Can you lose fat through training?
As I have mentioned previously, training will always come secondary to diet when looking to lose fat. If you haven’t read ‘the easiest way to lose fat’ then I suggest you start there before continuing on with this article. That being said, Exercise does have a major role to play in body composition, it is usually just used in a way that can ultimately limit fat loss.
You hear it all of the time, ‘fat-burning zone’, ‘best exercises to burn fat’ etc, etc. People love to tell you that their training program is responsible for stimulating fat loss. This can only be true if you are in a calorie deficit. No training program exists that is actually capable of ensuring you are burning fat unless it is coupled with a strategic nutrition plan. The common argument about which exercise modality targets fat oxidation is completely irrelevant without the appropriate diet.
Therefore your training program should not focus on whether you are ‘burning fat’ but more so on the physiological stimulation of the training and the overall calorie expenditure.
Energy expenditure is a given no matter what you are doing, the only difference will be the rate. Harder training will burn calories faster, whilst creating more stress. Easy training such as walking won’t burn nearly as many calories, though you can do it regularly without stressing your body at all.
Physiological stimulation is a fancy way of saying ‘what are you telling your body to do’. When you lift heavy weights, you are telling your body to get stronger, when you lift more often you’re telling it to grow muscle and when you do HIIT or go for a run you are telling it to improve your aerobic system. Each of these messages come at a cost. The bigger the message, the more stress you put on your body and you will need a longer bout of recovery to see the resulting improvements. As you can probably see, these sessions probably shouldn’t be carried out every single day if you wish to improve your physical capacity.
Find a balance
Preserving or building muscle mass is important for producing ‘shape’ or ‘curves’ during weight loss. Therefore, 2-3 sessions of weights and/or HIIT training per week is going to be necessary for producing such a response. As mentioned, your body needs time to recover between hard sessions and this is where you can utilize low-intensity exercises such as walking, cycling, or rowing to spend extra calories without inducing further stress.
Firstly, before deciding to join a gym with the intentions of smashing out 5 brutal sessions a week, sort out your nutrition. It will amplify your results 10-fold compared with any change in training. Secondly, don’t overdo your training. Focus on providing the stimulation your body needs before using low-intensity exercise to spend some extra calories. You will feel much more energetic and healthy because of it.