|"Muscle is your body's most potent tool for burning fat."
Q: I am 25-years-old and have been dieting off and on for years. I go up and down on my weight loss. I try to do weights and cardio workouts 3 times a week but it is difficult with work and school to keep consistent with my workout schedule so then I give up. I am tired of being overweight and would appreciate any suggestions to help me get back on track.
-M, Saratoga- Coto De Caza, CA
A: First off there are three important rules to incorporate in exercise and weight loss to have optimum results. Fuel the body with a nutritionally dense diet, build muscle with weight training and burn fat with cardio exercise.
I would not recommend losing more than 1 pound per week for healthily weight loss. The reason for this has to do with the issues which quick and drastic weight loss can have on your body's metabolism and muscle mass. When you lose a lot of weight quickly, you really need to strictly monitor where this weight is coming from. Is it water weight, body fat or muscle mass? The majority of the time, it unfortunately comes from lean muscle mass and this is exactly what will cause serious issues with your metabolism.
Muscle is your body's most potent and active tissue for burning calories and body fat. It’s basically your body's "furnace" which you want to always keep burning hot. When someone loses a lot of weight, which usually comes from crash dieting or some other unhealthy way of dropping the weight, the body's lean muscle mass is cannibalized and you lose some of your important tissue for keeping a lean body.
The worst thing is when the person finally decides to get off the diet and start eating again. Their calories go back up, but since their BMR (basal metabolic rate) is lowered and they have lost muscle mass, the end result is they pack on the body fat very quickly! Ever heard of the term "yo-yo" dieting. This is the reason why tons of people have issues and hard times with their weight loss plans.
My advice is to focus on creating a 500 calorie deficit per day which equates out to an overall 3,500 calories per week (1 pound of body fat). Create this overall 500 calorie deficit through a 250 calorie drop in your diet and another 250 burned with an exercise routine. This is the healthiest way to lose body fat while keeping your muscle mass and having your body run at an optimal level. It will also provide you with a much better plan to permanently keep the weight off forever!
For your diet, focus on getting enough protein throughout the day by choosing lean items like chicken breast, egg whites, turkey breast and fish. Also, make sure to eliminate all empty calories like soda, high sugar fruit juices, candy and fast food. Try and eat several small and nutritious meals (5 to 6) throughout the day. By cleaning up your diet, you should see a vast improvement in your body.
It’s also extremely important to keep a diet journal of your nutritional intake. This way you will be able to track where all your calories are coming from and really monitor your intake. Try these suggestions and you should see results and be motivated to stick with the plan and not give up!
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