A lot of the conventional wisdom about weight loss is a little misguided.
You don’t need to do a ton of cardio or give up eating carbs at night.
In fact, you don’t even need to set foot on the treadmill, and eating carbs with dinner can actually help speed up your results.
It’s not that the conventional wisdom is “wrong” per se; it’s just that most of it is based on a purely WEIGHT loss paradigm.
And when you lose weight without concern for whether it comes from muscle or fat, you can often wind up looking exactly the same, just a little bit smaller.
In almost all cases, focusing on FAT loss is best, not just weight loss.
And this is a crucial distinction to make.
Because it will inform every aspect of your plan, from how you train and eat to what metrics you keep track of.
If you follow a standard weight loss-focused plan, about 70% of the weight you lose will come from fat, with the remaining 30% coming from muscle.
A crash diet involves sacrificing a significant percentage of muscle in exchange for quicker scale weight loss. This is a deal with the devil and, in almost all cases, an awful idea.
Your goal should always be to lose almost exclusively fat while sparing as much muscle as possible.
Unfortunately, you’ll always lose a little bit, regardless of how well-designed your plan may be. Still, you can reduce it to just a fraction of what it would be if you follow the right type of plan.
And when it comes to health, longevity, and just plain looking good with your clothes off, keeping your muscle is the whole game.
Because muscle, and by extension, strength, is the most valuable commodity you have when it comes to promoting optimal levels of health, energy, and performance.
And the more you can maintain it while losing fat, the more food you’ll be able to eat when you get down to your ideal weight without rebounding back up.
This is because muscle is 3 X more metabolically “expensive” than fat.
Maintaining a pound of fat takes your body 2 calories per day.
Whereas it takes 6 calories per day to keep a pound of muscle.
Maintaining muscle will keep your metabolism running higher than Snoop Dogg on a 747.
From a purely aesthetic standpoint, having a toned and defined body requires getting to a reasonable level of body fat while still having an appreciable amount of muscle mass.
Contrast Christian Bale in The Machinist vs. American Psycho.
For his role in The Machinist, he lost both fat and muscle. This is the pure weight loss paradigm, albeit taken to an extreme.
Whereas in American Psycho, he still lost a lot of body fat, but this time, he did it in a way that kept the muscle.
And he looks lethal.
It’s also not unreasonable to assume that he also had a higher body fat percentage in The Machinist due to his almost complete lack of muscle.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be lean and defined instead of skinny and weak.
Finally, maintaining muscle is essential for healthy aging and longevity.
Weak muscles rob us of our independence, put us at risk for falls, and force us to rely on our loved ones to help us do the most basic tasks.
You lose between 3 and 8% of your muscle each decade past the age of thirty.
And if you do the wrong weight loss plan, you could increase that rate of muscle loss exponentially.
But if you can lose fat and keep muscle, then it’s all upside.
You’ll look better, feel better and will most likely live longer too.
You can learn more about the best way to train for fat loss here.
And if you want to know more about the dietary side of things: Andy over at rippedbody.com has some of the best resources on the web.
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