I review a lot of fat loss programs.
From the most underground e-books, to the latest best seller on Amazon, I’ve read through stacks of them.
Actually, I USED TO.
I avoid reading that kinda stuff these days because, well most of the time, once I finished reading a diet book, I feel like I need to take a shower.
They are just that sleazy.
Sure, they’re some of the greatest examples of marketing this side of beer commercials, but the actual information in them is a combination of basic good nutritional practices (you should eat more fruits and vegetables) and make-believe (never eat carbohydrates past 6:45 pm when in combination with fats).
Most of the time the marketing story starts like this… “My special ‘melt the lard’ program guarantees you will lose fat fast without losing any muscle”.
The part I have a trouble with is the “without losing any muscle”.
It seems losing muscle is something everyone is deathly afraid of doing…
And that it’s somehow something that typically happens when dieting.
Here’s my issue with this:
Most of the bodybuilders, athletes and fitness models I’ve talked with are convinced that they lose muscle when they are dieting.
But they are exactly the people who probably shouldn’t worry.
Here’s the truth about losing muscle mass while dieting. I don’t believe it. Not at all.
I have taken over one hundred body fat measurements on amateur body builders and fitness models.
None of them lost any more than 1 or 2 pounds of lean mass while dieting for a competition!
They drop anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds of fat, but lose almost no muscle!
My measurements were taken with a BodPod, and validated with both skin fold calipers and limb circumference measurements, so I’m sure they were accurate.
And, these are the same findings that are being published in peer reviewed research papers (so it’s not just me).
All of these athletes were on different types of low calorie diets and loads of different supplements or no supplements at all; however, none of them were losing muscle.
This is for one reason and one reason only.
People who are weight training while dieting (within reason) WILL NOT LOSE MUSCLE.
I believe this is for one main reason.
In MASSIVELY over-simplified terms: By lifting weights, you are telling your body you need that muscle.
Your body recognizes that need, and thinks:
“Whoa. Looks like I’m dieting again. I need to burn something for some extra energy but if I get rid of some of this muscle, it’ll make this whole lifting weights thing even harder. I better keep this muscle and burn something else, maybe this fat over here…”
So as long as your diet doesn’t consist of “eat nothing for 6 months straight” the number one way to ensure you don’t lose any muscle while you are dieting is by lifting weights.
Protein may play a role on in this (almost all of the people I was tracking were eating a high protein diet), and even I’m a fan of slightly higher than average protein intake (not daily, but as a running average) but other than that, no fancy diet program works better than weight training for preventing you from losing muscle while you are dieting.
So here’s the issue.
In food marketing, you can’t do this.
You can’t put “Fat Free” on an apple…because it’s obvious that it is fat free and implies that other apples may not be fat free.
You can’t put “Calorie Free” on a bottle of water..because again, its obvious and it implies that other water isnt’ fat free (real water, not sports water or any of that nonsense)
It gets even trickier…
Since most diets IMPLY that muscle loss is a GIANT risk, it almost becomes a necessity that you advertise that muscle loss won’t happen (I state this with Eat Stop Eat all the time, mostly because, whether right or wrong, it is something people are now extremely worried about).
So bottome line:
Misleading advertising creates bad public perception and public beliefs.
In other words, it’s because of Misleading advertising that I almost have to say…Eat Stop Eat won’t make you lose muscle as long as you are resistance training, nor will most other diets.