Updated: Jun 10
In this blog post, we will explore the topic of effective weight loss and the crucial role that building muscle plays in achieving successful results. I'll share my personal story of realizing my own strength while being overweight and how embracing muscle gain became a groundbreaking factor in my fat loss journey.
Many of us have a desire to lose weight and improve our overall well-being. We often seek out various methods and approaches to shed those unwanted kilograms.
In my own experience, I had a profound moment when I discovered I was naturally quite strong despite carrying excess weight at that time. Nearly 30kgs in fact.
I was under a big misconception of thinking I needed to ignore my fascination in heavy weights and focus more on my cardio...bleh! It wasn't long after, before I started picking up niggles and injuries.
First my knees starting acting up, then my ankles, then my shoulder, the list went on. It was in this moment I understood my 30kg's of extra weight was working against my weak joints...
The ligaments and muscle fibres had not been strengthened and built up to withstand the heavy running, skipping and box jumps I was doing. This is where the realisation of strength training opened a whole new world of possibilities for me.
This blog post aims to emphasize the significance of building muscle in successful weight loss. Through my personal journey, I hope to encourage others to recognize the transformative power of muscle gain and understand its role in shedding unwanted fat. So, let's dive into this exciting exploration of effective weight loss through the lens of building muscle.
Understanding the Relationship Between Muscle and Weight Loss.
Okay, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of weight loss. You've probably heard the saying, "calories in vs. calories out." Well, it holds some truth.
When it comes to losing weight, the basic idea is that you need to burn more calories than you consume. So, creating a calorie deficit while maintaing a good protein intake is important. But there's more to the story.
Here's where muscle comes in like a superhero. It turns out that muscle actually increases your metabolism. You know that whole idea of "fast" vs. "slow" metabolism? Well, it's not all about genetics. By building muscle, you can give your metabolism a serious boost and put that myth to rest. Muscles require more energy to maintain than fat. So, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest. So doing a good set of weight training in the morning, by dinner I know my muscles are still burning those calories. How cool is that?
Now, for the sweetener: muscle actually burns calories while you're chilling on the couch or reading a book. Believe it or not, it's true! The number of calories your body burns at rest, is much higher with weight training than when only doing cardio. And guess what? The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day. Talk about a win-win situation!
For the added bonus: building muscle sculpts and defines your body, whilst tightening and firming the skin too. While losing weight alone might make you look slimmer, adding muscle at the same time can take your transformation to the next level. It is the wrong idea of, "let me lose my fat, then I'll work on toning..." Why If you could do it all at once. In fact, it is alot easier when incorporating weight training as our muscles naturally tone and firm the skin around our muscles as we build and repair them.
So, remember, when it comes to weight loss, it's not just about counting calories. Building muscle is like having a secret weapon in your arsenal. It supercharges your metabolism, burns calories around the clock, and sculpts your body at the same time. So, why not embrace the power of muscle and take your weight loss journey to a whole new level?
Debunking Common Myths about Muscle Building and Weight Loss
Let's set the record straight and debunk some common myths surrounding muscle building and weight loss. There's a lot of misinformation out there, so it's time to separate fact from fiction.
Myth 1: "Building muscle will make me bulky!"
Ladies this myth buster is for you, this is FALSE! Building muscle won't turn you into a buff body builder overnight. In fact, it's quite difficult to get your muscles to protrude and bulge much like the stage competitors we see on TV.
Those competitors train for months eating a very specific high protein and carb diet, and working through a very strict weight training regime. This focus is sometimes not even enough and can still be hard to build that amount of muscle, this may require some competitors to have to resort to other methods of supplements to assist the process.
Women generally and naturally don't have enough testosterone to develop large, bulky muscles like men. Instead, building muscle will give you a toned, defined, and more athletic look. So, don't be afraid to grab those weights and start lifting!
Myth 2: "Cardio is the best way to lose weight."
Cardio is great for burning calories and improving cardiovascular health, but it's not the only answer, especially when dealing with very overweight people. Building muscle is equally If not more important for weight loss. Remember, muscle is active tissue that burns calories, even at rest. By incorporating strength training into your routine, you'll boost your metabolism and enhance your fat-burning potential. So, don't neglect those weights and resistance exercises!
Myth 3: "Spot reduction can help me lose fat in specific areas."
Sorry but spot reduction is a myth. You can't specifically target fat loss in one area of your body by doing endless crunches or thigh exercises. When you lose fat, your body decides which fat stores to tap into. However, building muscle in specific areas can help improve muscle tone and shape, giving the illusion of a more defined appearance. So, focus on overall fat loss and build muscle for a an all over transformation.
Myth 4: "I need to eat very little to lose weight."
This is the most dangerous and counter-productive approach. Extreme calorie restriction may seem tempting for quick results, but it's not sustainable or healthy in the long run. Why? Even though your scale might look better for a couple of weeks, eventually your workouts will decline and your energy reserves will plunge due to your body reaching for fuel from your muscles for energy due to you not providing enough carbohydrates for energy through your diet.
When you do eventually start eating more calories, your body will immediataly store those reserves as fat, this is due to your body working under survival mode by preparing and storing those reserves for when you decide to starve yourself again... Your body needs proper nutrition to fuel your workouts and support muscle growth.
Severely restricting calories will slow down your metabolism and only lead to muscle loss, so when you end up seeing the scale drop, this could in fact just be muscle loss. Instead, aim for a moderate calorie deficit and focus on consuming high nutrient foods and lean protein. This way, you'll have the energy to power through workouts and support your body's needs.
Myth 5: "Weight loss is all about willpower and discipline."
Yes, Weight loss is a complicated process involving various factors, including genetics, hormones, and lifestyle. It's not just about willpower alone. It's important to approach losing weight with a balanced, positive mindset and create realistic and sustainable lifestyle changes.
The process requires consistency, patience, and a holistic approach that includes exercise, nutrition, rest, and mindfulness.
So, be kind to yourself and remember that progress takes time. Your day will come, and you will realise that every choice or step forward was worth it!
By busting these myths, we can better understand the realities of muscle building and weight loss. It's not about extremes or quick fixes but rather taking on a realistic and health conscious approach.
So, let's embrace the truth, challenge those misconceptions, and work towards a healthier, stronger and happier you.
The Optimal Approach: Combining Strength Training and Cardio
When it comes to achieving your fitness goals, combining strength training and cardio can be a winning strategy. Let's explore the details and why this optimal approach can take your workouts to the next level.
Strength training involves exercises that target your muscle groups, using resistance to build strength and build muscle mass. It mostly includes activities like weightlifting, bodyweight exercises or calisthenics, or using resistance bands or machines. Here's a recap on why strength training is so beneficial:
More muscle means being stronger, stronger means improved functionality, improved balance, more stable joints and less prone to injuries.
More muscle means faster metabolism. Which means calories burnt even at rest.
More Muscle means more fat loss, as your muscle increases your bodies ability in burning fat for energy increases.
Do you want to know more about cardio? Cardio includes activities that elevate your heart rate and improve cardiovascular fitness. It can involve running, skipping, rowing, swimming, biking, plyometrics or any activity that gets your heart pumping. Here's why cardio is important:
Cardio means burning calories too. The more intense the workout the more calories you burn.
Cardiovascular Health: Regular cardio workouts strengthen your heart, improve blood circulation, and increase your overall fitness. It lowers the risk of heart disease, improves lung capacity, and improves your mobililty.
Mood Booster: Cardio tends to release endorphins, those feel-good hormones that can elevate your mood. It's a great way to relieve tension, let off steam, and boost your overall energy levels.
The Power of Combining Strength Training and Cardio:
By combining strength training and cardio, you get the best of both worlds. Remember though to take cardio slowly.
If your journey begins with being overweight, you need to allow your body, ligaments and muscle support around your joints to adapt gradually and strengthen as you slowly progress. For example;
Scaling Body Weight Movements
All body weight movements require moving ones own "body weight" throughout an exercise.
If overweight, scaling movements here will be necessary in the beginning of your exercise journey to build strength and to avoid over-loading the joints excessively.
Substituting heavy running for a 2-3 km speed/brisk walk, or an on road bike ride or even a 30 minute swim can gradually build up ones cardiovascular engine.
Replacing jumping/explosive movements such as box jumps and jump rope with less extreme movements such as body weight squats or plyo box step-ups and lunges can assist in progressing to more advanced exercises.
Substituting strict push-ups with lady push-ups, box push-ups or even wall push-ups can keep your focus to the same stimulus while building strength.
Performing ring rows using gymnastic rings, seated barbell pull-ups or even bent over-barbell rows can be utilised in building bicep, latissimus and middle upper back strength. These scaled movements can be a great way to mimic your conventional pull-ups.
Squatting-to-targets can be a great substitute to full body weight air squats in building glute and quad strength. Squatting using a low step, a box or even a chair can be explored while increasing range of motion but not over-straining the knees.
Before you know it you will be smashing all kinds of cardio workouts. Incorporating a mix of strength training and cardio can take your workouts to the next level. Embrace the variety, challenge your body in different ways, and enjoy the benefits of this optimal approach. Your body will thank you for it!
I hope this blog gave all our readers comfort in knowing there is place for people of all shapes and sizes in the workout-world.
You do not have to be intimidated about your weight and finding your place in your gym facility. You can embrace knowing that you can enjoy incorporating weight and resistance training while losing fat at the same time.
You can also be assured that you do not need to do only cardio to start burning calories or lose fat.
And lastly I hope you are encouraged to know that eventually one day, you will be able to incorporate both weight/resistance training as well as cardio or high intensity movements into your exercise routine, its just a matter of allowing your body to adjust and gradually get stronger while working with your coach or trainer in establishing a progressive program where you can gradually advance.
Every previously overweight person started somewhere, and every story and journey is unique! How will your story start?