3 Tips for Decoding the Mystery of Fat Loss

You are working out. Your goals seem reasonable. You want more muscle. And you want less fat. It seems like this should be easier to navigate!

Fear not, we’re here for you. We are gonna talk about the BIG THREE questions about fat loss you’ve been wracking your brain thinking about!

Why aren’t I losing weight even though I’m working out?

This is a VERY common question. Many people spend hours at the gym for weeks and see little to no results. Before they come to MFF, many of our Broadway Ninjas are working out AND doing 8 shows a week and still not seeing improvements. It’s a real bummer to do all that work and not see any progress.

In fact, scientists have shown that if you work hard at something for a long period of time without succeeding, you may even develop what’s called “learned helplessness.” This means you think that no matter what you do, you’ll never be able to achieve your fitness goals.

Take heart, dear reader! If you’re not getting the desired results, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It just means you haven’t yet found the right strategy.

Particularly when the goal is fat loss, the simple fact is that you can’t out train your diet. No matter how Herculean your effort in the gym, if you’re not eating right for your goals, you won’t see the results you’re looking for.

This is one of the most important things I can share with anyone pursuing health and hotness, so let me say that a few more times:

You can’t out train your diet. You can’t out train your diet. You can’t out train your diet.

While the research isn’t totally clear on how many calories we burn in a workout, the most credible studies suggest around 600 calories for an hour of tough training. While it may be a little more or a little less, consider that a bagel with cream cheese will offset any calories burnt in a tough hour of training. Eek!

While the specifics of how to eat for fat loss are bit beyond the scope of today’s post, I can tell you that if you’ve been training hard for weeks and aren’t seeing any fat loss, there’s likely an issue with your food intake!

For some general guidelines, prioritize getting a serving of protein and some vegetables with each meal and keep your processed carbs and sugars to a minimum.

Remember, if you’re not seeing the results you want, there’s nothing wrong with you. It just means you need to change your strategies!

What is the best type of exercise for fat loss?

Any type of exercise is going to burn calories. But if you’re looking to burn the maximal amount of calories (and hence maximal fat), strength training at a vigorous pace is your best bet.

Research has shown this form of training speeds up your metabolism for up to two days after a session, which isn’t something that happens with more traditional cardio.

Additionally, cardio seems to become less effective over time as your body adapts to it. Since your body is designed to stay alive, it becomes very efficient at tasks we repeatedly do. This is great when we need to run away from a lion. Unfortunately, it’s not so great when we’re looking to get a flat tummy. Rather than doing the same movements over and over, strength training allows for more variety by periodically changing up your workouts.

Strength training with good technique tends to be much easier on the joints than in the repetitive limited ranges of motion of traditional cardio. This is important for anyone who wants to stay active as part of a long healthy and hot life.

And lastly, not only is strength training the best way to burn fat, it’s also going to help build strength and improve your muscle tone. Which is important if you want to look and feel your very best!

Again, doing cardio isn’t wrong per se. And you always want to factor in what you can make work logistically and what you love. But if you’re looking for the best fat loss results, and the best overall health and hotness results, strength training is going to be your best bet.

Why doesn’t more exercise and less food equal better results?

It’s human nature to think that if something is working, doing more of it will work even better.

Let’s say you’re working out a five times per week, eating properly, and seeing some good results. Doesn’t it make sense that adding extra workouts will make things go faster? Or maybe eating less food will lead to faster fat loss? Or better still, working out more AND eating less to get better faster results?

Slow down there, gentle reader!

More is not better. More is more. More is often worse. Enough is plenty.

Although it seems like doing more of what’s working should lead to better results, sometimes it leads to worse results.

Think about it like this. If you take two aspirin, you no longer have a headache. If you take the whole bottle… you will never have headaches again.

While upping your workouts and eating less food isn’t exactly like downing a whole bottle of aspirin, it can still negatively affect your results. Burning fat, building muscle, or getting stronger all require just the right balance of stress on the body.

If you start working out too much or start eating too little, things will backfire. Since your body is designed to survive, this approach is a surefire way for it to overstress it. After all, you’re challenging it with lots of physical activity and/or not nourishing it with enough food. This is to say nothing of less than ideal sleep, too much work, stress from your personal life, etc.

It may be counterintuitive, but remember the goal isn’t to do as much exercise at as high intensity as possible. It’s do the right amount for your goals and your situation. The goal isn’t to eat as little food as possible. It’s to eat the right amount for your goals and situation.

Although everyone is different, most people do best working out at least three times per week, but no more than five or six times at most. At MFF, that’s always the sweet spot where we’ve gotten our best results.

Nutrition will also vary wildly, so it’s hard to make any specific recommendations, but rest assured, you want to make sure you’re fueling yourself properly to train hard and be your very best at whatever your life demands; nailing the audition, delivering a presentation at work, or being a great parent.

One more time for good measure!

More is not better. More is more. More is often worse. Enough is plenty.


Ready to start on your fat loss journey? Get by with a little help from your friends at Mark Fisher Fitness! Schedule a one-hour Health and Hotness Strategy Session today.

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Mark Fisher is the co-owner and Ninja Master of Mark Fisher Fitness, one of the most successful gyms in the history of the fitness industry. Within its first five years, MFF grew from a single personal trainer to a staff of over 35, more than 800 members, and two studios in Manhattan, earning it a spot on the prestigious Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in America. Mark also likes cursing, musical theater, and writing in third person. For more awkward self-talk, visit markfisherhumanbeing.com

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