There is a commonly repeated, regurgitated yet FALSE idea being passed around mainstream fitness. That myth is:
“If you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose fat”
This. Is. Wrong.
Our bodies are not calculators. Hormones, genetics, what you eat and how you workout affect fat loss WAY more than how many calories you consume. Not only is there no accurate way to test how many calories you burn but eating at a “caloric deficit” will often cause your body to burn muscle as opposed to fat.
Your body is a lot smarter than you give it credit for. Muscle provides much more energy and nutrients than fat, which is why when taxed, your body will often consume your muscle.
How do you stop your body from eating muscle? Style of training.
Look at long distance runners, very little fat, but also very little muscle. Their bodies consume the muscle for energy because you can’t run off fat for a marathon. Now look at sprinters. Ripped right? They cary a pretty decent amount of muscle, and they are just as lean if not leaner than most distance runners.
To lose fat you have to give your body a reason to get rid of it, without going overboard. If you sprint, and sprint often, your body can recognize the fat is weighing you down, thus making the spring harder, and it will burn the fat over muscle. But if you throw you body into catabolic mode by taxing it beyond a healthy level, adios muscle.
Also, according to this “rule”, I could eat 2,500 calories worth of pizza and as long as I burn 2,600 a day, I will be lean. So false. You have to put the proper nutrients in your body to keep it running efficiently. 3,000 calories of nutrient dense food will make you leaner than 2,000 calories of crap.
Sprint, lift, eat, become lean and muscular.
Finally, someone else on the same wave length. If simply having a calorie deficit caused you to lose weight I’d be underweight by now, yet I’m not. In fact my body fights to keep the fat on if I dip more than a few hundred under my maintenance level. This results in frustratingly slow weight loss but I’ve decided to put a positive spin on it. If I have to eat this way long enough it will eventually become my permanent eating habits and that greatly raises my odds of being able to keep it up long after the fat is gone.