The word “fitness” is used in several different senses. It has different meanings in different contexts, and the reason you are not losing bodyfat is because you haven’t yet learned the difference.
The way your body performs and the way your body looks are unrelated. You can improve you athletic abilities, your stamina, your flexibility, your agility, your core strength, your endurance, without significantly changing the way your body looks. Your body can adapt to do all those things and still carry body fat and not necessarily gain much noticable muscle mass either.
Unfortunately, people casually drop phrases such as “I’m going to get fit & get in shape”, as if it’s all the same thing, but getting fit and changing the way your body looks are nothing to do with each other.
In the general sense, “fitness” is used to broadly describe “the fitness industry” and anything to do with exercise, sports, gyms, weightlifting etc.
In a narrower sense, “fitness” is more specifically associated with cardio vascular activities, such as endurance, functional fitness, cross fit games, bodyweight exercises, circuit, spin etc.
This is where the difference occurs. The type of fitness just mentioned falls within the category of the way your body performs.
On the contrary, the way your body looks falls within the category of “Physique” or “Aesthetics” ….. but is often just broadly referred to (by men in particular) as “Bodybuilding”.
Appearance boils down to your body composition, i.e. how much fat and muscle you are carrying, and also other factors such as posture.
Even the term “bodybuilding” is used in it’s most generally sense to refer to the pursuit of physique development, but also more specifically it’s the label used for the biggest category of competitive bodybuilders (the big steroid guys), as distinguished from the more natural looking physique styles which might be referred to as “aesthetic physique”, “natural bodybuilder”, “fitness model”, or for women “bikini” is also a category. (Oh yes, I just used the word “fitness” to refer to a type of physique, I told you the word is used in several difference contexts didn’t I!)
Here is the bit you need to understand. The bodybuilder / physique people just mentioned are the fat loss experts, they specialise in changing the way their body looks. The fitness people are not the fat loss experts, they specialise in improving the way the body performs.
If you want to lose body fat or get ripped, and you are doing “fitness” style activities instead of “physique” style activities, you could be barking up the wrong tree.
Remember, the physique people are the fat loss experts (appearance), not the fitness people (performance). It’s possible to do both, but it’s also possible to do one whilst failing at the other.
If you are a beginner and are carrying a lot of body fat you may be able to lose weight fairly easily with any kind of exercise because it may represent a radical difference from your previous lifestyle habits, but as you get more and more in shape the style of exercise will need to be more specific in order to obtain the “ripped” physique, for example, where the 6 pack becomes visible.
High level fitness people will look in shape (i.e. ripped) because they are training very hard to an advanced level, but there is the danger – and this is the purpose of this article – that beginners miss their physique goals and get frustrated because they are taking a fitness approach as apposed to an approach which is designed to make their body shape change.
Ask yourself what is your goal. Do you want to get fit? Do you want to lose body fat? You can do both, but they are different things, and the sooner you view them as separate things the sooner you will be able to adopt a suitable training approach that is going to work.
There is good news. High intensity interval training does bridge the gap and is very effective for both fitness and fatloss, and these classes are readily available in most gyms. This is especially good for women who want to shed the fat but don’t particularly want muscle mass.
Another good place to start would be to choose some YouTube stars with physiques you admire and spend some time watching their videos and learning their training philosophies.