Fitness and nutrition marketers have made it a difficult task to distinguish fact from crap. Sometimes they take a basic vague concept, such as burn more calories than you consume to lose weight, and twist it or exaggerate it. In this case eating less calories than you burn will cause you to lose weight, but not always fat. Your body will always outsmart you. Sending out signals and causing hormonal changes, will allow your body to change your plans a bit. For example, many people have tried extreme low calorie diets and jogged on a mind-numbing treadmill, only to find the depression and cravings to get the best of them and they "binge" away. For those who have been successful at similar diets will find muscle being the main course for substitution of food (while fat steadily accumulates).
Many companies have made tons of bucks of the consumers ignore. Eat low calories and you will lose weight. However, people want to lose FAT not just weight (which can be anything relating to your mass). Also, many companies will speak of increasing metabolism while cutting calories. This is a confusing idea because generally the metabolism is increased with an increase or maintenance of calories above the BMR (basal metabolic rate) level, not a reduction. In fact, most clients I have trained are shocked to learn they are eating too little to lose body fat. This brings us to the main topic. Calories are simply energy. You need a certain amount of energy for survival and proper body functions. To lose fat and not muscle you need to burn more calories than you consume But you must keep your caloric intake above your BMR (generally speaking, healthy women of average activity are around 1500 k / cal, while men are around 2000 k / cal) . The calories usually recommended by diet and fitness companies are usually lower than what I have provided. Why is this so? Simple, extreme sales. If a healthy women needs 1500 k / cal to maintain proper body functions, live healthy and maintain muscle mass than 1200 k / cal must be the solution to losing rapid weight ?! Right? This solution is fine for someone not planning to be active at all and who has no interest in maintaining a healthy body composition (such as most of the scrawny Hollywood actresses).
Also, there must be a balance of macronutrients to be able to maintain your low body body composition. From what we know, you need a good amount of protein (about 0.8g per kg of body weight). Carbs are necessary fuel and should be used more around your activity times. So do not eat a bag of chips unless you plan to run a few miles or hit the weights. Also, make sure you take in more complex carbs and vegetables than simple carbs. Finally, fat is GOOD. Fat can help you burn fat. You need healthy fats and they should be 30% of all the calories you take in.
As you can see, there is more to calorie counting than you probably thought. It does not have to be over complicated, but basic principles will keep you on track and make sure you can maintain your fat loss success. Now that I filled your head with the nutritional factors, let's put this all together with the activities that will cause fat loss. To keep it simple, I will outline this in three easy steps. Keep these steps in mind when you decide to do a fitness and nutrition program. If it does not follow this basic guide, it probably will not work:
1. Your everyday activities, aerobic activities, and strength and conditioning activities must create a caloric deficiency: It does not matter which of your activities emphasize the most caloric expenditure. As long as you have a deficit created from these activities you are fine. Many trainers and coaches will recommend using aerobics to create the deficit. That is just fine. Each to their own on this point. Just remember you must keep in balance. You still have to consume enough calories so the deficit from your activities do not cause your calories to fall below your BMR (remember this is the amount of calories it takes to keep your body functioning properly).
2. Your training and nutrition needs to keep your metabolism high for long periods of time: This is a factor many people miss and fall short of losing as much fat as they can. Nutrition-wise the metabolism is kept high by keeping your calories above your BMR and eating proper amounts of macronutrients (0.8g per kg of bodyweight protein and 30% of calories from healthy fats). Training-wise the metabolism is effected by a condition called EPOC (simply means your body burns calories just trying to bring your systems back to normal after working out). For the best effects stand up and train more than you sit or laydown. Use free weights at greater ranges of motion and incorporate more of your body per exercise. Great movements such as overhead lunges and squat-thrust will use up a lot of your body's muscle and energy (calories). Also, aerobics by nature do very little to stimulate muscle activity. You need to have a point where muscle is stimulated to make sure fat oxidation is high. The best choice is interval training. Simply go as fast as possible for a short distance or time period and go slower for a longer distance or time period. Then just continue to rotate the "interviews" of fast and slower for a good time period like eight minutes (if you can go past ten minutes you need to go faster).
3. Technique needs to be upheld over duration: This is not necessarily a rule for burning the most fat. However, it will keep you from injuring yourself and falling out of training, which will stop you from burning fat. Always keep your technique solid. If you need to squat for twenty repetitions, but find you can only make it to fourteen with good form, then do not go past fourteen until you can with good form. This will keep you from gaining bad habits and injuring joints. If you can not train because of an injury then you can not get to your fatloss goal, period.
Use this guide and distinguish the fact from crap for fat loss information.