So, you want to lose 10 pounds? Perhaps the last 10 pounds? First, let’s talk about something very important…
I’ll start with a question. If you had to choose between a weight loss coach and a fat loss coach, which one would you pick?
I know which one you’d search for! There’s over 400 million search results for the term “weight loss” on Google. Less than 200 million for “fat loss.”
If you’ve never taken the time to scrutinize the difference, I’ll save you a few minutes: weight loss is frivolous. Fat loss is all that matters.
Weight loss has an industry.
An entire industry has been built around weight loss (you mean the mainstream is frivolous? Shocking!). Progress is graded almost solely by that stupid scale.
“Lower number good. Higher number bad.” (Imagine a knuckle dragger in a Global Gym t-shirt repeating that mantra over and over again).
The fitness industry chose the most arbitrary way of measuring progress in health and fitness and convinced everyone that it’s the holy grail.
Wool, meet eyes.
Fat loss has a purpose.
I don’t want you to lose weight if it means that you’re losing muscle. Ideally, you want to lose fat only. I can’t think of a single reason why any human being would want to reduce their lean muscle mass outside of the irrational explanation I’m sure someone will give in the comments.
Houston, We Have a 10 Pound Problem.
Wanting to lose 10 pounds is a frivolous goal. But, what’s the title of every magazine headline? “Lose 10 Pounds for the Summer!”
Make that money, honey.
Why not set a goal that actually means something? Let’s take a look at what I call The Ten Pound Problem.
Let’s say you want to lose ten pounds. If you lose five pounds of fat and five pounds of muscle (highly likely on a “cardio workout plan”), you lost your 10 pounds. The scale moved in the “right” direction. SUCCESS!
But, what do you look like? A bit smaller and a bit softer. Nothing impressive.
If you lose ten pounds of fat and zero pounds of muscle, you’ve lost the same ten pounds. But, what do you look like? Smaller, but not softer. A much better choice. Not impressively different though.
Which do you choose? Here’s where it gets wonky.
Personally, I wouldn’t choose either of those. Certainly, losing 10 pounds of fat and zero pounds of muscle is the better choice of the two. But let’s not pretend we only have two options.
If you lose ten pounds of fat and GAIN five pounds of muscle, you didn’t reach your goal of losing ten pounds. The scale says you lost only five.
Are you a failure? Well, what do you look like?
You’re smaller where it matters and look lean and strong. You actually look healthier; athletic even. It’s a radical change from your former self.
Now, which do you choose? Do you want to lose 10 pounds for the Summer or five? What a predicament.
Look like you lost 10 pounds without losing 10 pounds…
If you do a bunch of cardio in order to reach your goals, you’ll lose more weight than if you shun cardio and focus on building lean muscle mass through strength training.
But the strength training will make you look better and feel better. What you look like has nothing to do with weight and everything to do with lean muscle mass.
Remember, strength training is amazing for fat burning. You just don’t lose as much weight because you’re not cannibalizing your muscles, you’re building them.
Are you going to wear your scale at the beach, or your bikini? If you’re not going to wear the scale, then do what’s going to make you look better in the bikini (the same advice applies to guys, hopefully minus the bikini part).
Exercise Action Plan: Stop setting frivolous goals. Shun the scale. Cancel the cardio. Learn to love intensity, not duration. Lose less weight but look better. And never forget, if you don’t address the nutrition, sleep, stress, and so on, none of this will matter.
Kevin Geary is the founder of RebootedBody.com and a respected expert on cravings, eating psychology, and long-term habit change. He’s worked with thousands of men and women in over 35 countries around the world through his online academy and programs like Shut Down Your Sugar Cravings.