Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Scales: The Love Hate Relationship

Do we really need to listen to what the scales are telling us? Growing up you always see your mum weighing herself, you grow up doing the same, in magazines you always see pictures of celebrities who have lost weight with a caption saying how much they now weigh, there are now also many television programmes focused on weight loss and diets. We  ignore the fact that as we grow and age our body composition changes, and that we all have different body shapes, yet we still worry about what those numbers say!

There is a big difference between weight loss and fat fat loss. With weight loss you won't only be losing fat, you will be losing muscle which could result in you looking all gaunt and boney (obviously it all depends how much fat you have to lose in the first place). With fat loss you can focus on losing fat while maintaining and even building muscle, giving you a healthier looking body.

You often hear that muscles weights more than fat, um does a ton of feather weigh more than a ton of concrete? No! Muscle does not weigh more than fat. The misunderstanding often comes in is that muscle is much more dense than fat, by volume, it seems to weigh more. A pound of muscle occupies less space than a pound of fat (see bellow image). Also by having a larger muscle mass you will burn more calories as your resting metabolic rate is also affected by the amount of muscle mass in your body. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate and therefore the larger your daily calorie requirement – even if you’re not exercising! This is because unlike fat tissue, muscle is metabolically active. No ladies, by lifting weight your not going to end up looking like this:

Yes cardio will help you burn energy, and if done right you will end up losing weight, but add some weights in and you will start to see your body shape change. Before I started weight training I was doing cardio for at least 45 minutes 3-4 times a week for a year, I lost no weight, no inches, my clothes didn't fit any better........noting, no results what so ever. Currently I am doing 4-5 gym sessions a week for around 50-60 minutes of which at least 40 minutes is weights, then I will finish with some cardio to completely knacker myself. Since I have been weight training I feel better, my clothes fit better and I have lost inches. Result! I am still a working progress, I'm not perfect, I can't lift a huge amount of weight but I am happy. And I think feeling happy in your own body is much more important than what the scales say. Although I do still weigh myself once a month just to keep myself in check! Some habits are hard to break.

One final picture just to show you the difference between 5lbs of muscle and 5lbs of fat! Shocking stuff. Get lifting people :)

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