Training during the weight loss phase is one of the most important factors to consider if your goal is to lose weight healthily.
One important mention is the fact that during a period of weight loss, you lose not only fat, but lean body mass as well.
This includes muscle tissue, organ tissue, bone tissue and technically everything else except fat.
Why you SHOULD Train During Weight Loss
Carefully managing your weight loss period across the aspects of nutrition and training is essential for minimizing those lean body mass losses.
Especially when it comes to training, this is what will actually give a reason to the body to retain its muscle mass.
Think of it this way - If you use the muscles, that directly tells the body “we’re going to need this!”.
This in turn will favor muscle protein synthesis and when paired with good nutrition, it will also minimize muscle protein breakdown.
The end result? A healthier period of weight loss, during which you have increased mood and energy for all your physical and mental activities.
Now let’s see the MOST IMPORTANT considerations when approaching training.
What type of training should you choose?Generally, when it comes to training for fat loss, many people think of extensive, low-intensity cardio sessions.
And though that type of exercise helps you burn more energy and make it easier to create a caloric deficit, it is not optimal for the retention of lean body mass.
Resistance training is one of the BEST tools you can use for that purpose, but you can still add cardio sessions, after resistance training.
Overall, your goal with resistance training would be to train each muscle group once every 72-96 hours.
Now let us tell you more about the separate aspects of your workout.
Training IntensityDuring a period of weight loss, you subject yourself to a deficit of energy, meaning that you are below your body’s maintenance needs.
This lesser amount of energy implies that you might have suboptimal recovery after a workout.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train it all, but rather, you should manage your training intensity.
Training at moderately high intensity can help you avoid suboptimal recovery and can be realized in a couple of ways:
In doing all of this, you will ensure that there is a good stimulus, but also enough energy to recover from it.
Training FrequencyWhen you workout, you practically break down muscle proteins and then, re-build them to improve the performance and appearance of your muscles.
Since recovery isn’t instant, you’d need to grant a sufficient time frame before training a given muscle group again.
This would generally be around 48-96 hours, which would allow for good recovery and increased performance.
Besides training intensity and frequency, you also have to consider the number of sets and repetitions that you’ll be doing for each body part.
For the general trainee, doing 5+ challenging working sets per muscle group trained in a workout, is the best approach, given that you exercise each muscle group twice a week.
The widely accepted effective training volume forms at 10-20 working sets, per muscle group, per week.
Of course, if you are a beginner or intermediate, you will be in the lower range of that spectrum.
The more you advance, the more you increase sets, reps, and weight.
When To Train?Alright, you have a workout plan in place but what is actually the best time to train when the goal is losing fat?
Will fasted training in the morning maybe produce more results?
Well, at equated caloric deficits, training timing won’t make a big impact on total amount of fat lost, HOWEVER…
The more energy you have available before a workout, the better you will perform and thus, the better the end result will be.
Furthermore, your body runs a biological cycle that is intricately connected with the Day & Night cycle of the Earth.
As light goes through your eyes, it gives a signal to the brain, which in turn releases serotonin.
Serotonin makes you feel awake, alert & energized.
By afternoon, you would already be a couple of meals into your day (plenty of energy), and will have a good amount of serotonin produced.
If you look closely, the period between 2 and 5 pm is when you feel most alert and active.
Using resistance training as a tool to optimize your fat loss process, is one of the best practices for any individual looking to get fit.
Your workouts should consist of a good number of challenging working sets, that should not be taken to failure, due to the fact you are in an energy deficit.
Ultimately, your best bet would be to do these workouts in the afternoon, but this can be adjusted to your schedule.
Combining an adequate approach to training & nutrition will allow you to create sustainable results, that will give you health in your older years.
I have been weight training, running and cycling for 38 years and I have gained a vast amount of experience in fitness both as a Soldier in The British Army and in the past 22 years having been involved in the fitness industry.