We all want a fit and trim figure, but to have a lean body—one weighted more toward muscle than fat—that’s something to celebrate! And the way to burn not just calories, but fat, is through a combination of healthy eating and strength training.
What’s the first thing the average person does to drop pounds? Cut calories by eating less. And the second? Burn calories by exercising more. And all because fewer calories leads to fewer pounds, right? Right—to a point.
Research shows that restricting calories can reverse your fortune if you overdo it. Consuming too few calories sends famine signals to your body, which reins in your metabolism in order to conserve energy. This in turn slows, and may even halt, weight loss. How do you keep the fires of calorie-burn bright and, better yet, shrink fat and not muscle? With a combination of regular strength training and healthy eating.
Get strong to get lean
A small study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition that looked at 17 women and 3 men who restricted calories to 800 a day found that both lean body weight (LBW) and resting metabolism declined but those who performed strength training were able to preserve LBW and metabolism compared with a group that did aerobic exercise.
Strength training alone may not torch as many calories as cardio within the same time frame, but what it does way better than cardio is build muscle, which boosts resting metabolism and accelerates weight loss. Better yet, research indicates that women and men who strength train two or three times a week lose a noticeable portion of that weight in body fat after a few months.
The Curves workout is double the fun and effectiveness—you get strength and cardio in only 30 minutes. How sweet is that?
Fuel muscle not fat
And speaking of sweets, if you want to trim fat from your figure, keep foods high in added sugar like pastries, desserts, and candy to a minimum. Your body burns glucose (blood sugar), along with some protein and fat, for fuel throughout the day, but excess glucose gets stored as—you guessed it—fat.
Of course, you don’t want to overdo it on high-fat foods either because they are calorie-dense. While protein and carbohydrates deliver 4 calories per gram, fat carries 9 calories per gram, which can add up quickly if you’re doing the math or checking your weight on the scale.
Is there anything you can eat more of to help you achieve your weight- and fat-loss goals? Yes, protein—it’s the building block of calorie-burning muscle and it helps keep you satisfied so you don’t overeat. In addition, research has shown that a higher protein, calorie-restricted diet is associated with greater fat loss than a lower protein, calorie-restricted plan.
Furthermore, a 2009 study found that individuals who followed higher-protein weight-loss plan lost more abdominal fat (associated with cardiovascular disease) than those on a standard-protein diet—even more reason to get plenty of protein throughout the day.
Consider Curves Complete
Setting an appropriate calorie goal for weight loss, participating regularly in a strength-training program, and following a diet with the best carb, protein, and healthy fat ratios is included in one simple plan—Curves Complete. All you need to do is get with the program so to speak and watch the pounds, and fat, peel away.