Losing Body Fat Takes Time
People on ridiculous diets are all the same and I'm am sick to death of the lot of them. 11 months of the year are spent eating like pigs, and then 4 weeks before going on their summer holidays to the south of France they frantically search for the diet which promises them the most fat loss and the miracle that they will get into their brand new Marks and Spencer bikini's without their arses looking like the Hoover dam. Let's face the truth for once, this ain't gonna happen.
Before I continue I would like to make it clear that I am not referring to people who genuinely have a clinical condition that makes losing body fat a living nightmare. To these people I will promise to do my very best to help by inviting all to post questions on the notice board so that I can offer advice them on an individual basis.
When will people learn ? Losing body fat and looking good is not about going on a diet. It's about eating a healthy balanced nutritional programme, year in, year out, whilst undertaking a sensible and correctly formulated exercise programme. But be warned. Looking good does not mean looking like the people in the magazines. These computer enhanced images are a complete joke. Models who don't eat, take diuretics and laxatives, snort cocaine, and take an endless array of prescribed fat blockers and fat burners are not my idea of being healthy .
So, why do so many people crave it so badly ? Don't get me wrong, this look can be achieved over a long period of time if you have the motivation, time and money to pursue it. As ever though, the problem is that everyone wants to look this good without willing to undertake the long hard slog needed to achieve it. Instead they always opt for the miracle diet way out, the miracle way out that rarely does, and more importantly, rarely can work.
But why is this ? To understand why this is we must first take a brief and basic look at how the body works. Metabolism And Metabolic Rate: Whilst many people rely on the bathroom scales to determine whether their weight is too high, too low or just right, the scales do not distinguish between lean tissue and fat tissue. Similarly, many people used to over simplify body mass index (bmi). This method, which is hardly used now, divided the client's body weight in kilos by their height squared, whilst taking no account of the person's fat to lean body mass ratio. The relative percentages of lean body mass and body fat in total body weight is the term that we use to describe body composition. Fat weighs less than muscle tissue so scale weight can be deceptive.
Fat loss, rather than weight loss, is therefore a much better gauge of health and fitness, as well as making you look better. Muscles, bones, connective tissue, organs, nerves and skin comprise lean body mass (lbm). Basically, lean body mass is everything but the fat tissue of the body. Metabolism is defined as the body's system of generating energy to maintain basic body functioning. The basal metabolic rate (bmr) is the number of calories you need daily to generate that energy. However, activity-based metabolic rate takes into account the level of activity that each individual undertakes each day and adds this to the basal metabolic rate calculation, giving the total estimated amount of calories needed per day.
Effects On Metabolism And Metabolic Rate:
Muscles are active tissue which require constant calories to produce energy, even when at rest. Fat, on the other hand, does not. In fact, in the entire body, muscles are the main users of energy, as muscles need energy to maintain themselves every hour. The conclusion to this is simple, the more muscle a person has (lean body mass), the greater their basal metabolic rate will be.
This is why a big muscular person can eat vast amounts without putting on weight, whereas someone with a high percentage of body fat and a low percentage of muscle finds it hard even to maintain their existing bodyweight eating very little. This is the reason why building more lean muscle tissue creates more calorie-burning lean body mass, which in turn increases your metabolism. Alcohol, on the other hand, lowers your body's basal metabolic rate over a 24 hour period, it returns to normal only when the alcohol has cleared from the body.
Many people mistakenly believe that they can get rid of a hangover by going for a run. Alcohol cannot be used as an energy source during exercise no matter how intense the exercise is, as alcohol can only be broken down by special enzymes in the liver, which happens at a constant rate and cannot be speeded up. The opposite is true of carbohydrates, which in conjunction with fat burning exercise performed at 60% of the heart rate maximum, increase the metabolism over a 24 hour period. The increase in metabolic rate comes from the fact that fat has to burn in the fire of carbohydrate to be able to be used as a form of energy. This means the body has to work harder to burn fat, because when burning fat you have to use two sources of energy instead of just one, which is the case when you use carbohydrate or protein as energy sources.
The moment that you tell any woman that the best way of losing body fat is to increase their percentage of muscles they all say the same thing with a look of total horror on their faces, "Ohh, no chance, I don't want to end up looking like those women bodybuilders who all look like men!". This is the biggest misconception that women have with regard to weight training. One of the most important hormones for muscle growth and strength development is testosterone. Although there are women who have higher levels, most women only have one tenth of the androgens ( male sex hormones ) that men have. On top of this, women also have much higher quantities of oestrogen ( female sex hormone ) than men, which interferes with muscle growth by increasing body fat. The conclusion to this is very simple. Unless you take copious amounts of testosterone, you will never, ever, end up looking like these half man, half woman bodybuilders and that's a fact.
So Why Don't These Diets Work For Most People?
Low carbohydrate diets (and low calorie diets) ultimately do not work because on these diets, carbohydrates, the so-called "sin foods", are strictly limited, meaning that the body must obtain glucose by converting the amino acid Alanine into glucose through the Glucose-Alanine chain. Even if you are eating lots of protein you will still get some lowering of the amount of your muscles. What happens is this, at any given time a 70 kg body holds on average 1600 kcal of glycogen, which is enough to last one day when no further carbohydrates are consumed.
Each gram of carbohydrate in the body is bonded to 2.7 grams of water, giving a combined total of water and carbohydrate weight of 3.7 grams per gram of carbohydrate stored. The limited carbohydrates that are consumed are used for energy, with the 1600 kcal already in the body making up the calorie difference until they dwindle away. Therefore, as a direct result, all the initial weight loss comes directly from water and carbohydrate, not fat. As the carbohydrates used up are not replaced, the weight loss is extremely rapid. As the low carbohydrate diet continues the body must also continue to obtain more and more Alanine, either from the protein you eat or from the muscles in the body, in order to convert the Alanine into glucose for the production of energy.
The main problem is that as the percentage of muscles steadily decreases over time, the body's metabolic rate steadily decreases with it. As this happens you have to lower the amount you eat to be able to continue to sustain the weight loss, until you reach a make or break point. You cannot deny the fact of the matter that if you restrict calories you will lose weight, of that there can be no doubt. But the problem lies in that fact that we are all human and we are all have limited amounts of will power, some have more than others. The problem with any diet that overly restricts calories or carbohydrates is that the torrent of cravings that you will get are very, very hard to ignore for long periods of time. In the end, they will wear you down.
So the important thing is how you come off one of these diets. If you are able to keep these cravings under control, slowly start to re-increase your metabolic rate through CV training and increasing your percentage of muscles via weight training, then you will be able to limit the amount of weight you put back on. You will always put some body fat back on simply because you are eating more calories than when you were on the diet, and because as a direct result of the diet you will have a lower metabolic rate for all the reasons discussed above. Herein lies the problem. As people are only human with varying degrees of will power, many will be unable to control these cravings and also unable to control the amount they eat, and as a result the weight piles back on, with people often ending up weighing more than before they went on the diet.