Here’s The Secret Reason You’re Not Losing Fat

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Article courtesy of Bodybuilding Muscle Forum

You train hard and, more than that, you diet really hard in order to lose weight, but after weeks or months of a strict program, you actually start to gain fat again. If this sounds familiar to you, then you may have run into a dieter’s worst nightmare and the secret reason you stopped losing: the set point.

The set point theory has at least a couple of components that can work against you, and both of them can be a fat-loss killer. Here’s what you need to know.

Muscle Mass

Muscle mass is your key to success in any physical endeavor, and that goes double for getting lean.

That’s because muscle drives all of your physical activity, AND muscle burns calories even when you’re at rest. That means the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn during your workouts and during the rest of the day.

The problem is that when you drop your calories to very restrictive levels, you will severely compromise your ability to train hard in the gym. Very low energy levels make it nearly impossible to maintain your training poundages, and THAT will lead to muscle loss over time.

Less muscle and a lower calorie burn will result in a fatter physique. This is the point when many trainers give up entirely and spiral into even greater fat gain.

And they’re even worse off than before they started their fat-loss program, because they’ve lost muscle mass and will burn fewer calories on a daily basis.

Hormones

Beyond muscle mass, your appetite and body composition are controlled largely by the  hormones  ghrelin and leptin.

Leptin  regulates appetite and helps you burn fat for energy during times of low calorie consumption. It’s stored in your fat cells, and science has found that  leptin levels fall quickly when you begin to diet.

Ghrelin  leptin’s body-composition-controlling cousin that actually stimulates your appetite AND the release of growth hormone, which can cause you to gain weight. Ghrelin levels rise  during periods of restricted caloric intake, making you hungrier, and ultimately maybe fatter.

Severe dieting, then, can leave you with a hormonal profile that encourages overeating and fat gain, which again can be very discouraging.

What to Do

If you’re not losing the way you think you should be, then the answer often lies in loosening the reins on your diet and exercise a bit. Don’t try to do too much too soon, and make sure your diet does not make you so weak that you can’t train hard in the gym. That’s the key to maintaining muscle mass while dieting.

Of course, even before you undertake a diet and exercise program, you need to see your physician and get a complete physical. Not only can your doctor make sure you’re healthy enough for  hard training, he can also help you make the best choices when it comes to losing fat.

 

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