metabolism. You do not need to gain bulging muscles to improve your metabolism and burn fat. In fact, gaining more bulk requires specific training and dietary needs.
Instead of worrying about your weight loss, focus on including strength training and cardio in your regular routine. The strength training helps to build muscle or at least prevent muscle loss. The extra calories that you burn throughout the day will also aid fat loss and allow you to get more out of your cardio exercises.
Last Thoughts on Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss
Weight loss does not always include fat loss. You can lose weight by losing muscle and water. If you want to improve your health and get in better shape, you should focus less on your overall body weight and more on your body fat.
Use calipers to measure your body fat and limit your weigh-ins to once every two weeks. You should also measure your body parts to track your progress. Remember to include a combination of strength training and cardio exercise in your fitness routine. Develop a fitness plan that helps you build lean muscle mass and you should naturally start to burn more fat.