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Lose the Fat before Toning


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Hi everyone,

Just want a bit of advice, would it be better for me to do more aerobic exercise to drop weight and then tone up?? I currently do 1 hour cardio then 20 mins weights?

Thanks.

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i would do more weight. because the more mussle you have the more fat you burn in the end. also if you do weights before you do your cardio you end up working out harder because your mussles were already fitigued. (sorry about the sp) 

Don't wait to lift. Here's a good reason why.

Thanks, both of you for the advice,.

I think the hierarchy of fat loss is flawed.
It's not true that lifting weights is better than anything else at burning fat.
Usually the rationaly is that with weight lifting you keep burning calories even after exercises because of a process called EPOC. The problem is that EPOC has been measured and it appears irrelevant (something like 36 calories burned more)


As for HITT, it burns more calorie only as long as you're willing to push you a lot, only as long as you make it real high intensity which often means feeling basically sick at the end of the exercise (if you don't believe, read what happened in the first Tabata protocol)


But an half-intensity HIIT will accomplish far less than simple cardio. In other words HIIT is superior only as long as it is real HIIT. The majority of people (expecially if they're unfit to begin with) don't do real HIIT but a lower intensity version. Needless to say that even EPOC after HIIT is rather irrelevant, just a dozen of calories.


I still think that you should drop the fat first and add the muscles later.
I would reach 10% (or 16% for females) body fat before doing any kind of slow clean bulking. If you're extremely skinny but have more than 10% (or  16%) body fat I would still lose the fat first and build the muscles then.

I think that you should keep lifting weights during the fat loss phase in order to maintain your muscle mass. This means that you don't need to increase the weight as often but mostly maintain the weights consistent. I wouldn't attempt or hope to build mass during this phase, but maintaining the mass you already have is a priority.

I would use aerobic exercise, because for most people it is the only feasible solution. Probably you can't do HIIT properly, and even if you can, you can't do more than twice a week and you can't do for a long period without monthly breaks. And if you're on a catabolic hypocaloric fat loss diet, lifting heavy weight might make you feel miserable and even become dangerous.

Generally what you need to stimulate fat loss (less calories, less carbohydrates, lower blood sugar, catabolic hormonal environment) doesn't allow you to use high intensity activities often enough to burn a lot of calories. This is where aerobic exercises becomes useful.


Muscles might burn fat, but you can't build much muscle while on a fat loss phase and you can't build much muscle while decreasing your body fat, actually, we usually need to sacrifice leaness and accept an increase in body fat, in order to build muscles efficiently.

Original Post by danielpiano:

I think the hierarchy of fat loss is flawed.
It's not true that lifting weights is better than anything else at burning fat.
Usually the rationaly is that with weight lifting you keep burning calories even after exercises because of a process called EPOC. The problem is that EPOC has been measured and it appears irrelevant (something like 36 calories burned more)

 EPOC is a small factor, but weight lifting will also drastically change the percentage of calories burned at rest that come from fat.  Since most of the calories you burn each day are burned outside of dedicated exercise time, upping the amount of fat you burn during these times will greatly increase the amount of fat you lose.

 It's your thinking that is flawed, not the EPOC effect.

 Order of magnitude is related to exercise intensity and while the effect of a single bout isn't  terribly pronounced it's longer-lasting and of a greater order of magnitude than 36 calories.
 
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management, Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7.

Effect of acute resistance exercise on postexercise oxygen consumption and resting metabolic rate in young women, Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2000 Mar;10(1):71-81.

 Considered in isolation and bout-for-bout cardio wins out in terms of acute effects, but considered over time:

D, DE, and DES demonstrated a similar and significant (P <= 0.05) reduction in body mass (-9.64, -8.99, and -9.90 kg, respectively) with fat mass comprising 69, 78, and 97% of the total loss in body mass, respectively. -
Kramer, Volek et al. Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men.

and Hunter et.al. : Resistance Training Conserves Fat-free Mass and Resting Energy Expenditure Following Weight Loss an exercise program that does not include resistance training is clearly inferior to one that does.

In the Kramer study, a third of the weight loss in the diet-only group was muscle(2.98 kg, or 6.5lbs) and the diet+cardio exercise group also lost significant muscle(1.98kg or 4.35lbs), while the diet+cardio+strength training group mostly retained theirs, losing 0.297kg or just shy of 0.6lbs of muscle.

In addition to Wayne Westcott. PhD's study of resistance training versus endurance training (Westcott, W., Fitness Management. Nov., 1991.) - in addition to the effect on fat loss, Westcott documents the phenomenon known as 'newbie gains' where beginners to exercise can add muscle even in a calorie deficit. Also check out Resistance Weight Training During Caloric Restriction Enhances Lean Body Weight Maintenance (Ballor, D.L., Katch, V.L., Becque, M.D., Marks, C.R., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 47(1): 19-25, 1988.) - and this weights-only study too that shows the expected result - weight training without dieting won't do jack for you when it comes to fat loss.

 If you don't lift, you lose muscle mass. Diet without resistance training leads to the same weight loss but a vastly different outcome in terms of body composition, and the diet or diet+cardio outcome is undesireable in terms of the goals of most people.

 Unless of course you're one of those weirdos who go on a diet to preserve the fat and lose the muscle mass?

 Re-read the artickle though. It doesn't say "don't do cardio", it says "If you don't have a whole lot of time to train, here's how to make the most of the time you do have."

 In practice, do 3 whole-body strenght training sessions a week, and then as much cardio of whatever kind you feel like doing and have the time to do.

not to mention as the fat is lost, your body will have a better shape. gaining muscle & definition doesn't happen overnight. some people get so focused on weight, that they lose the perspective of actually looking better not weighing less. but dont take our word for it, try it both ways yourself to see.

Original Post by melkor:

 It's your thinking that is flawed, not the EPOC effect.

EPOC magnitude has been grossly overestimated by early studies, including the ones you posted. There were several metholodical flaws, the most important being not discriminating the effect of EPOC with the termic effect of food leading researchers to believe that EPOC lasted for long and represented a big oxygen debt.

The studies that really used a better methodology and removed the original flaws, found out that if you exercise high intensity enough to burn at least 700 calories, you will burn (thank to EPOC) an extra 40 calories. They also showed that EPOC never last for more than 24 hours, but more like 3-6 hours. One study looking at the EPOC of what generally people burn in a workout session, determined an epoc effect of 25 calories.

J Sports Sci. 2006 Dec;24(12):1247-64 explains:
Recovery from a bout of exercise is associated with an elevation in metabolism referred to as the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). A number of investigators in the first half of the last century reported prolonged EPOC durations and that the EPOC was a major component of the thermic effect of activity. It was therefore thought that the EPOC was a major contributor to total daily energy expenditure and hence the maintenance of body mass. Investigations conducted over the last two or three decades have improved the experimental protocols used in the pioneering studies and therefore have more accurately characterized the EPOC. Evidence has accumulated to suggest an exponential relationship between exercise intensity and the magnitude of the EPOC for specific exercise durations. <cut> However, even those studies incorporating exercise stimuli resulting in prolonged EPOC durations have identified that the EPOC comprises only 6-15% of the net total oxygen cost of the exercise. But this figure may need to be increased when studies utilizing intermittent work bouts are designed to allow the determination of rest interval EPOCs, which should logically contribute to the EPOC determined following the cessation of the last work bout. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, the earlier research optimism regarding an important role for the EPOC in weight loss is generally unfounded. This is further reinforced by acknowledging that the exercise stimuli required to promote a prolonged EPOC are unlikely to be tolerated by non-athletic individuals.

All in all EPOC is absolutely irrelevant.

Meh - you're still reading the numbers wrong. The second study I linked to showed a total effect of 60 calories; and yes, that's corrected for TEF. It's about the same magnitude of effect as supplementing with green tea, actually.

 Useful, but not all that it's been cracked up to be. Which is why my recommendation differs from Cosgroves' in that I'm not that hung up on intervals - get your lifting in, and then do as much cardio of whatever type you want to and have the time for.

Original Post by melkor:

Meh - you're still reading the numbers wrong. The second study I linked to showed a total effect of 60 calories; and yes, that's corrected for TEF. It's about the same magnitude of effect as supplementing with green tea, actually.

 Useful, but not all that it's been cracked up to be. Which is why my recommendation differs from Cosgroves' in that I'm not that hung up on intervals - get your lifting in, and then do as much cardio of whatever type you want to and have the time for.

We agree then. (even thogh as you can see studies differ in their detrmining the magnitude of EPOC. One determined a level as low as 20 calories. It depends on how much calories you burn to begin with during the workout and therefore how intense it is.

I would never suggest cutting with cardio alone, weight training is required to maintain the muscle mass we already have, and this is of absolute importance.

Yup - hey, welcome to the club ;)

 Oh, check out  this point/counterpoint article- I'm leaning towards Wayne Westcott's position here; it would certainly explain why people have come up with the wildly optimistic notions of muscle burning 50kcal/lbs/d when the real numbers are somewhere around 5-7kcal/day, eh?

Here's a non-expert-opinion: I lost about 80 pounds of fat and now my bones poke into everything. I'm only now beginning an exercise plan for myself so I can restore muscle and pad my skeleton from bumping into things... and maybe buying larger jeans once I fill out. (^_^)

I waited until now to start building muscle, because I really didn't think I could concentrate on both at once (losing fat and setting an exercise regimen).

while i believe the people that say muscle burns more calories than fat, i'm more in line with meechity's stance. i want to make sure i'm well on my way to a healthy life style change in regards to my diet before i start focusing on exercise. one thing at a time for me!

 

I used to build a lot of muscle while not really doing much running (perhaps none, only 5 min warmup), but started out when I wasn't super lean and I had never been really lean or ripped (If you look at my pic, that is about as lean as I can get with weight lifting alone with 1 week into fat burning). I do believe that, for guys at least, you can lift weights hard and stay at about the same to a little better leanness than when you started without running at all, but I've never been able to get super lean just by having lots of muscle mass.

In short, I am trying to lose fat (maintain muscle or as much as possible), then build muscle back up.

I've read this and all of the linked articles. I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is incredibly high intensity at times, not quite HIIT in that the intensity gets very high and then decreases at a rather random pace. Having this 8:30-10:00PM M,W,F or M,W,F,Sa if I'm up to it, makes it seem like I don't have a chance to burn fat and build muscle any of the suggested ways. I think I might have to lift weights the same days I do Jits in order to get the next day of rest. Also, Jits is taxing on the abs, and having to drink a ton of water throughout doesn't really make you walk out at the end of class looking all lean. I just started training again as of tonight, but about 2-3 weeks ago I got back into running. The HIIT interests me and I was actually going to give it a go tomorrow morning.

I think I have already coped with the fact that I won't be able to bench as much as I did starting out with this increased amount of cardio. I'm eating my weight in protein every day. Definitely had a calorie deficit with Jits tonight.

Does it seem counter-productive to do Jits M,W,F nights and then running or HIIT on Su,T,Th mornings? Saturday is some nice rest. In terms of lifting to maintain as much muscle mass as possible, should I lift on M,W,F or T,Th,Su (or just 2 days a week)?

Or should I just choose and give you guys the results after a couple of weeks?

Melkor, I'm hoping to get maybe a little direction from you :)

The Truth about Bulking

This is a great article which explains why it's better to lose fat first and build muscles later. This doesn't mean skipping weights till the bulking phase.

You should keep lifting weights to maintain your muscles mass.
That being say, people overestimate muscular catabolism.
Studies show that it's very easy to maintain mass even with just bodyweight exercises and that you start losing it only after two complete weeks of inactivity.

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