Build Muscle and Lose Fat
Measuring Creative Destruction
Build muscle and lose fat. What?
I said, in order to burn fat, you must build muscle. I know, it does not seem to make sense, but sometimes you have to have creative destruction – you have to build to burn.
Muscle is an essential component for burning fat and ultimately losing weight. We talked about the need to measure the right thing. This simply means that many people believe that the following equality is generally true: weight loss = fat loss.
However, this relationship is missing a key component.
Weight Loss = Fat Loss + Muscle Loss
That's right. When we are losing weight, unless we consciously attempt to build muscle and burn fat, we will lose fat and muscle. And this is not what we want for several reasons.
First, for many people, having muscle tone gives them the shape they are looking for. Generally speaking, for both men and women, you don't want to be a skeleton, but rather have an hour glass shape. For men, you want broad shoulders and chest and back and a thin waist (this is the classic v-taper shape), rounded out by a muscular set of legs. For most women, while you may not want the same proportions of a man, you do want a a waist that is smaller (if even slightly so) than your chest and hips. Neither men nor women want to have the shape of a plank where your chest, waist and hips/legs are all the same measurement.
Second, the more muscle you lose, the slower your metabolism burns. Your muscles fuel your internal mechanism to burn fat – your metabolism. fuel and trigger the body's power to burn fat. What happens when we focus solely on weight loss, we lose muscle that we need to continue lose fat efficiently.
Exacerbating the problem is that when we try to lose weight, we tend to cut our calories too much. This generally means that we do not take in enough food to build muscle or maintain the muscle we have. This simply means that there will be less muscle available to continue to fuel our metabolism.
Build Muscle Fitness
So, what do we do? How to we meet our goals to look and feel better? Four words: Build Muscle, Lose Fat. It does not matter how you say it, and you will see it said many different ways:
Each one of those phrases above has one thing in common: "build muscle". Building muscle and maintaining the muscle you already have is essential if you want to burn fat and ultimately lose weight.
Build Muscle and Burn Fat: Measure the Right Things
Since we all agree that the ultimate goal is to lose fat, build muscle, lose weight, in roughly that order, we need to measure what matters the most – inches (or centimeters, as the case may be). That's right, grab a tape measure and measure yourself. Measure your waist, your hips, your neck– measure anything that is important to you.
The added benefits of using the tape measure it that you can also calculate your body fat percentage (which, by the way, is the ultimate goal when you want to build muscle and lose fat) and your Waist to Hip Ratio. Both of these measures are much better at assessing your overall fitness level than weight alone.
Also, by focusing on SMART fitness goal setting and using measures such as inches and centimeters, body fat percentage and waist to hip ratio, we are less likely to be disappointed and discouraged by the numbers on the scale.
The moral of the story is that when someone says they want to lose weight, they generally mean that they want to lose fat. They want to lose fat to look and feel better. So, the best way to do that is use a program that does not encourage you to only lose weight, but to build muscle and burn fat in order to look and feel better.