Which is really better for fat loss?

Funnily enough – we get asked this question a lot. 

Tell me what I need to do to lose weight?

We see it daily, people pushing themselves hard on the aerobic workouts, sweat dripping off them. A huge release of endorphins, it’s great, isn’t it? And not much thinking is required either, bliss! 

And it is – don’t get us wrong, we LOVE those workouts too – and they have their place. 

Surely doing more of this would equate to losing more weight?!

Unfortunately, no. Aerobic exercise alone is not a recipe for faster fat loss. 

In fact, a combination of resistance training and aerobics will lead to the most impressive, and longest-lasting improvements in body composition.

(Please refer to the full PN article linked below to view and learn more about the research undertaken).

And here we briefly explain why...

Muscle mass, matters… A LOT.

Increased basal metabolism is probably the most obvious advantage of having more muscle. Actually, to be more exact, the more muscle you carry, the higher your resting energy expenditure (REE).

In simple terms, your muscle actually uses energy to break down and remake muscle. How much energy? That depends on how much muscle you have.

This is cool because the more muscle you have, the more energy (calories) you will burn as a result, just from being alive and doing everyday tasks. Pretty cool huh!? And so if you are looking to lose weight, this is even cooler to know.

This may explain why we hear this scenario play out often…

Set the scene: A couple decides their new years’ resolution is to lose some weight.

Wife after a month… 

“My husband has made a few tweaks to his diet and is doing nowhere near as much as me exercise-wise – he’s lost 10lbs!! Meanwhile, I spend hours on the treadmill and have lost a measly pound at the same time!!!”

What the heck? Why does this happen? (cue women around the world gnashing their teeth!!!)

There are many physiological reasons, but the difference in their muscle mass is one of the biggies.

Here’s another example, this time of two women… 

Jane and Mary both have the same amount of fat, but Mary has an extra 7 kg (15 lb) of muscle.

If, for one year, Jane did exactly what Mary did to maintain her weight–snowboarding, sleeping, swearing in six languages, whatever–Jane would actually gain 3.3 kg (7.3 lb) of fat, increasing her body fat percentage to 35.8%. 

Just because of the differences in their resting muscle mass.

The other thing you might notice is that since Mary has more muscle and weighs more overall, despite having the same amount of fat, she actually has a lower percentage of body fat.

Weight Versus Size

Since muscle is more dense than fat, 1 kg of muscle will take up less space than 1 kg of fat. Muscle is 1.06 kg per litre of space and fat density is 0.9196 kg per litre of space.

If you gained 10kg of muscle at the same time you lost 10kg of fat, you would be smaller. About 1.4 litres smaller. On the scale, you would weigh the same. But your trousers would be looser.

Let’s say you and your friend decide to start two different weight loss programmes at the same time. After 6 months, you’ve lost 10 kg by working out and eating right, while your friend has lost 11 kg by lying in bed drinking coffee and smoking.

Your 10kg scale weight loss might equal a 10 kg muscle gain with a 20 kg fat loss. If so, you’d be 12.3 litres smaller.

On the scale, it would look like your friend who lost 11 kg (9 kg of muscle and 2 kg of fat) was doing better, but in fact, she’d only be 10.7 litres smaller, making her 1.6 litres (3.8 pints) bigger than you. Ha!

Meanwhile, going forward, who will maintain her new weight more effectively? It sure won’t be your friend.

Of course, this is an oversimplification, because muscle and fat are not the only things at play. But the message is the same – losing weight is very different from losing fat.

So What Can We Take From This?

Want help becoming the healthiest, fittest, and happiest version of yourself? 

Most people know that regular exercise and eating well is important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives. Over the past 10 years, we’ve used our coaching methods to help over 1,000 clients lose fatget stronger, and improve their health… for the long term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from some of the country’s best coaches, this is your chance.