Weight Loss
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Can anyone inform me about the most effective way to lower body fat percentage as it is cruicial to acheiving more muscle mass and an overall better look?
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Eat right and do cardio.

But FYI: you can still gain muscle without losing fat.
Weights, cardio and most importantly; a lean, low-fat, clean diet.
my goal is to go from about 16% as it is what i am now to 12%. At 12% abdominal muscles tend to show much better.....is that true?
Are you male or female?  For men, 12% is healthy, but for female, I believe that is getting a little low...
i am male....so yeah 12% is what i want
I'm a female and I am around 12 on average. I am very muscular.
does anyone know how much running (distance, time, speed) is significant for the reduction of body fat %?
Too much cardio simply burns muscle. You have to add weights and allow time for muscle to recover in between cardio sessions. I prefer free weights.
To lower your body fat percentage, you can 1) reduce the amount of fat you have 2) increase the amount of muscle you have or 2) do both.

Dieting alone will reduce the amount of subcutaneous fat, but do nothing at all to reduce the amount of fat within your muscle. Your muscle will remain short and round (that's the shape of unfit muscle). Also you are likely to lose some muscle mass along with the fat you lose. (This is pretty much inevitable: you cannot lose fat without losing some muscle, and you also cannot gain muscle without gaining some fat. ) But if you diet only, yes, you can lose enough fat to change your body composition and reduce your bf%. Consider that anorexics have very low body fat. They also have very little muscle, and porous bones.

Cardio alone will not only burn calories, but it will target the fat within your muscle. As your body gets fitter, your body will grow extra capillaries within the muscle to help deliver oxygen faster to them during exercise. You will see this as an increase in your Vo2 Max, a measure of fitness. Over time, the fat within your muscles disappears and your muscles become long and lean. If you are also dieting and creating a calorie deficit, you will lose subcutaneous fat as well (the fat under your skin - the stuff we see that jiggles and covers the abs).

Weight training will burn more calories than cardio. It raises your metabolic rate for 24-48 hours. It also builds muscle mass, provided you are taking in enough calories. It is quite possible to never diet at all (i.e., deliberately create a deficit - you still can't overeat), and use weight training and cardio to completely change your body composition.

A good program might be 2-3 days weight training, 4-5 days cardio for at least 30 minutes, and either eating maintenance calories or shaving off only about 100-300 calories.

There is a lot of body building literature that talks about eating to build muscle, then right before competition, go on a temporary diet to get as lean as possible to be able to show the abs.

Very few people have natural six-packs. A lot of body builders only have them temporarily, for competitions. And a lot of famous people have theirs air-brushed in. :-)

Even when I was body building and got down to 13% fat, I still didn't have a six-pack. It's just not in the genetic cards for me, and never will be, unless I starved myself and became anorexic, which I'm not about to do.
socc, I'm a female, but I've been running only about 3 days a week (walking on alternate days) and dieting (no weight training) since October and my body fat percentage has dropped from over 28% to 19%.... and still dropping....

So running is an excellent way to lower your body fat %. With that said, there are a lot of marathoners and ultra-distance runners out there that still have a bit of a pooch. This is because 1) it's well-known runners like their alcohol! LOL! and 2) your body eventually adapts to become efficient at your chosen sport; it makes sense, on a runner, that any remaining fat would stick around the tummy and love handles .... it's all about balancing the body.

A lot of runners still find they need to either add weight training, or watch their diets, if they want to rid themselves of the pooch & love handles.
thanks jenmcc!! =)
#12  
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I just finished an 8 week strength training program to build muscle.  A fitness study claimed that we lose on average 5lb lean muscle every decade.  Every lb of lean muscle burns 50 calories more each day at rest (250 cal day).  No wonder I couldn't eat the same as I used to.  The study claimed with a 2-3 day a week strength program (pumping iron) to 80% fatigue for all major muscle groups a person could gain 2.5 lbs lean muscle back.  Unfortunately there is no other way to gain lean muscle except strength training.

I had my body fat tested in the water for the most acurate reading.  My starting was 16.7% and in 8 weeks it was 13.3%.  When all the numbers were calculated I had lost 4 lbs of fat and gained 3 lbs of lean muscle.  I was truley amazed, especially because the scale before I went in to test showed I had only lost 1 lb. 

I have a hard time believing some of the things people say and was grateful I made a commitment to try it.   I am finally able to eat a bit more because the muscle is burning more calories at rest.  Which is a good thing cause I'm  ravinous after a tough cardio workout.  find a trainer a few sessions to get a solid foundation and also check out a PT or medical facility and get weighed for real.
Does anyone know of an accurate way to measure body fat besides the water method? I have a very muscular build and have lifted weights most of my adult life. I have recently dropped the extra 15 to 20 Lbs I had picked up in college after trying for many years. I would like to know about what % BF I am at so I don't get to low. I tend to think I always need to lose more! Thanks for any input.
You can buy bathroom scales that tell you your weight and body fat percentage. They are much cheaper now.
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