Posted on October 31, 2019 by Kate Halsall

The Personal Training Team here at motive8 got together yesterday for a staff training session on weight loss vs fat loss. We discussed exercise programming, nutrition, personal experiences and sooooo many other things. Josh even prepared a power point presentation!! Some of you may be surprised to know that we are actually a very intelligent team! Joking aside, it was a great way to get an insight to the way that we work both as individuals and as a team and it’s only right, that I share our findings.

What is Weight Loss?

Simply put – it’s a number on the scales. Let’s not try and fluff this up in anyway – that weight represents EVERYTHING in your body. It’s your muscle mass, your fat, your bones, blood and water. So “weight loss” itself is about losing some of this body composition. And yes it is possible to drop weight quickly. And when that number on the scales goes down, it could represent some fat loss yes. But it’s also going to represent some loss of muscle and water too (we’re assuming you’re not going to remove any bones or blood to make a difference to the scales!). So are the scales accurate? Yes they are…. BUT! Hard truth time here; if you’re going to use scales, here are our recommendations:

  • You need to take emotion out of the numbers. If you get hung up on weight, then tracking this way is not for you.
  • Weigh yourself every day at exactly the same, on the same scales, undressed and – not to put too fine a point on it – after having been to the toilet! Then take an average over the 7 days.
  • Be aware that for women, different times of the month will make weight fluctuate more than others.

Are we saying not to focus on weight loss? No not really. For example, if you are sedentary and overweight, for joint health and to minimise risks of “lifestyle diseases” you should look to lose weight. It’s just that the team here firmly believe that if weight loss is something that you want to achieve, you need to lose “healthy weight” – and by that we mean body fat.

What is Fat Loss?

Simply put – it’s loss of fat! And again, we need to get real here – fat loss is not necessarily reflected on the scales. You can have a 60kg woman with a body fat percentage of 20% and a 60kg woman with a body fat percentage of 40%. And this is where some people will give up with their “diets” and their “training” – as losing fat is often not as quick as weight loss.

But hey – here’s the good news – it is possible to have low fat but be heavy on the scales. YAY! Is this because muscle weighs more than fat? Absolutely NOT! 1lb of fat weighs the same as 1lb of muscle (I’m no mathematical genius but even I know that) – it’s just that 1lb of fat takes up more space than 1lb muscle! And for this reason, unlike the scales; it means we have to use other measurement or tracking sources: cm/inches, progress pictures, body fat measurements, clothing and so on.

Programming and Nutrition for Fat Loss

Ok. Here’s the not so great truth. There is no one hard and fast method, no miracle “follow this plan and lose this much”. It is different for everyone.

We discussed how many times someone should train a week, what types of training should they be doing, how many sets and reps and so on. And honestly – there are no set rules.

We all agreed that movement was important. This movement should include compound lifts regardless or whether they are weighted or not. But reps and sets? That ultimately depends on your capabilities and your goals outside of the losing weight or fat one. And I’m afraid that it’s the same for nutrition too. We all agreed you need to be in calorie deficit, and you need to find something that you can stick to with appropriate protein intake. Your “diet” should be more of a conscious effort – but which “diet” you chose, or method for reducing your calorie intake you pick – that’s up to you!