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What’s the Difference Between Losing FAT and Losing WEIGHT?

Surely losing fat and losing weight is the same thing, right? After all, when you’re trying to slim down, one way you track your progress is to keep an eye on the scales.

For years, weight has been synonymous how healthy and fit you are. The idea of lighter equals better has been thrown down our necks since we were youngsters, but this is not the case at all.

You can be light and incredibly unhealthy, unable to run a mile. Likewise, you can be “heavy,” yet have defined muscles, the endurance of a marathon runner and have the luxury of eating like a trooper!

Furthermore, a drop in weight is not an indication that you have lost fat, and when it comes to being a healthier you, fat is what you should be most concerned about.

It’s time to put away the shame step

OK, so why should you be more concerned with body fat over the number you see on the shame step?

Well, a healthy, lean body for men should have between 6 and 14% body fat if you’re under 30 years of age. Over 30 and you should ideally be aiming for 11 – 17%.

For women, it's slightly higher with a healthy body fat percentage clocking in at 13-18% for under 30's, 15-23% if you're over 30.

The thing is, you could realistically achieve these body fat goals and still be considered "overweight" on the scales. How? Muscle.

Building muscle will naturally make you appear "heavy" on the scales, yet your body fat percentage will naturally be lower too.

To be fair, it's a bit of a catch 22 really, because scale weight has such a huge mental impact on training and goal setting, which is why you ought to consider putting away the shame step for good and using other methods to track progress.

the benefits

Surely a drop in weight means a drop in fat too?

As we’ve already mentioned above, this is not the case.

Of course, if you have a very high body fat percentage, are obese and have lost multiple stone then, yes, some of that weight loss will be fat, but you will have also lost water and muscle mass.

Quite simply, scale weight is not a true representation of fat loss as it is reflects a loss in overall mass, and often, if you’ve just begun your fitness journey, much of that will actually be water due to the changes you’ve likely made to your diet and an increase in exercise.

For those of you looking to achieve that cut aesthetic, fat loss over weight loss is vital for a carved physique.

After all, you could spend hours on the treadmill or cross trainer busting out a killer cardio regime and lose your goal amount of weight, but you’ll also find you’ve lost your hard earned muscle mass too!

So, how do I lose fat then?

Quite simply a combination of cardio, strength training and a healthy, balanced diet will help you lose fat.

Fad diets that promise rapid results in 10 days do not have long term benefits and are not sustainable. A sensible, sustainable routine is the only way to achieve your goal.

If I don’t have the scales, how do I know if it’s working?

You don’t have the invest in body fat callipers or any fancy gadget to see the results, you just need your phone and a long mirror!

Yep, it’s time to get your selfie game on and take full photos of your self, front, back and side on, at regular intervals to keep track of your progress.

Once every 4 weeks would be plenty to see progress.

Are there any other methods?

You can also use your exercise regime to track progress. By keeping a diary of reps and weight you can see if you are becoming naturally stronger as your muscle mass increases.

Likewise, can you run for 5 minutes longer this week? Can you run faster? Every little improvement is an indication that you are well on the road to gaining the physique you deserve.

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