Body fat. We all have it. And we need it, whether we like it or not.
This is a topic that I could spend hours going into, involving BMR, health, genes, gender, lifestyle, blah blah, but I won’t bore you with that today! I’m also mindful that some PTs may be a little skeptical with what I have to say. Some of us have more body fat than others. This comes down to many factors, including genetics, body type, health conditions, lifestyle and of course, how many calories we consume.
The main question a lot of people have when they want to make a change to their lifestyle, or perhaps for performance, health or aesthetic reasons is; how can I look ‘toned’ (ie lean)? Essentially, this means building enough lean muscle mass and stripping back the body fat on top to reveal it.
Sounds simple, right? Not so much in practice. Losing weight comes down to a calorie deficit, by expending more calories than you consume. Losing body fat can be a little more complicated as we cannot target fat specifically, nor where on our body. It often requires a very focused and disciplined mindset, depending on how lean you want to look.
There are no other ways around it really, no matter how many celebs try to sell you a bloody detox tea saying you will ‘lose fat’ – trust me, I’ve sadly bought into it before. Remember camera angles and poses can make body fat look different on other people. Some people are lucky enough to have a fast metabolism, or be naturally lean. But again, there are many other factors which come down to it.
One of the most important things I learned at the start of my fitness journey about two years ago and am still practising now, is that it is a journey. You probably won’t realise when you have reached where you want to be compared to when you started, so enjoy it. Taking progress pictures are a good indicator to show how far you’ve come. I’ve learned that high protein meals do indeed help fill us for longer (I have a big appetite!) and help build muscle when trained correctly, but also, do not beat yourself up if you don’t quite get it at first!
If you are aiming to lose fat, remember that looking good isn’t everything. People around me comment ‘there is nothing on you Lizzie’, but everyone feels different in their own skin: there are times when I feel confident with how I look and other days when I’m beyond down – but more on this at a later date! Any small change you can make now means you can make it a habit – and a good one. Good habits then become part of your lifestyle, such as swapping the takeout for a homemade stir fry, going for a run before work, or heading to the gym after.
This is a quick post covering the basics of body fat, but essentially, remember a calorie deficit helps lose overall weight. Losing body fat will always be a more disciplined affair!
Whatever you do, keep going and take pride in what you do!
I look forward to speaking more on this in future!