We are at a time of year when the Purpose of amendment in different areas of our life it takes on a special role. And perhaps one of the most recurrent aspects is the one that refers to slim down. More, if we take into account the excesses that we can commit in the main Christmas celebrations and that some experts place between 3 and 5 kilos of additional weight in just two or three weeks.
Furthermore, in a world ravaged by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, we know that obesity behaves as a risk factor for severe forms of COVID-19. “80% of the patients who had severe forms of the infection, who required intubation, mechanical ventilation in the ICU and died, were obese. Thus, obesity is the main factor of poor prognosis in COVID-19 infection” , explains Susana Monereo, head of the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service at the Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital (Madrid).
So, maybe this is the right time to share that not everything goes in the weight loss process. There are shapes and forms. “Losing weight is easy. Almost everyone who tries succeeds. The really difficult thing is to maintain the lost weightor. Less than 10% of those who diet actually weigh less after a few years. In fact, most end up weighing more than when they started. Ironically, poorly performed diets make you fat, and each failed attempt takes you further away from your goal, ”explains Marcos Vázquez, creator of the Fitness Revolutionary blog.
Hence it is not unreasonable to say that There are fattening diets. And this happens because they are based exclusively on the caloric deficit when in reality, in addition to eating fewer calories, it is necessary to incorporate sufficient protein and strength training into the diet.
“Many believe that it is impossible to gain muscle mass and lose fat at the same time, but they are wrong. In beginners it is not only possible but more likely if you eat enough protein (1.5-2 grams per kg of body weight) and do strength training.In fact, the better you do your first diet, the better you will do in the following ones. And backwards. If after a failed diet you end up gaining fat and losing muscle, your metabolism will be worse than when you started and your next attempt will be even more difficult ”, indicates Vázquez, who supports his message in an abundant scientific literature, such as a study published years ago in Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism.
“One study divided overweight police officers into three groups. One group simply went on a diet, cutting calories by 20%. The other two groups, in addition to cutting calories, added strength training and a protein supplement (one group took casein and the other whey), to reach 1.5 g / kg of protein per day. At 12 weeks, the groups that trained strength and added more protein lost significantly more fat and gained muscle. However, those who only dieted lost less fat, in addition to losing muscle, ”explains Marcos Vázquez.
“Protein supplements are not necessary. The same effects would have been achieved with food, but the supplement can help meet the requirements with minimal additional calories, “adds the expert.
The three most important factors in fat loss
When starting a weight loss process it is clear what we mean and what we intend with it caloric deficit. Basically it is about eating less than what we spend to force the body to cover the difference with fat reserves. By doing this, we will lose weight, but it is possible that, as we mentioned at the beginning, we are part of the 90 percent of people who fail.
Therefore it is necessary to add to the equation a adequate protein intake -in addition to increasing satiety, mitigates metabolic slowdown and loss of muscle mass- and strength training -preserves muscle mass and smoothes the metabolic slowdown- so that we are closer to achieving our goals.
Just strength training?
Although we have seen the importance of strength training, it does not mean that we should ignore other types of physical routines, such as the more traditional cardio. In fact, recent research, published in Obesity Reviews, concludes that the most effective approach to burning fat is combination of high intensity aerobic exercise and high load strength training– Provides better results to decrease abdominal fat, improve lean body mass, and increase cardiorespiratory fitness.