A combination of strength and cardio training and a customized nutritional pattern will provide the best results if you want to lose weight. Every kilogram of fat in your body supplies 7000kcal of energy and you will only use this by consuming this energy. You do this by moving, but also train your muscles and pay attention to the correct diet.
Although a kilo of fat contains a lot of body energy, it’s difficult for your body to use this energy. That’s because fat is a type of slow energy – which means that it is only used by the body at intense effort, because your body takes energy from other sources at those times. Kilos of fat are therefore not easy to reduce. Watch out for that when dieting. Slowly losing weight has the added advantage that muscle mass can be more easily maintained.
Your daily energy use is made up of three components:
- Your metabolism
- The thermal effect of food
- The thermal effect of labour
Metabolism is the amount of energy you lose when you sit still all day and eat nothing. How much this is depends on your body weight and age. Since fat is slow energy and your body uses mostly fat at rest, your metabolism is an important factor when you want to lose weight. The height of your metabolism is determined by your muscle mass for 22%. This means that when you lose muscle mass, your metabolic rate is also less high which means you’ll lose less weight when at rest.
The thermal effect of food
The thermal effect of food means that when you eat your body temperature becomes higher. Additionally, extreme diets often result in unwanted effects, because your body has insufficient opportunities to use its own body fat as an alternative source of energy. This breaks down muscle tissue to meet the energy needs – something to be avoided, because less muscle mass reduces your metabolism. If you go back to your regular eating pattern afterwards, your metabolism will have gone down so much that you will quickly gain the weight back and usually end up a few kilos heavier than before weight loss.
Thermal effect of labour
You consume energy every day by moving. Through these physical activities, you also produce heat.
Power training helps to lose weight
Strength training helps to maintain muscle mass and this muscle mass helps you to lose weight faster. The more muscles you have, the more energy your body consumes and the more weight you lose, because your body will get more energy from your fat stores. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism. Burning fat after strength training has been increased by 60%. With strength training you do muscle-enhancing exercises – in a controlled way -, making the exercises gradually a little bit more difficult. This gives you more strength and more muscle mass. It is recommended to do strength training at least two to three times a week – this can be combined with cardio workouts. Give your muscles a minimum of 24 hours of rest after training before starting a new training session.
Weight loss often happens in combination with cardio training. When doing so, a moderately intensive cardio at 60 to 70% of your maximum heart rate is often the starting point. An intensive cardio training of one hour costs more energy (600 kcal) than an intensive power training of the same duration (400 kcal). However, power training in combination with cardio training is important because otherwise you’ll lose muscle mass. In addition, strength training combined with cardio training leads to more fat loss than when you only do cardio training. Cardio training mainly serves to support weight loss in order to increase energy consumption. Be careful not to do too much cardio training: this is just as bad for you as too strict diets. You can lose muscle mass and therefore reduce your metabolism.
When you start exercising to lose weight, it is always advisable to consult a GP or physiotherapist beforehand. It is useful to combine intensive training with moderate workouts, such as walking or cycling. A weight loss of a half to one kilogram per week is realistic and safe.