Should we be lifting heavy weights and occasionally eating more food if we want to lose body fat?
The short answer is: YES!!!
At ACE Fitness, we structure the majority of our clients workouts around heavy lifting. Sometimes people (women in particular) who are new to the gym get confused over this, as they have been conditioned to believe that they need to do hours and hours of cardio in order to get that “lean” look they are striving for.
After a while, this confusion tends to go away as they start to see the results of their efforts – muscle tone and more definition!
Lifting heavy weights and going through occasional building phases with your nutrition is important and 100% necessary if you want to look toned, firm, athletic, etc. The truth is that dieting and doing cardio is NOT the way to make good body composition changes happen. While eating in a caloric deficit does help to shed body fat, if you have no muscle on your body, you will end up looking deflated, skinny, or even “skinny fat”.
This is where lifting weights and nutritional periodization come into play. Nutritional periodization is a fancy way of saying that, for sustainable and healthy fat loss, you need to cycle through fat loss phases, maintenance phases, and yes even building phases.
Not only are building phases important for healthy hormones & a healthy metabolism, but a building phase also helps to create the aesthetic look that so many of us are after (strong, toned, lean, athletic, etc)
I have a few clients right now who are in a building phase with their nutrition and they are loving it! Mentally it can be a bit difficult to see the scale creep up, but remember these are VERY SLOW GAINS and the goal isn’t to gain fat, we are aiming for lean gains. For lean gains to happen, the scale does have to go up a bit. This can be difficult, even if it’s a slow gain and even though we are asking it to go up. But this is a long-term plan as eventually we will go into a fat loss phase, where calories will be restricted with the main goal of shedding body fat. Now we can really show off that added muscle????
??This is how you get the toned, lean, firm, athletic look that you’re after. Not by running yourself into the ground with cardio and depriving your muscles of the fuel they need to grow.
During this process, there will be ups and downs. There will be challenges. And there will be weeks where you feel like nothing is happening. It’s important to stay disciplined and have a coach to keep you accountable. If you do not have someone holding you accountable, it’s easy to fall back into old habits such as restricting calories on days you feel a little extra “fluffy” OR neglect to focus on food quality, which can add unnecessary body fat during the building process.
Also, remember to be patient. The human body takes TIME to adjust to different training protocols and eating habits. Base progress on things other than the scale, such as energy levels, how your workouts are improving, how your clothes are fitting, etc. The scale is just one measurement of progress, and in some cases it’s the least important metric to use.
Every time you go after a goal, there will be challenges. Stay patient and persistent when things get uncomfortable. Embrace it and remember that growth doesn’t happen inside of your comfort zone ??