Why dieting down may not always reveal your dream physique?
Sounds absurd, right? Sure if you diet down really successfully and drop a pile of body fat you will have to look like your dream physique with a chiseled stomach, lean legs and toned ams?
You’d like to think so, but unfortunately for most this wouldn’t be the case.
Let me explain why..
You simply wont have enough muscle mass. The real displeasing truth, is that most people have a lot less muscle mass then they actually think they have. Body weight as represented on a scale is made up of much glycogen from the carbohydrates in your diet, body water, body fat, muscle and things such as blood and bones etc (which is why judging your fat loss purely off scale weight only set the best idea).
What this means is that to actually get as much body fat off as you hope to takes an extremely long time, a lot longer then you probably think. As you diet down and carbs get lower, you will lose weight from less glycogen in your muscles and the water that goes with the lost carbohydrates (for every 1g of carbohydrate you eat, you can store 3-4g of water with it). This will mean that when food gets lower, scale weight drops but that does not meant every ounce of weight you lose is body fat. This is why you should chase fat loss not weight loss on a scale.
This clarifies that the process to get your desired level of actual body fat off, is extremely long and very challenging both mentally and physically. Now the question you most likely are asking is “well if I go through the long dieting process and surpass the mental challenge to lose a large amount of body fat, will I be in my ideal shape then?”
The truthful answer is in most cases is, no.
Unless you have been lifting weights consistently for years with nutrition and sleep on point, the harsh reality is you just don’t have enough muscle under the body fat that you have lost. This applies to both male AND female. You need to be strong. This doesn’t mean attending the odd fitness class weekly, or hitting the gym with the lads. This is structured training, getting progressively stronger over time, nailing lifts with good technique and having an ability to feel a muscle work and creating tension in a desired area. This then needs to have been accompanied be quality nutrition with sufficient calories, enough protein on a daily basis and the most worthwhile component of them all – enough sleep.
In most cases, the majority of people don’t embark on a fat loss phase coming from this position. If you don’t have muscle built in the areas such as your core, arms, legs or glutes – when you cut down it wont make chiselled striated muscle randomly appear.
This is why we always encourage everyone to lift weights, eat enough, prioritise stress management, sleep and ENJOY the process of it. If you are at a healthy body fat level and you are only beginning your life in fitness, don’t jump the gun to go get super lean straight away – you wont have the muscle. If you are a beginner and have some weight to lose, lose any excess body fat and get strong in the mean time. When you are in a position to grow and gain muscle from a healthy body fat level, then do so.
Dream physiques that you aspire to are built from years of work. You need to acknowledge where stage you are in and what stage that person is in yer lifting journeys. If they have been lifting weights for 15+ years and you have only been lifting for 2 years, you cant expect to look the same as they do when ye are both lean? But this is the common error often seen, self comparison as a thief of joy.
What you can take home from this is, focus on building lifestyle habits and getting strong over time and not the fact that “oh my god I have no muscle, when I cut down I wont be in shape” or the “I have no hope of getting in shape its too hard and then throwing the toys out the pram”. What you can do is, get in a position of healthy body fat, then focus on eating at an appropriate calorie level with adequate protein intake and then prioritise sleep. Once you can do that then put it on REPEAT on a daily and weekly basis. Repeat it so often that it becomes second nature. Fuel your performance and learn to get strong, and I mean actually strong. Start properly using loaded barbells, bigger dumbbells and some heavy kettle bells. Learn how to TRAIN not just exercise to knock off a few calories. Then stop comparing yourself to social media models, bodybuilders and fit chicks. Training is a state of self development, not a chore you HAVE to do. The sooner you start to believe in that statement, the better your results will be.
In that order.