How To Lose Weight & Keep It Off
Welcome to Part 2 of our How to Lose Weight & Keep It Off Series (if you haven’t read part 1 yet, you can find it here).
In part 1 we discussed the role of nutrition in your weight loss journey. Now, let’s dig into the training aspect.
Training during the weight loss phase is one of the most important factors to consider if your goal is to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.
Remember, during a period of weight loss you lose both fat, AND lean body mass - this includes muscle tissue, organ tissue, bone tissue and technically everything else except fat.
Why you SHOULD Train During Weight LossCarefully managing your weight loss period using both nutrition and training is essential for minimizing lean body mass losses.
Especially training. This is what actually gives the body a reason to retain its muscle mass.
Think of it this way - when you use muscles, you’re directly telling the body “we’re going to need these!”.
This in turn will favor muscle protein synthesis and when paired with good nutrition, it will also minimize muscle protein breakdown.
The end result? A healthier period of weight loss, during which you have increased mood and energy for all your physical and mental activities.
Now let’s delve into the MOST IMPORTANT considerations when approaching training – the type of training.
What type of training should you choose?Generally, when it comes to training for fat loss, many people defer to extensive, low-intensity cardio sessions.
And though that type of exercise helps you burn more energy and can make it easier to create a caloric deficit, it is not optimal for the retention of lean body mass.
Resistance training, on the other hand is one of the BEST tools you can use for that purpose. You can still keep your cardio sessions, but try to do them after resistance training (or on your active recovery days).
The goal with resistance training would be to train each muscle group once every 72-96 hours.
Now let us look at the separate aspects of your workout like intensity, frequency and volume.
Training IntensityDuring a period of weight loss, you subject yourself to a deficit of energy, meaning that you are below your body’s maintenance needs.
This lesser amount of energy implies that you might have suboptimal recovery after a workout.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train; but rather, you should manage your training intensity.
Training at moderately high intensity can help you avoid suboptimal recovery and can be realized in a couple of ways:
1. Use moderately heavy weights
2. Avoid training to failure
3. Avoid overexertion
In doing all of this, you will ensure that there is a good stimulus, but also ample energy left to recover from your session.
When you workout, you basically break down muscle proteins and then re-build them to improve their performance and appearance.
Recovery isn’t instant, so you need to allot a sufficient recovery period before training a given muscle group again.
This should generally be around 48-96 hours, which allows for optimal recovery and a progressive increase in performance.
Training VolumeBesides training intensity and frequency, you might want to consider the number of sets and repetitions that you’ll be doing for each muscle group.
For the average person, doing 5+ challenging working sets per muscle group is the best approach (assuming your schedule exercises each muscle group twice a week).
The widely accepted training volume for effective performance and results is 10-20 working sets, per muscle group, per week.
Of course, if you are at the beginner or intermediate level, you may want to start in the lower range of that spectrum and work your way up every 6 weeks.
The more you advance, the more you increase sets, reps, and weight.
When To Train?So, you have a workout plan in place but what is actually the best time to train when the goal is losing fat?
Will fasted training in the morning maybe produce more results?
At equated caloric deficits, training timing won’t make a big impact on total amount of fat lost, HOWEVER…
The more energy you have available before a workout, the better you will perform and thus, the better the end result will be.
Your body runs a biological cycle that is intricately connected with the Day & Night cycle of the Earth.
As light goes through your eyes, it gives a signal to the brain, which in turn releases serotonin.
Serotonin makes you feel awake, alert & energized.
By afternoon, you would already be a couple of meals into your day (plenty of energy), and will have a solid amount of serotonin produced.
So, the period between 2pm and 5 pm is when most people feel the most alert and active. This is deductively the ‘most optimal’ time to schedule your training."
Using resistance training as a tool to optimize your fat loss process, is one of the best practices for any individual looking to get fit.
Your workouts should consist of a good number of challenging resistance sets, with cardio based exercises making up the balance of your schedule.
Ultimately, your best bet would be to do these workouts in the afternoon, but this can be adjusted to your schedule.
Combining an adequate approach to training & nutrition will allow you to create sustainable results. Using these simple tweaks will give you the look and feel you want now….and better health in your older years.
DISCLAIMER: This article is meant to serve as a general guideline and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult your physician or a medical professional before starting a new fitness or exercise routine.