Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss

It seems that people around me are still having obsession about having the ideal weight. For example someone with the height of 175cm will try to achieve the weight of 73kg. This is because he will achieve a BMI of 23.8 which is consider as normal. However many are still unaware that there several factors which contributes to their body weight.

Being Heavy Does Not Mean You’re Fat

Body weights are contributed by several factors such as fats, muscles, and water in your body. Image below describes how two person who has the same body weight but different body figure.

Source: How Stuff Works

As you can see both men has the same BMI but different figures. The person on the left has muscular figure and his weight is contributed mostly by his muscle. While the person on the right has his weight contributed mostly by fat. Based on this we are able to tell that losing weight does not mean that you are losing fat.

Losing Weight vs Losing Fat

Now that we know that body weight is contributed by several factors we should also know that by losing weight does not guarantee a fat loss.

It is possible for an individual to have different weights within several days as he could be losing or gaining water in the body. Our body consists of 75% of water. By lowering down the consumption of water we could easily drop our body weights. However it is unhealthy to do so. The figure from the scale might be nice to look at but the body will not be in a good condition.

One can also lose weight by consuming lesser calories than they should. As discussed in my previous post. This will cause your body to get into starvation mode which in the long run may cause you to experience yo-yo effect. Once that happen it will be harder to cut down.

However it is possible that you could be losing fat too. However it takes longer than few days to burn the fat on our body. This is because the type of fat that contributed to high fat percentage is usually visceral fat. About.com defines visceral fat as

Fat located in the peritoneal cavity (abdominal area) that surrounds the body’s internal organs.

The easiest way to identify if you have gained or lose fat is by checking your waist size.


By now I hope you are able to differentiate the difference between fat loss and weight loss. In order to achieve these two there are different type of workouts you can do.

Workouts For Weight Loss

I personally think that people who are physically obese should be focusing on weight loss. This is because to lose weight you will need to do long cardio instead of short and highly intense. Their physical condition usually  limits them from performing high intensity workout.

To lose weight you can perform workouts such as 30 minutes of jogging and do it at least three times a week. Or a 45 minutes walk daily. This will help you to lower the amount of water and fat in the body until you are fit and strong enough to perform high intensity workouts.

Weights lifting helps too however there are possibilities where your fat could be turned into muscles. This may affect the number on the scale. Unless you are planning not to look at the scale at all then I encourage you to do this as well. But focusing more on cardio exercise.

Workouts For Fat Loss

Losing fat is not as easy as losing weight. Hence the workouts is not the same either. It is more intense and tiring. However the result will be good.

The most common method to burn fat is weight lifting. Weight training five days a week should be sufficient to help you to burn some fat. It will take time. The result will not appear immediately. I suggest you to take picture of yourself every two weeks or monthly to keep track of your changes.

In doing weight lifting. People will usually will try to lift 75% of their 1 RM (repetition maximum) with 10 repetitions. Do it at least four sets.

Other workouts that I would suggest to burn fat is interval and high intensity training. Instead of jogging at 8 km/h for 30 minutes, try to go for faster and shorter period. For example 2 minutes of warm up and followed by interval of 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking for 20 minutes and end it with 2 minutes of cooling down.

If you find that is too easy or leisure for you, I recommend Tabata training. Start off with 5 minutes of warm up and followed by interval of 20 seconds sprint and 10 seconds rest. Repeat the interval for 8 times and end it with 5 minutes of cooling down. If you are still able to whistle after the training it means that you did not go hard enough.

In the end

No matter if you are trying to lose weight or to burn fat and which workouts you are doing, always remember the most important thing is to watch your diet. Eat clean and do not consume lesser than your BMR or exceeding your DCR.

Author: Rashidi Zin

I write code and run on the road.