Many athletes and people participating in fitness wish to lose weight either for health or performance reasons or in order to make a competitive weight category. However, if you lose weight too fast there can be major, and serious, health consequences which can easily result in poorer performance. 95% of people on a diet fail to keep the weight off within a five year period.
There are two main weight loss methods which will an an adverse effect on your performance, these are dehydration and crash dieting. There is very little evidence to prove that a lower body fat/weight will improve your performance. The best way to improve performance is via good nutrition and strenuous training. In fact losing weight quickly can diminish your aerobic capacity. Athletes who have lost 2-3 % body weight through dehydration can have a 5% decrease in their aerobic capacity. Where as those who lose weight via strict dieting can lose up to 10% aerobic capacity.
To lose body fat you must expend more energy than you take up in your food and drink, this is called achieving a negative energy balance.
To lose more fat than muscle ensure you incorporate some weight training and cardiovascular training into your exercise routine.
High intensity cardiovascular exercise are the best kind for fat loss. This will burn more calories more effectively during exercise and, by speeding up your metabolism, will help to keep burning the calories after exercise has finished.. The most important piece of information is the number of calories burned per unit of time. The more calories you expend the greater the amount of fat that will be broken down. For example, walking for 60 minutes will burn approximately 270kcal of which 160kcal (60% calories) comes from fat. Running for 60 minutes will burn 680kcal of which 270kcal (40% calories) comes from fat. Therefore, the running will lead to greater fat loss over the same amount of time.
If you are serious about weight loss and keeping that weight off yet you are failing to lose any weight, or get to a certain weight and are unable to lose more, it is likely that you are not being totally honest with yourself. Be sure to keep a detailed and honest food diary detailing all food and drink consumed throughout each day. Other reasons could be: portion sizes of your food, weekend splurging, daytime starving, evening nibbles, eating too many low fat foods and setting unrealistic weight goals. If a food is low fat (1/2 the fat) this doesn’t mean that you can have double the portion!