Training for Fat Loss

Someone asked a question on my IG story yesterday and then one of my clients had a pretty similar question so I figured it would make a fun blog topic!

The question was, does Neurotype training help people who have a lot of fat to lose? My client’s question was, should I lift heavier weight for less reps or more reps with less weight for fat loss?

So let’s talk about the truth about training for fat loss!

Here’s the deal.. using exercise as the primary driver for fat loss is a terrible strategy. There are several reasons for this. First, consider that the amount of exercise you do to lose fat is the same amount you’ll need to do to maintain (for the most part). You may even need to do more exercise to maintain because your body adapts so if eating 1500 calories per day and exercising 6x per week is your new maintenance, losing more fat becomes a pretty shitty situation.

Also, exercise is likely to drive up your hunger and increase cravings which make dietary adherence an issue. This is extremely important because your nutrition is going to be the primary driver for your fat loss efforts.

If nutrition is on point then the next most important thing is movement.

Note: movement, not exercise.

When it comes to energy expenditure, daily movement like walking, fidgeting, running errands, etc is the single most variable factor. Meaning, we have a lot of control over how much we burn through daily activity more than anything else. Yes, we can increase our BMR, but only very slightly. Yes, we can increase the thermic effect of food, but only very slightly. We can increase the number of calories we burn through exercise, but only very slightly. NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) can make up 10-50% of our total daily energy expenditure depending on the person!

So what’s the point of training?? Quite simply, when we’re trying to lose fat, training is responsible for sending the signal to our bodies that we should be holding on to that precious muscle tissue we have! When you lift weights you are telling your body to be inefficient with calories. To preserve lean muscle mass. The only option then is to tap into stored body fat for energy.

That’s the reason why strength training should be the focus of your efforts and not cardio. When we do cardio as the primary driver of fat loss, we are sending the signal to our bodies to be efficient with calories. Muscle is an expensive tissue (requires more energy to maintain) and therefore our bodies interpret that as a reason to break down that tissue and use it for energy when cardio is the main form of exercise.

The beautiful thing about a low-intensity activity like walking is that it won’t interfere with your efforts to maintain lean mass. If anyone tells you to walk less due to breaking down muscle.. tell them politely to mind their business. Walking can be restorative and stress relieving. Now if you’re walking crazy hills or at a high intensity, that’s a different story 🙂

So what about Neurotype training or the style of training for fat loss? This is where recovery and adaptation come into play. The magic of Neurotype training is that it minimizes the stress response from training because we’re working with your physiological makeup. So it’s quite effective for fat loss. Although certainly not necessary. Any form of resistance training done consistently is going to be beneficial as long as we remember the goal: send the signal to our bodies to hold on to muscle! High reps will do that. Low reps will do that. The main thing is consistency.

Yes, there are other factors that come in to play like how much stress do you have in your life and hormonal balance and gut health etc. But the basics of fat loss are simple. Nutrition reigns supreme. Movement is next. Training is third.

How about duration? My favorite answer that you all should know by now… it depends! Should fat loss be the same length of time for everyone? Of course not. That’s asinine. Fat loss should be for as long as it’s sustainable and as long as you’re making progress. That’s where biofeedback is so important. It helps you determine if you’ve reached a plateau that can be overcome or if it’s time to pivot.

If you ONLY rely on data like weight and macros, you are leaving some massive holes in the process of knowing what to do.

Your nutrition coach should be asking for biofeedback markers along with data and your life situation to get a clear picture of what steps to take. That’s the art of coaching 🙂