A. NO. Fat is fat and muscle is muscle they are two different things completely. You cannot turn one into the
other. It you train well you can decrease the amount of fat you carry and increase lean muscle tissue that will ultimately make you look leaner and increase your resting metabolism.
Q. DOES MUSCLE WEIGH MORE THAT FAT?
A. NO - a pound weights a pound whether it is muscle or fat. BUT a pound of fat takes up more room than a pound of muscle (see pic).
Q. DOES SLOW STEADY STATE CARDIO (EG. JOGGING) BURN THE MOST FAT?
A. This is TRUE, you will use more fat for energy doing this type of workout BUT if you are trying to lose weight you need to focus on CALORIES burnt during AND after your workout. HIIT or Interval training will burn more calories during the workout and keep your metabolism boosted after your workout compared to steady state cardio. eg. 40 minutes of steady jogging will burn approx. 400 calories while 30 minutes of interval training will burn approx. 600 calories.
Q. I'M TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT. CAN RESTRICTING MY CALORIES MESS WITH MY METABOLISM?
A. YES. If we do not consume enough calories (nutritionists estimate this could be as little as restricting our diet by 30%) our body goes into starvation mode. At this point we are no longer burning just fat tissue but also lean muscle tissue (as much at 70%). This is because the body will try to protect fat stores, as it is the greatest source of stored energy. In starvation mode, what does our body want less of? Lean muscle tissue. Why? Because our lean muscle tissue burns three times more calories at rest than fat does. If we have less lean muscle tissue on our body then we will use less energy at rest. Remember if you have gone into starvation mode our body is trying to burn as few calories as possible.
So say we go on a diet restricting our calories too much. What happens? Firstly, our body goes into starvation mode and we start to burn lean muscle tissue, this will then affects our metabolism by slowing it down, a slower metabolism means you need less calories to sustain your weight. Then we come off our diet and start eating properly again, but our metabolism has dropped due to less muscle tissue. If we start eating the same as we did before we went on our diet we will start laying down fat again as our body thinks we are now overeating because our metabolism has dropped due to muscle loss. Hence the never-ending cycle of yo-yo dieting.
If you want to loose weight try restricting your calorie intake by no more than 25% per day (so on a 2000 calorie a day diet this would be reduced to 1500 calories per day). This will help you loose 1-2lbs per week which is sustainable and sensiblw. Include unprocessed wholesome foods, lots of fresh vegetables and lean meat in your diet; by increasing your protein intake you will help maintain your lean muscle tissue. Being more active will increase the amount of calories you burn, even if this is just taking the stairs, walking to the next bus stop or tube station before catching your bus/train. Start resistance training; this will help you maintain your muscle mass, in turn keeping your metabolism high. Or better still find a sport or fitness activity you love, if you like it you are more likely to stick with it.
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