How To Lose Weight The Right Way

Muscle vs Fat

How To Lose Weight The Right Way

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]It’s the beginning of the year. Your obligations are past you, your goals are set, and you’re ready to lose weight!

So whats your plan? Most people will resort to what they know or what has worked for them in the past, which is a low calorie, lower fat diet plus some cardio. By the end of this article you will understand why that may be a decent short term solution, but is setting you up for long term failure.

So why is this low-calorie, cardio exercise program a bad idea?

Because while a calorie deficit is essential to losing body fat, in order to look and feel great there is a lot more going on than calories in/calories out.

So why is this a bad idea? Two main reasons:

1) Exclusively performing cardio exercise – Typical steady state cardio exercise is proven to increase Cortisol levels over time, which breaks down muscle and turns it into carbs. From a performance standpoint, you’re training yourself to be unexplosive and good at endurance sports only. If that’s your goal, then that’s perfect, but know this running style decreases your overall athleticism.

Yes, you will burn a small amount of fat, but how does running reduce your athleticism? Because this type of training converts fast twitch muscle fibers into slow twitch muscle fibers and makes those fast twitch fibers vulnerable to being used for energy, permanently lowering your metabolism. If running is your sport, then that’s awesome,but for the average person (whom we will target in this article), its not ideal or necessary, even for heart health.

2) A low fat, low calorie diet – This can work for a short period of time but will lead to more carb cravings and muscle loss. Low protein/fat/calorie diets are proven to make you lose up to 40% of your weight from muscle and lead to long term hormonal imbalances.


“I heard this works”

I could go on forever about why most weight loss plans are a band-aid at best, but let’s talk about solutions.

First, what type of weight do we really want to lose?

Body fat, right?

This may sound obvious, but again, most weight loss programs lose up to 40% of their weight from muscle and a good deal from water or intestinal bulk. So let’s use Cindy as our example. She goes to Weight Watchers and loses 20 lbs. Of that, up to 8 lbs we’re muscle. For every lb of muscle you lose you lower your metabolism about 40 calories per day. So this effectively lowered her metabolism 320 calories per day. High five Cindy!

Or you can lose weight the right way.

Below are the 3 things you need to lose weight (body fat) and get a lean, fit body:

1) Balanced Strength Training – Strength training isn’t the #1 calorie burning workout on the planet, but that’s irrelevant. It’s about the big picture and by adding lean muscle you permanently increase your metabolism everyday. When programmed properly, you can prevent injuries, improve athleticism and get the optimal fat burning exercise out there (tied with intervals). In a low calorie environment it is equally important to prevent muscle loss, which was the case with poor Cindy earlier. On top of that, having a foundation of lean muscle is the only way to get that lean/fit look everyone wants and avoid being skinny fat.


Strength Train 2-4 times per week depending on your goals and muscle mass and use relatively varied, short rest periods to maximize fat burning.


2) Eat a lower calorie, lower carb diet – To lose body fat you must take in fewer calories than you consume. But you must have your hormones telling your body to repair muscle and burn fat as well. We’ve had excellent success with recommending people getting most of their carbs from vegetables until they are close to their end goal, and as they near their goal, we increase healthy carbs such as blueberries or beans. Remember, even healthy carbs (think berries, oatmeal, sweet potatoes) could go to fat stores if your carbohydrate tolerance is poor. We don’t want your calories don’t dip too low though, so we recommend you get sufficient fat from nuts, butter, coconut oil, and natural fats found in meat. And you must eat 3-4 times a day, hitting your protein goal at every meal (Women: 25-30 grams and men: 40-45 grams per meal).

3) Add intervals – In addition to strength training, adding short, challenging workouts called intervals to maximize fat burning from an exercise stand point. Ex: Sprint/walk instead of 1 steady state run. Learn how to do sprints here1-3 times a week of intervals is optimal, but don’t exceed 6 training sessions in a week. Remember, more isn’t always better.

Add these to get Faster Results

  • Prevent nutrient deficiencies – Taking in a high potency multi vitamin and fish oil is essential to having a naturally high metabolism. Without these nutrients, you could develop deficiencies, which are the root cause of hormonal issues which lead to poor energy and metabolism.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle – Make sure you get 8 hours of sleep every night in a pitch black room. Drink plenty of water. Avoid processed foods and strive for organic, grass fed meat whenever possible. Finally, consider meditating for 10 minutes a day to calm your brain and improves stress management.


So if you do these things you will get a lean, fit body in no time.

But lets go back and compare this to our friend Cindy. If you remember, her weight loss plan resulted in 20 lbs of total weight loss, but 8 lbs of that was from muscle, and we estimated about 4 lbs was water weight. This is a result of only 8 lbs of fat lost.

With all of this motivation, Cindy was inspiring others, like her sister Erin.

Now Erin was smart and decided to do her homework first. She read the Faster Fitness Blogs and decided to follow the advice I’ve summarized above.

Erin would admit that strength training is challenging, but she pushed herself every time and is starting to really love it. She isn’t Usain Bolt, but she’s getting better at sprints, and she now has a winding down routine to ensure 8 hours of sleep every night. And she is loving the provided nutrition plan and how she doesn’t have to count her calories.

Erin is thrilled to look at her before after pictures and see the dramatic results. Her abs are flat for the first time since high school, she looks fit and has more energy than ever.

She only lost 12 lbs on the scale, but has a dramatically different body.

Lets dig deeper into what really happened: She lost about 16 lbs of fat and another 4 lbs of water weight/intestinal bulk. But she gained 8 lbs of muscle, which raised her metabolism 320 calories per day and will keep it there as long as she maintains her PRs (Personal Records) on squats, dead lifts and the other key exercises that build a lean body.

So tell me: What would you rather have?

Client Results Comparison

Client Weight Loss Fat Loss Water Loss Muscle Difference BMR Calorie Difference BMR Before BMR After
Erin -12 -16 -4 8 320 1500 1820
Cindy -20 -8 -4 -8 -320 1500 1180
Weight Before Weight After BF % Before BF % After
Erin 150 138 27% 18%
Cindy 150 130 27% 25%

Not only does Erin look a lot better than Cindy, has more energy, better health and feels more athletic, but her metabolism is now 640calories per day higher than Cindy’s.

That’s the equivalent of these 130 lb females running an extra 6.5 miles (about a 10K) everyday.

So Erin’s body burns more calories BEFORE exercise than Cindy’s would if she took an hour to run a 10k everyday.

Pretty powerful stuff.

And further more, muscle is 1/3rd the size of fat. To illustrate the impact of this change, check out a picture of the 5 lb muscle and fat models we have at Faster Fitness:

5 lbs of muscle vs to fat

5 lbs of muscle and fat

Since muscle is 1/3rd the size of fat the inches lost will be dramatic and will result in a leaner, more athletic look.

To give you an example, Erin’s results would probably look something like our client Katie’s:

Katie Anderson smaller before after

And here’s a point I can’t stress enough: Typical weight loss strategies make you skinny fat, not lean and fit. And skinny fat isn’t going to score you many Instagram likes 😉

So now it’s your time to take this and run, no, train with it. Make me proud!


About the Author: Marshall Ray

Marshall Ray is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Level 2 Poliquin International Certified Strength Coach (PICP), Biosignature Practitioner and a certified Precision Nutrition Coach (Pn1). He is the founder of Faster Fitness and co-founder of Femme Fit. He's passionate about building a community of people who love fitness and taking control of their health.