Losing body fat while gaining lean mass is possible. Let me say this one more time. Losing body fat while gaining lean muscle is possible. Do not let anyone tell you differently. I was reading some responses a woman received in a forum last night. If you use forums to find extra support or knowledge in regards to fitness please be careful. If the “expert” doesn’t ask you questions or even try to understand what you are going through, please do not put too much faith into what they say. I was alarmed to see what response this woman received. Nobody asked her any question’s. The “experts” didn’t take the time to understand anything about this woman. And in the end, out in left field this “expert” said it was impossible to gain lean mass while losing weight.
I realized that people don’t know about the Zig-Zag approach. I gave a brief description to a woman who was interested in hearing more. I wanted to spend some time with my wife so I told this woman I would publish a post today in full detail. I am not writing this post for the “experts” who want to dispute me. Rather, I am writing this to empower, encourage and support people who want to make a lasting change in their life. The following approach is not a fad or gimmick. It is founded in science.
The Zig-Zag Approach
Targeted fat loss together with increased lean mass is the recommended mode of weight loss. “Increases in lean body mass percentage will also accompany a proper fat loss program as a result of losing fat and keeping lean body-weight the same, which in turn, will result in a lower percent body-fat and higher percent lean body mass. Or, a lower body-fat percentage may be the result of actually increasing the weight of lean body mass, which will result in an increase of lean body mass percentage.” source: Fitness: The complete guide.
If you read my post how to lose weight safely then you know that the key to adjusting body composition should not be dictated by reaching some random weight goal. It should be determined by attaining a body-fat goal that is realistic for your lifestyle and can be reached given your current abilities.
Stringent dieting has a direct effect in dropping our resting metabolic rate (BMR). This drop makes it very difficult, even impossible, to continue fat loss. Scientists have known this for a long time. The rate at which an individual will have fat loss is determined by genetics, body type, metabolism, nutrition and exercise program. Remember, genetic background doesn’t doom or guarantee success.
Through scientific research, the Zig-Zag approach has been validated. Scientists performed a 48-week research study that involved 18 women. The women were split up into two groups, one group consumed 1200 calories a day while the other group consumed a 16-week liquid meal replacement followed by a “conventional” weight-reducing diet. The results were interesting. The first finding showed the predictable outcome that the crash dieters weren’t any better off than the moderate dieters after 48 weeks. Both groups BMR dropped an average of 9%, and their body-fat was reduced on average 16-19%.
The drop in the groups BMR was not desirable. Loss in lean muscle would make any future weight loss hard, if not impossible. Bigger muscles burn more calories than little muscles. If you lose weight from both fat and muscle, your ability to continue fat loss and more importantly keeping it off are sacrificed.
Scientists have begun to collect hard data that supports the Zig-Zag approach. There is a way to lose fat and still maintain a high enough BMR rate which will allow you to continue in your fat loss process.
How to use this approach:
As you decrease the amount of calories you consume and the amount you burn off increases, body-fat percent begins to drop also. However, so does BMR. You begin eating normally again for a brief period of time which forces BMR back to a normal level. Your body-fat level will increase but not as high as it was in the beginning. Again, you lower your caloric intake, down does your body-fat. Eat normally again, body-fat goes up but not as high as before.
Think of it like this; you are walking up a flight of stairs. You go up two stairs and then down one stair and rest. Then you go up two stairs, down one stair and rest.
By using this approach you ultimately allow BMR adjustments to take place. It will be brought down to your new lower body-weight. Because of this adjustment it becomes easier to begin losing fat again-and again. If you are just trying to lose body fat, your BMR never gets a chance to adjust and your efforts to continue losing body fat will only get harder and harder. Then frustration sets in and you binge out. All your had work is gone.
There is one important key to this whole process, weight training. Without weight training, your lost weight will be from lean tissue, not just fat. Do not try to lose too much weight quickly. Even when using weights starvation diets will cause too much muscle loss rather than fat reduction.