Muscle is more dense than fat, which can make you look leaner overall. Once you reach your desired weight, you may not feel as fit and toned as you would if you lost more fat and maintained your lean mass throughout the process. In order to decrease your body fat and get toned, you would have to gain muscle mass, essentially gain weight back, and try to lean out by burning fat. It is pretty counter-intuitive to lose weight from losing muscle weight just to try and gain back more muscle weight in the end. 
There’s obviously strength and conditioning (which can be a game changer), how injured the athlete is at any moment (no MMA fighter enters a fight completely injury-free, training is brutal), in which time zone the fight is being held (if one athlete lives in that time zone it’s an advantage), whether the fight is at altitude or not (if one athlete lives/trains at altitude, that’s an advantage), and so on.

We’re almost up to speed, but still rewind a little bit back to the early years of college. In the fall of 2012 I started school at Truman State University in good old Kirksville, Missouri. If you’re in college or have been to college, you know that it’s the time to form independence and truly make decisions, on your own, for how you wish to live your life. For a lot of people this means starting over, turning over a new leaf, making new habits, developing a new lifestyle, etc. Honestly college is crazy and weird and I don’t want to ramble on it too much because this post is focused more on the fitness/nutrition journey I’ve experienced (though I now realize its all connected.)


“Muscle building” is not exclusive to bodybuilders or beach bums; it’s the base requirement for human function. And building muscle means more than just “growing muscles big” by lifting weights and eating egg whites all day. In fact it’s separate. It’s for all of us no matter our gender, race, ethnicity, athletic ability, flexibility, Netflix-ability…muscle moves life! The heart is a muscle. We do not function without muscle movement, whether ours or someone else’s. And muscles need conditioning. They’re not self-sustaining or “neutral” responders to activity or inactivity. They’re living things, like plants in a garden. When cared for the garden produces food, and when neglected it not only doesn’t produce, it’s overtaken by weeds (fat).
Add a cup of low-fat milk, a part-skim mozzarella stick, or a half cup of low-sodium cottage cheese to breakfast, and you may have a belly-busting win. While lots of research links calcium with lower body weights, results from a 2014 study suggest that calcium-containing foods may reduce waist circumference in those genetically predisposed to carrying weight in their midsection.
Research shows your body also unleashes human growth hormone, which helps you burn fat and maintain muscle, after just 10 to 30 seconds of high-intensity exercise. High-intensity exercise also appears to help curb your appetite and trigger hormones that regulate feelings of hunger and fullness better than lower-intensity exercise, so you’re less likely to overeat.
“I used Dr. Fred Pescatore’s The A-List Diet, which includes kicking things off with a detox, then low-carb eating combined with protein boosting, where you supplement with extra amino acids. It worked like a charm and was easy to stick to, so now it’s really just become my natural way of eating. The protein boosting really works to kill any cravings and helps me maintain energy—it makes it easy when I need something quick between the kids’ activities in the evenings and on weekends. And it has definitely helped keep me toned, considering I only work out about three days a week.”
Unfortunately this reduces the debate to a very simplistic level.  Why?  Because we know that hunger, appetite, energy expenditure (i.e., metabolic rate), and even our propensity to be active are highly regulated by an increasing list of hormones and signaling molecules, not to mention our genetic inheritance (Bouchard 1994).  Moreover these various factors interact with each other – for example: exercise stimulates hunger, calorie restriction increases hunger and decreases spontaneous activity (Keys 1950), calorie restriction reduces metabolic rate, and exercise plus calorie restriction markedly reduces metabolic rate (Phinney 1988).

Many people have no clue how many calories they are eating. According to one study in the New England Journal of Medicine, two groups of individuals (one with a history of diet resistance and one without) that were similar in weight, BMI, body fat percentage, level of education and history of employment were asked to report how many calories they thought they had consumed in a day. Both groups underreported their calorie intake by roughly 1,000 calories or MORE!
This was such an interesting article especially to note the strength levels not lost during this process. Do you have a similar article with respect to bodybuilding as I did read that the process is similar but with important differences so as to not have water sit under skin but be ushered into the muscle bellies. Thank you so much for all of your responses.
At first glance roller derby girl, Punk Rope instructor, and personal trainer Mary of Fit This, Girl! doesn't look like she's ever had to worry about her weight. But six years ago she was 30 pounds heavier and stuck in a corporate 8-5 job. Weight Watchers helped her ditch the extra pounds, and she's since left cube-land to pursue her fitness passion by helping others find theirs. Check out her before-and-after story that arcs from age 3 to present.

I have been at a plateau for 4-6 months now. I’ve been Keto for over 2 years and have decrease weight and bodyfat, but I can’t seem to shake the remainder of the weight. I test my ketone levels several times per week and am usually at .4 to .9 mml. I’m probably eating too many calories from fat (cheese and fatty meats) but I can’t seem to get satiated if I eat less. I’d like to get to around 15% bodyfat. I started at 32% as measured by a dexa scan a couple of years ago and dropped to 26% a few months ago.
Since insulin sensitivity is at its lowest in the final two weeks of the cycle, and carb intake is also at its lowest, exercise should be more anaerobic (this means hard and fast, really getting your heart pumping). It should be focused more on high-intensity interval training, with short bursts of high intensity work, either from brief sprint exercises or from weight lifting. This is an excellent way to sharpen insulin sensitivity while simultaneously burning fat, increasing muscle mass, and spending calories. It also helps the body stay healthy and as stress-free as possible during this time in which the body is gearing up to menstruate and the least capable of handling stress.
Sorry, I should have read those articles on carbohydrate in full first before I got on my soap box. They’re inaccurate too. In 2015 the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), advisors to the UK government, did a meta-analysis of all the best research and found none of the effects on health, i.e. heart disease, cancer and diabetes, reported by small scale studies and the likes of Robert Lustig. Link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sacn-carbohydrates-and-health-report
Hi Isabella! Don’t be so hard on yourself. I found the main thing for me, is you have to want it. When I was in my 20’s I didn’t care so much, but as I got older (mid 30’s) my mind set changed. I recommend taking it in baby steps. Taking the stairs is the first step, that is perfect. Next time you go somewhere park further away. Need Starbucks? Walk there! Cut up some veggies and keep them near by when your bored. I have to do that or my hands go in the chip bag. I have a hard time because I have a super thin Husband who can eat anything and I can’t. Find some hummus that you like and dip veggies in it, or if your a chip person, buy some snack baggies and portion out your servings. Just take it slow and day by day. You can do it! Be positive and go slow!! Small changes now will be big ones in the future.

“Once you decide on the method that you’re going use to lose weight, put the blinders on every well-meaning friend or family member who thinks it’s not a good idea. For me, it was raw juicing. Along with a healthy diet, it helped me lose 48 pounds and keep it off for over a year.” —Jennifer Devlin Waller, 48, founder and CEO of Celtic Complexion Luxury Artisan Skincare
Once your body runs out of glycogen stores, it is forced to break down protein and fat for energy, pending how much oxygen is available. And it typically takes about 12 hours for this to occur. In theory one would assume working out fasted in the morning - after more than 12 hours without intake - would promote more fat burning. But the science does not support this (112,113). In addition, working out fasted may effect your energy and strength, making your workout a little less intense than if you have fueled prior. These factors could effect your ability to build lean mass and perform. 

Excessive abdominal fat, or belly fat, is a serious health concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having excessive abdominal fat increases your risks for developing Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious health problems. No exercise, including rowing, can specifically target your belly fat. According to celebrity personal trainer Bill Phillips, the idea that an exercise targets a specific area for fat loss, called "spot reduction," is a soundly debunked fitness myth. Fat loss comes from your body as a whole. However, as rowing workouts burn overall body fat, the fat on your belly will unavoidably be part of the fat you burn.
Strength Training is very important part of your workouts.  Try for 15 – 30 minutes of strength training.  Don’t be afraid of strength training.  You burn more calories all together.  You’ll tone your muscles and you get stronger.  I like that my arms are strong, that way I can carry more bags at the mall.  🙂  I like to do circuit training which is full body workouts. I only do them 3 times a week, every other day.  Never do strength training on back to back days, unless you work one muscle group at a time. Such as Monday Upper Body, Tuesday Lower Body, Wednesday Core, Thursday Upper Body, Friday Lower Body, you get the picture.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AKA the top nutrition authority in America) released a revised paper this year saying that both vegetarian and vegan diets are best for people's health as well as the environment. If you're not ready to make a complete shift to meatless and cheese-less, consider "part-time" vegan and vegetarian plans, where you eat mostly plant-based at breakfast and lunch or on weekdays, and then eat fish, meat, dairy, and eggs only during designated times.


About: Helen’s a sweet and simple kind of girl. She’s a runner in mid-life whose goal is to live healthy while mixing in a bit of adventure too. But what really makes her blog special is the number of delicious, healthy recipes she has developed along the way. They’re easy to follow and loaded with pics. And although Helen does sometimes take long breaks between posts, when she does do an update, they're among the most well-read on her blog.
Hi Gary! Thank you for the nice comment, Sorry it took so long for me to reply. I understand about seeing pictures of yourself and it’s wonderful that it motivated you. For a lot of people it doesn’t. It didn’t for me for years. Until one day, I was digging in my drawer and I found a picture of me and I couldn’t believe my eyes! My family said it wasn’t me, well it was me! I recognize my shoes and handbag anywhere! I keep that picture on my fridge, and when the urge to eat hits, I look at it, breath and ask myself,am I really hungry?
Top Quote: "I’m sharing every lesson to getting there—not as a drill sergeant and definitely not as a guru—as a friend who gets it and never wants anyone else to struggle alone. I’ve learned more in the last ten years than I ever thought possible, and I’m laying it bare here, one post a time—every lesson I’ve learned on losing weight,real advice on maintenance, thoughts on depression, how I’ve moved beyond binge eating, lifestyle bits that make me feel good inside and out, and all the healthy recipes I make regularly.”

It's a great accomplishment to lose half your body weight, as Shauna of The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl did, but the real beauty is in how she's mostly kept it off for a decade. After regaining 50 pounds, she confronted her emotional issues around eating and now says, "my philosophy boils down to: Do the healthy thing more often than you don't do the healthy thing. It's not about numbers and scales, it's eating well and being kind to myself. Persistence, not perfection. Getting back up when I fall over. Over and over again!"
Following all these tips won’t do your thighs much good if you don’t pay attention to how much you are eating of any given food. Using portion size is a great tool for controlling calorie intake. Portion sizes of foods are often based on regular household items that are easy for you to visualize. To get a better idea about portion size, click here.
Because HIIT is harder on your body than steady-state cardio, you will require adequate rest to gain the most benefits, so don't feel bad for taking a day off. A good rule of thumb is to decrease the number of days you exercise as the load gets heavier. For example, HIIT using just your body weight can be done 3-5 days a week for 20-30 minute sessions.
In short, focus on eating a sensible diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. You also want to balance maintaining a reasonable calorie deficit to promote weight loss without starving yourself. To do this, dietitians recommend cutting out about 500 calories per day from your daily intake through diet and exercise. Doing so sets you up to lose about 1 pound per week, which is a highly sustainable rate of weight loss.
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