No, I’m not about to go all “just love yourself the way you already are and you’ll magically transform through the power of positive vibes” like some kind of facebook hippy or something. You should know me better than that by now!
But here’s the deal.
When you see people with an impressive, lean and athletic looking figure or physique such as you may aspire to yourself… YES they do have a low percentage of body fat, but what they also have is more lean mass. That means more muscle. Not just a higher percentage of lean mass, but more lean mass over all.
As a side note this is why BMI classifications don’t really apply to athletes. They’re likely to be heavier because of all that muscle they’re packing on. Even if they’re not BIG they have muscle density, and that equals mass even if it doesn’t necessary equal size.
So for many people especially females who are not really “proper overweight” but not seeing progress towards the lean body condition they are working so hard for… YES you might feel that you need to lose some body fat… but the best way to do that is by giving your body the incentive and the means to facilitate an increase in lean mass.
Now we’re talking about “an increase in lean mass” and not “a bulk” where we gain weight including some fat gain.
We live in a fat-phobic society so there is definitely a tendency for people to ONLY focus on wanting to drop fat, and usually they are encouraged to do so through more and more restrictive means and greater and greater energy deficit.
As you may have noticed though, it just doesn’t seem to work that way.
For people who are not “proper overweight” and are active and training regularly… the difference between the condition you’re in now and the condition you’d like to be in quite likely has less to do with the amount of fat you are carrying and more to do with the amount of lean mass you are NOT carrying.
Start thinking and behaving more like someone trying to train for maximum lean mass without weight gain… the fat will take care of itself as the body has the incentive and the resources to prioritise creation and maintenance of dense, hard muscle.
People who DO have a more significant amount of weight to lose? Pick a suitable weight range for a person of your height in athletic condition, and train and fuel towards that.
Restricting to lower and lower calorie intake while focusing on burning more and more calories at exercise doesn’t work. You know it doesn’t work. It’s what everyone who isn’t getting anywhere is doing. You know it is.
Your body is stubborn. When you try to FORCE it to burn fat through energy deficit it will resist and fight back. It has to, because it thinks the energy within those fat stores is the only thing keeping it alive since you aint giving it any more. You aint giving it enough, anyway.
I’ve been talking about this a lot recently. When you restrict energy intake not only are you depriving the body of what it requires to recover from training and to adapt with the creation of your goal physique, figure or condition… you actually force it to prioritise the conservation of energy within fat stores. The very opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
When properly fueled and effectively trained, your body will put more and more of those resources into the muscles where you want them, and will see body fat as an obsolete reserve that it does not require any more.
Bottom line: train productively for strength, fitness and function, not just to burn calories. Fuel up for performance, recovery and maintenance of lean mass at the expense of body fat.
Doesn’t it make better sense and sound like a lot more fun than restrictive slash and burn approaches? It sure as hell works a lot better. You’ll see.