Serious about toning up? Then it’s time to forget about weight loss.

Serious about toning up? Then it’s time to forget about weight loss.

Weight Loss is a term we hear bandied about every single day, so much so that it seems to have become part and parcel of our everyday lives. Everywhere we turn we’re exposed to marketing of weight loss products, be it online, newspapers, on radio or on television. But what does the term actually mean and is it really as important as we think it is for building an effective coaching and fitness plan?

Fat Loss is a term you hear much less frequently than weight loss. Maybe because it’s not as marketable but in my opinion it’s even more relevant. So what’s the difference? Reducing your weight in most cases will mean you’re reducing both muscle mass and probably to a lesser extent, body fat, depending on your diet and the type of exercise you are doing. In reality what most people want to reduce, but maybe don’t realise it, is body fat.

The burn

The more lean muscle we have, the more fat we burn, and the leaner we look. This is why I always encourage people to have some form of resistance training in their training programs. If you only do Cardio training, you may reduce your overall weight but there’s not so much muscle gain. For people who have lost a lot of weight this can manifest itself in the form of saggy skin, as well as probably being physically not as strong as they could be. Resistance training, be it bodyweight or lifting weights, will give you more shape, you will look fitter, stronger and healthier.

I see this issue a lot with female clients in particular. They may be quite light but aren’t happy with their bodies because they feel they have more weight to lose. They want to "tone up". But that toned look we hear so much about is muscle tone, and again how do we gain muscle? We do resistance training! Unfortunately there’s still a misconception among girls that lifting weights will make them "bulky". This is not going to happen: the hormone required to gain size is Testosterone, women don't naturally produce enough of this particular hormone to gain size. And here's the good news: gaining lean muscle will turn your body into a fat burning machine. Weights are nothing to be afraid of, the benefits of lifting are endless.

Forget the weighing scales.

Here’s where we really need a mind-set change. Unfortunately most girls have been stepping on a weighing scales from quite a young age. Too many obsess about it and start panicking if there’s even a slight increase. It’s mentally and emotionally not a good way to live your life. The scales is not even the most reliable tool you’ve got to monitor your body composition. Your weight will fluctuate throughout the day. It can be affected by factors such as water loss/retention, muscle gain/retention etc.

I spoke about gaining muscle to burn fat. Because you’re gaining muscle you may not see the scales changing….a pound is a pound, be it muscle or fat. BUT a pound of muscle takes up a lot less space than a pound of fat so physically you look much leaner. And that’s when you start gaining definition and looking “toned”. This is why it’s important that we have other methods of monitoring body composition. At this stage monitoring your body fat percentage and tape measurements are much more relevant than what the scales are telling you. I’m also a big fan of progress pictures.

Looking at yourself every day in the mirror you may not see a difference, especially if you’re small to begin with. But if you do progress pics 6-8 weeks apart and put them side by side the difference can be astonishing . Your clothes will also be fitting much looser and people will most likely be commenting that you look different. I always say to clients “ Learn to trust your eyes and yourself, not the weighing scales”. Fat loss is the key to being the best version of yourself physically. But that can only happen when we see dump those scales. If you want to learn more about shifting your focus or for more information about fitness and nutrition programmes, give me call today on 0871256674.