The weight displayed on your scale alone won’t tell you whether your body fat is decreasing. Aim for a negative energy balance to reduce body fat.
How to Reduce Weight
If you ingest more calories than you burn, you’ll end up putting on weight. In order to reduce your body weight, you have to either burn additional calories with exercise OR save calories in your meals each day. Rule of thumb: Burn 500 additional calories, or save them when eating.
Weight vs. Body Fat
For many of us, the number on the scale is an important indicator for weight loss. However, your weight and your body fat are two different things. Muscle tissue is more dense than fat, therefore the overall size of the person may not change while extra muscle is added. Because of this, those who workout regularly might even weigh more than people who don’t. That’s why you should focus on your body fat percentage. For men, the optimum body fat is between 10 and 20%, for women it’s between 20 and 30%. The difference of approx. 10% between men and women is due to evolutionary needs.
Working Out to Lose Weight
Weight loss is all about reducing body fat – we need to decrease (excess) fat deposits to shed pounds. The more intense your workouts, the more calories you burn. However, you don’t only lose weight while training. A higher muscle content leads to more burned calories at the end of the day. Why, you might wonder? Because your daily basal metabolic rate increases with a higher muscle mass.
You need to burn 7000 calories to lose 1 kilogram of fat.
Muscles Weigh More Than Fat
Continuous training improves your body composition and strengthens your muscles. The higher density makes your muscles up to 12 percent heavier than fat. That’s the reason why your weight might increase despite the fact that you need to tighten your belt! Strength training changes the composition of your body – it reduces body fat while helping muscles grow.
Oh, Those Muffin Tops
Even the strongest abs often hide behind a layer of belly fat which is actually there to protect the underlying organs. Targeted abdominal training for a flat belly will only yield results if combined with workouts for your large muscle groups, like your legs. As you increase the total burned calories and fat (hello, muffin tops!), your belly fat will melt away easier too. By the way, since your abs are mainly composed of so-called phasic muscles, they quickly lose strength. Regular ab workouts help prevent that!
6 Practical Tips to Burn More Fat
- Enjoy a cup of coffee
- The caffeine contained in coffee not only keeps you awake and has stimulating effects pre-workout, it also boosts fat burning. Do without milk & sugar, though!
- Opt for Vitamin C bombs.
- Oranges, bell peppers, etc. provide lots of fiber while increasing fat burning.
- The early runner gets the worm.
- A short run (approx. 30 minutes) on an empty stomach is worth its while. An easy, early morning jog has positive effects on your fat metabolism.
- Spice it up
- Spices like chili and ginger set your metabolism on fire. This means hot meals help you burn more calories.
- Stay hydrated
- Make sure you drink at least two liters per day. An increased liquid intake raises your energy turnover by up to 100 calories, plus you’ll feel less hungry.
- Increased intensity
- Challenge your body! Intensive training intervals with short breaks make for a fun, varied workout while helping you burn more calories and increasing that afterburn effect we talked about last week.