T Nation

Fat Loss Hierarchy

I was thinking about this today and wanted to know what you thought.

For fat loss, if you HAD to put these three in order of importance, what would it be?

diet, cardio (HIIT and/or LI cardio), weights.

i was thinking

  1. diet
  2. weights
  3. cardio

not sure.

what’s your hierarchy?

wow, when you boil it down so simple, it makes it tough.

I have to go with

  1. Weights. It builds muscle which increase metabolism
  2. Diet. Now that you have muscle, and you are working to keep it, the diet will help burn fat.
  3. Cardio. Especially HIIT. It increases metabolism long term, which will lead to fat loss on an ongoing basis (assuming you maintain 1 & 2)

interesting… i hadn’t thought of putting weights first.

  1. Diet
  2. Diet
  3. Diet
  4. Weights
  5. Diet
  6. Cardio

Seriously though, I’ve lost quite a bit of weight myself and have done so with intense dieting and a solid lifting program. I Basically do no cardio except small warmups for days when I feel stiff and like i need to limber up before squatting or deadlifting. Seriously though, if you have weight issues a good diet is your friend, I know that personally I could not train for any amount of hours to counteract what a bad diet does to my body.

I would guess it has to do with where you are starting from. I am 165 ;bs, 5’8". Diet would only burn up my muscles (or lack thereof).

If I was 80 lbs heavier, diet would be very effective. For me, lifting has moved my metabolism up a lot, and even though I have gained 5 lbs, my BF% has gone down.

So it isn’t that easy of a question. How much fat do you personally have is probably the important part of the equasion.

Fat Loss:

  1. Diet/Weights/Cardio :slight_smile:
  2. Diet/Weights
  3. Diet/Cardio
  4. Diet
  5. Weights
  6. Cardio

During my senior year in high school, I lost 50 pounds through diet and cardio but if I could do it over again I would have definitely added more weights. Mainly the reason I didn’t do weights was because I lacked knowledge of training and diet at the time. I was just too gung-ho about calories and running without caring about good protein/fats/carbs.

Yep…I really think that dieting is first.
It’s like your day job. Weights is your on-the-side job you do 3 nights a week for extra cash, and cardio would be that cash you have in some high-return (HIIT) investment thingy…but don’t really count on too much.

I feel that diet (with adequate protein distributed throughout the day) and a progressive overloaded (as long as you cn keep increasing weights) weight training regimen go together. Cardio is useful in smal amounts.

I heard someone once say that its optimal to be between 300-500 calories of your maintenance intake/day to lose fat and not muscle. While the number is obviously going to be different for different people and different circumstances, diet regimes, etc…I think its important to find that sweet spot when you get leaner. If cardio pushes you outside that sweet spot, you lose muscle.

I like that analogy, and I just may steal it. :slight_smile:

Diet is definitely first on the list. I like to think of it in terms of worst possible scenarios.

Imagine you are on the “perfect” lifting and cardio routine for fat loss, but you add 5 Big Macs to what you’re already eating in a day. You will get fatter, without a doubt.

No matter how terrible a lifting and cardio program is (or even if that means doing neither at all), the majority of people can get leaner from diet alone, even without adding weights or cardio.

-Matt

[quote]Nards wrote:
Yep…I really think that dieting is first.
It’s like your day job. Weights is your on-the-side job you do 3 nights a week for extra cash, and cardio would be that cash you have in some high-return (HIIT) investment thingy…but don’t really count on too much.[/quote]