Ever wondered why you are struggling to achieve your fitness goal despite regularly hitting the gym? While there could be various reasons, the most common one is the lack of clarity. Many of us join the gym to lose body fat but end up losing weight. Not all of us are clear about the difference between losing weight and losing fat. We are here to help you understand this.
Ideally, your fitness goal must never be to lose weight, but you must always focus on losing fat. The reason being, when you lose weight, you will lose a bit of fat, muscles, fluid, and organ size. So the focus here is not entirely on fat loss. Also, losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean that you are fit.
A fit body has lower levels of fat percentage – 10% to 15% for men and 15% to 20% for women. This fat percentage is the true measurement of how fit and in which shape your body is. Let us understand this difference better:
Weight loss: Your body weight can be defined as the sum of the weight of your muscles, bones, organs and the amount of water your body retains.
Weight loss = Muscle loss + Fat loss + Water loss
Fat loss: As the term suggests, it is the loss of the fat that your body carries.
Fat loss = Reduction of stored body fat
Body Fat Testing
To know whether you’re losing weight or fat, perform a body fat test. For instance, if you are a woman who weighs 68 kg, with 35% fat, you’re carrying almost 23 kg more of fat. A healthy woman should ideally carry around 25% fat, so a loss of 7-8 kg is must to reach a healthier level.
Now, assume that you had an overall weight loss of around 9 kg, but only half of it came from fat stores. You will still be at an unhealthy 32% fat. So, to reach the 25% body fat level, all the 9 kg loss must come from fats.
Check Out Now: Body Mass Index With BMI Calculator
Focus on Losing Fat
Losing weight can backfire at times. How? For instance, weight loss may also lead to a loss of muscle mass, which can cause a rebound effect, leading to weight gain. Also, losing muscle mass during weight loss slows down your metabolism, which means all the weight you lose, comes back.
However, we are not saying that you must not lose weight. If you’re obese, some weight loss is vital to restructure your body, but simultaneously focus on fat loss. The ideal way to achieve this is by adding strength training to your fitness program.
Strength training is essential because it helps you to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Doing only cardio will cause muscle loss and can lead to you having skinny fat.
This chart below will give you more clarity on fat loss and weight loss:
|Weight Training + Cardio + Sleep||Cardio only = reduces only skinny fat|
|Proper nutrition||Improper nutrition and crash dieting|
|Increases fitness levels||Decreases fitness levels|
|Increases body strength||Decreases body strength|
|Reduces fat percentage only||Reduces muscle mass + overall structure|
|Increases metabolism||Slows down metabolism|
So, now you know that fat percentage is the differentiator. Losing fat will lead you to healthy living!