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Weight Loss
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Burn Fat and Not Build Muscle...!!? :S

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I'm 19 Female, 5 foot 3" tall.

Weigh 155 lbs and want to go down to 126 lbs

I'm doing cardio at the gym 3-4 times a week, last 2 times i went i've started to try out HIIT because the long cardio low intensity exercising i was doing didnt seem to be working...(i started doing HIIT on  the treadmill- 60 secs at 5mph followed by 45-60 secs at 7.5 mph all at 3% incline and then repeating this cycle for 20 mins)

The thing im concerned about though is, im worried about building muscle rather than losing the fat that i have, readings say i have too much body fat for my age height etc.

What type of exercise is best for losing the fat rather than building muscle....and what should i avoid doing so i dont build muscle before i lose fat...!?

please give ur thoughts, i love this site since i found it not long ago, it's so addictive! :)

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this is a funny question.  if you lose weight and build muscle, what is it that you think you're losing? 

the truth is, you won't gain muscle while you're losing weight/on a diet.  you can't.  you can't get bigger if your body's feeding off itself (which is what it does when you're on a diet--that's how you get smaller).  the best you can do is try to maintain as much muscle as possible while losing as much fat as possible (so you don't end up weak and all-blubber when you're 10lbs lighter).

all exercise burns calories, so it's all good for losing fat.  strength training's the only exercise that will build muscle, although you'd have to be in a caloric surplus to gain muscle (so if you're on a diet doing strength training, you'll be maintaining your muscle while you lose weight).  also, strength training keeps your metabolism high, which is always a good thing for fat loss.  ppl have really great results from hiit trainin, so i think your exercise is right on the money (though i'd definitely suggest adding a weight lifting regimen).  good luck!

Yeah, i see what your saying. I've just been exercising and dieting for about 4 weeks now and havnt seen much difference while i did low intensity stuff and was told i may be building muscle rather than losing fat ? :S

so going to try out the HIIT for a while see how that goes..

what sort of weight lifting should i be doing, how heavy and how many reps per session?

I don't exactly get what is so bad about building muscle.. doesn't make sense to me. Cardio doesn't build muscle, so you should be ok.. i guess

well if i start doing weight training aswell as cardio, i dont want to get any bigger by building muscle... i want to get smaller while burning n losing fat...


Its very difficult to actually build muscle. At least, a lot of it.  Plus, its about how you look, right?  If you look like you have the body that you want, what does it matter how much you weigh?

I'd just stick to the regime, and wait it out (no pun intended).  You'll see results eventually

follow the body for life actually works, and you won't bulk up, but you will tone up quick.

You are either building muscle or you are not. There is no such thing as "toning" like how you mean it.


Like already mentioned, if you're not eating enough to be able to keep yourself at your current weight, how the hell would you be able to actually ADD mass in the form of muscle??

I used to have the same goal as you do, but then a trainer at the gym sat me down and explained that it is good to strength train because muscle burns calories at rest.  I was plateaued for a LONG time doing just cardio (60 min a day, 5-6 days a week) and eating 1200-1500 calories (varying between the two purposefully) throughout the week.  

I met with a trainer when after two months of this I didn't lose an ounce (I would gain and lose the same 3-4 pounds over and over!).  I don't eat any junk -- I do Clean Eating mostly with some total vegan days -- and my only vice is a glass or two of red wine most nights of the week (within calories, though).

My trainer said the only way to break through the plateau and also begin to see the lean, mean machine I wanted to be was to strength train at least 2-3 times  a week for 30 minutes.  I use a heart rate monitor and so he told me to trade out 2 or 3 cardio sessions for circuit strength training.  

I start out with 15 minutes of cardio work to get my heart rate up (I aim for 140-150 on my HRM).  Then I start right in with the strength training alternating body parts so that I give one part a rest while I work out another (ex: start with 50 crunches, right into 2 sets of 10 reps 10 lb. curls into 2 sets 10 squats with medicine ball).  I aim to keep my HR elevated about 122 throughout so that I am also getting a "cardio" heart workout.

I love the new toned version of me.  I stopped worrying about the numbers of the scale.  I only lost 5 pounds since I started this new routine, but I've dropped two clothing sizes and everyone thinks I've lost at least 10-15 pounds.  I feel fantastic (even with a two week hiatus due to vacation and sick kids).  Don't be afraid of muscle -- muscle will make you smaller faster (1 pound of feathers vs. one pound of gold theory).  I used to weigh ten pounds less and was in one clothing size larger than I am now.  Crazy!


If you don't wanna build muscle, cardio's the way to go. :/ But the truth is that building muscle can help weight loss by speeding up metabolism.



that was a wonderfully encouraging post! I've been trying to change my build for a bit, and I'm losing enthusiasm, having seen no difference in my composition after two months.

Do you recall how long it took you to start seeing changes? I know change doesn't come overnight; I didn't get to where I am now overnight, either!

i've been weight training now for about 20 years.  everyone gains muscle mass at varying rates.  there are two basic types of muscle fibers, fast-twitch and slow-twitch.  the former type is developed pretty quickly and tends to have larger fibers, more noticable.  the latter is the 'endurance' type of muscle and takes a little longer to develop.  some people, myself included, have more fast-twitch development.  this makes the muscles more heavy, but not necessarily stronger.  its a misnomer that those big, muscley guys at the gym are strong.  i'm sure they are, but not so much as you might think.  some ppl can lift and lift and lift and never gain much muscle at all.  others can lift a feather and get muscley.  so what you develop in bulk is totally personal.  only a professional trainer can advise you on that, someone who knows your physique. 

i agree, stewmama is well-informed.  great info.  thanks for that!  its true that you do burn more calories just sitting if you have more muscle mass.  there are two schools of belief about the fat-burning idea.  one is that you work out on an empty stomach and burn fat reserves rather than glucose/glycogen in your blood derived from food.  the other is that you ingest food with carbs, which converts to glucose/glycogen in your body, feeding your muscles, build muscle and raise your metabolism.  the latter way is by far more healthy, in my humble opinion.  if you exercise on an empty stomach regularly your metabolism will actually slow down.  this makes it even harder to lose weight.  not to mention, 'the wall' is a serious bummer.  i'm talking chronic lethargy, headaches, sometimes stomach cramps.  marathon runners hit it when all the available glycogen has been depleted.  but in order to actually burn fat during exercise you have to hit the wall.  i'll build muscle on glucose and let the muscles feed on the fat while resting.  but a word of caution: do not go into weight training without reading a little on it first.  you need enough protein for your body and at the right times to build the muscle continuously.  it's a little complicated but once you understand the basics of how it works it's easy, especially if you're like me and you just LOVE lifting weights and seeing your own bulging muscles!

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how much weight have you lost in those 4 weeks?....if you dont mind me askin
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