Discriminate Weight Loss

By Joshua Trentine, OVERLOAD Fitness

If I look back over the last 20 plus years of training people, the most common goal I have heard from them is, “I would really like to lose some weight.” Is it possible that the average person is really this out of touch with their goals or has this just become the language we loosely use to describe a situation? Regardless, I would like to enhance our language sophistication and clarify what I believe the real goal is when a client makes this statement. I believe that if we don’t state our goals clearly and have a fi rm understanding of what they mean then the path to achieving them will become blurry.

I do not believe that most, if any, clients should be concerned about “cutting weight” unless they might be a competitive athlete trying to make a weight class for sport. I do believe that what is meant by this statement is that the client is hoping to lose body fat and trying to improve overall body composition (ratio of fat to lean mass). This is often called discriminate
weight loss and this differentiation is well worth mentioning when assessing a means to the end goal.

When many people embark on the ambiguous goal of just “weight loss,” they may create a plan of deprivation, they may go through periods of severe calorie restriction and begin a regiment of daily steady state activity (jogging, biking, walking etc.). If they approach their goal this way, they are likely to achieve that particular outcome, but is that what was really desired? I say no, let’s explore this further.

Let’s just say a person consistently follows the plan above and they do achieve their hypothetical 20 pound weight loss goal. From my experience, the person who does this, in this manner, will likely lose close to 10 pounds of muscle and around 10 pounds of fat in the process. Both long duration steady state activity and severe calorie restriction will result in some fat loss, but will also cause sarcopenia-muscle wasting. The end result, if carried too far or too long, will be metabolic damage—a reduction in metabolic rate due to a loss of lean mass and a disruption of optimal thyroid and adrenal hormone output. The result of this metabolic damage
could be a rapid fat gain if, or when, normal or higher levels of calories are introduced. The metabolic damage can cause a loss of functional abilities and may contribute to the degenerative process, which means more rapid aging.

The method to achieving discriminate weight loss, primarily fat loss, is really quite simple…

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