I often hear from people that when it comes to fitness their goal is to lose fat and tighten up their trouble zones (stomach, butt, thighs, etc.) and while the fat loss seems to be the top priority the goal of having a tight, ‘toned’ body never really goes away. They expect to look a certain way after it’s done with fat loss. But in reality, these are two separate goals.
Achieve Your All Your Fitness Goals
Set Clear Goals
Losing fat requires calorie deficit, which isn’t favorable to gaining muscle (or tone and definition if you will) unless you are a total beginner with a lot of excess fat. And building muscle requires you to eat above your caloric need to increase the size of your muscles. Thus, when setting up a fitness goal it should be clear and simple. Looking good in general isn’t as clear of a fitness goal as building x pounds of muscle or losing x pounds of fat. It’s just an abstract idea of how you want to ideally look like. To actually achieve that, you have to have more clear goals.
Assess and Prioritize
Losing fat is great, gaining muscle is also great. What should you do first? Well, that depends on your fitness level and your general goal. Most people cannot do both at the same time so you can really go either way about it. Remember though that after extensive fat loss all the stretched skin will sag so it’s better to do weight lifting during that period to either build some muscle (if you are a beginner) or maintain whatever muscle you have to prevent excess skin from sagging too much.
If you have insignificant levels of fat but want to change your body composition (build bigger butt, legs, or shoulders and back) you might gain some muscle first and then cut the body fat percentage down. Just be careful with the caloric surplus if you don’t want to gain even more fat.
Calorie deficit or surplus may directly influence our weight and size but our training is what changes the body composition. Weight (resistance) training that is. Yes, you can build it doing other things, especially sports but if you just want to change the way your body looks, it’s the most effecient way to go about it. Cardio and cirquits will increase your endurance and help burn calories but won’t change the body composition. It is also important in maintaining muscle mass when you are trying to lose fat.
My final point is, don’t just go around trying to do all at once. You will gain some fat (depends on you) while trying to build muscle. You might not like the way your body looks once you’ve lost weight. Getting close to the picture in your head takes time and shifts in your diet and training program. Setting clear goals will help you get there much faster than a fancy all in one program that will probably not give you the results you want.