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How often should you test body composition?

By BIA, Blog, Body Composition, Fat mass, Nutrition, Press

When it comes to weight loss, most people often use a weighing scale to track their progress. However, for better progress tracking, you need to test body composition rather than just weight loss monitoring.

Let’s say you’ve just started a new workout routine recently. Every morning, you eagerly weigh yourself to monitor your progress. Unfortunately, the static number shown on the scale could be truly upsetting.

An upset man is holding a weighing scale.

Without a doubt, weight measurements are used frequently in to track weigh loss. However, even though the number on the scale has remained the same, you might not be aware that your body has undergone some changes.

The scale counts everything, including your bones, muscles, organs, fat, and every sip of water and food you consume. In other words, weighing scales cannot differentiate what you’re gaining (which might just be water) or losing (which might be muscle).

Here’s where the body composition measurement comes in. Simply put, your body’s composition is the sum of its amounts of fat, muscle, bone, and water. Body composition analysis determines your body’s proportions of fat mass and lean mass by looking beyond your weight and the traditional Body Mass Index (BMI).

InBody used in body composition test

How to test your body composition?

There are many ways to test your body compositionSome are quick and simple but only offer basic information. Some tests need to be administered by a qualified technician and are time-consuming and expensive.

InBody devices measure your body composition using a technique known as Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), which divides your weight into different components such as lean body mass and fat mass to assess health and nutrition.

InBody body composition test for company employees

How often should you test the body composition?

When deciding how often to test your body composition, take into account your goal, timeframe, and whether you are currently following to a new wellness or dietary program. If you are actively involved in a wellness or fitness program, you may notice changes within 3-4 weeks.

A study observed body fat mass reductions of up to 2.5kg for 48 obese adults under a 2-week nutrition program with nutrition drink supplementation in conjunction with body composition monitoring using InBody.

Therefore, if you’re actively engaging in a new lifestyle change, it’s recommended that you take the InBody test every two weeks. Dedicated effort and precisely measured results can often inspire you to persevere to reach your fitness goal. If your fitness goal timeframe is longer, you may consider taking the test less frequently.

Meanwhile, it is recommended that you only use one measurement method and same machine for your body composition test on your fitness journey. You might be able to obtain the results more precisely in this mannerThis is because various types of body composition test machines may use varied measurement techniques.

Set your fitness goal

Set your goal using the InBody test now!

It’s important to know how long it will take your body to make the desired changes after beginning a new fitness and nutrition plan. The InBody test could be an effective way to keep track of changes in your body composition. With the right information, you can set realistic goals for your muscle gain and fat loss that can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time.

Guidance to set your fat loss goal with InBody (1)

Losing visceral fat is important for diabetics

Lose visceral fat – Why is losing visceral fat important for diabetics?

By Blog, Diabetes, Fat mass, Press

It’s World Diabetes Day on November 14. Speaking of diabetes, people frequently assume that the only treatment for diabetics is medication. It is frequently overlooked how important it is for diabetics to adopt a lifestyle dedicated to lose visceral fat to improve blood glucose control.

Only overweight individuals develop diabetes?

Diabetes patients who are normal weight or underweight should also be given attention when it comes to losing body fat, rather than just diabetics who are obese.

According to a research article published, the researchers discovered that the visceral fat cell sizes of lean diabetics were larger, which is related to the development of diabetes.

What is visceral fat?

There are two types of body fat in our body – subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is what you feel when you poke your stomach because it is soft and close to the skin. However, visceral fat cannot be felt because it surrounds your organs beneath your abdominal wall.

Visceral fat, commonly known as belly fat, is extremely dangerous in large amounts and has been linked to a number of health complications, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and others.

How is visceral fat related to diabetes?

Having a lot of visceral fat is associated to insulin resistance. According to the findings, visceral fat secretes retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), which has been shown to cause insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance occurs when your body cells in the muscles, fat, and liver do not respond well to insulin in order to absorb glucose from the blood. The pancreas continues to produce insulin in an attempt to get cells to respond.

When the pancreas eventually can’t keep up, blood sugar levels keep rising, which can cause type 2 diabetes and glucose intolerance. 

How can you check if you have a lot of visceral fat?

 Here are three options:

  1. Waist measurement

Checking your waist circumference is a convenient tool that can be done by using cutoff points for Asians (90 cm for men and 80 cm for women). However, measuring with a tape measure along the fat loss progress may not be consistent and may underestimate your visceral fat loss.

  1. Computed tomography (CT) scan

A computed tomography (CT) scan allows for the accurate analysis of subcutaneous and visceral fat separately. However, this requires access to a facility that has a unit, and a test can be costly. On top of that, you might need to be exposed to radiation.

  1. Professional Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)

A medical BIA test is an excellent alternative to a CT scan. This test calculate your body fat percentage, which includes visceral fat, by measuring the resistance of an electric current as it moves through your body. 

This method would allow you to understand your visceral fat in a noninvasive, low-cost, and radiation-free manner. An InBody test, one of the professional BIA tests, can help you understand your visceral fat and take the first step toward changing your lifestyle for the better.

Want to know how to check visceral fat on the InBody result sheet?

Download the free interpretation poster right away.

How to lose visceral fat as a diabetics?

According to the study, a combination of diet and exercise can result in a 12.8% reduction in visceral fat and a 16% decrease in fasting glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It also matters what kind of exercise is most effective to lose visceral fat and improve diabetes control.

Furthermore, take your medication as prescribed by your doctor and monitor your blood glucose levels and visceral fat on a regular basis. If you learn that reducing visceral fat is beneficial to your blood glucose condition as a diabetic, this may keep you motivated to lead a healthier life.

Why Men Are More Prone To Heart Disease?

By BIA, Blog, Health, Nutrition, Press

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading causes of death in Malaysia. Heart disease is responsible for nearly 1 out of every 4 deaths in Malaysia.  Malaysians in their 20’s and 30’s are currently suffering from heart attacks. Ischaemic heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack, was the leading cause of death among males in Malaysia in 2018, accounting for 17.8% of all deaths.

It is important for men to understand what heart disease is, the risk factors and symptoms, and how to prevent heart disease.  

What is heart disease? 

Cardiac disease encompasses a wide range of heart disorders, including coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease (CAD), arrhythmia, heart failure, and heart attacks. Coronary heart disease develops when the arteries that deliver blood to the heart and body harden and narrow due to plaque buildup.

This plaque is composed of components found in the body such as cholesterol and other fatty lipids. Atherosclerosis is the term used to describe the hardness and constriction of the arteries. When this plaque accumulates, blood flow is constricted, resulting in a reduction in the amount of oxygen delivered to the heart. This can eventually lead to a heart attack.

High blood pressure and heart disease

Having high and uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to heart disease. Over time, high blood pressure taxes the blood vessels and heart by making them do more work less efficiently. The friction and force that come from high blood pressure will do damage to the delicate tissues lining the arteries. Plaque forms along with these tiny tears and lesions. As more plaque builds up, the narrower the arteries become, raising blood pressure even more. It becomes a vicious cycle.   

Many people have no symptoms of high blood pressure until it is too late. It is important to regularly check your blood pressure to make sure it is within the healthy range.  

Why men are more prone to heart disease

Men have an elevated risk of heart disease. According to National Health & Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019, hypertension affects men 3 times more than women under the age of 30.

Other risk factors for heart disease include being overweight or obese, having a poor diet, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, and having diabetes.  

Symptoms of heart disease  

The symptoms of heart disease can often be “silent,” and go undiagnosed until someone experiences the signs of a heart attack or arrhythmia. Symptoms of these events may include:  

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Pain in the upper back or neck  
  • Heartburn or indigestion  
  • Nausea or vomiting  
  • Dizziness  
  • Shortness of breath  
  • Extreme fatigue  
  • Palpitations or feelings of fluttering in the chest  
  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, neck, or abdomen  

It’s important to note that not all people who have heart disease experience signs or symptoms. Half of the men who died suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms or warnings. 

How can you lower your risk for heart disease?  

  1. Check your BP: regular monitoring of your blood pressure will help you stay informed and in control of your blood pressure. If you suffer from high blood pressure, it may be helpful for you to keep a log of your blood pressure readings and take them to review with your doctor.  
  2. Quit smoking: Smoking is known to increase blood pressure and can greatly increase your risk of heart disease.  
  3. Check cholesterol and triglyceride levels: Work with your doctor to regularly check your cholesterol and triglyceride labs to make sure you stay within a healthy range.  
  4. Eat healthy food: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has been tied to a lower risk of heart disease. Limit red meat, fried foods, high sodium foods, and sugary drinks and desserts.   
  5. Stay active: Regular physical activity can help keep your blood pressure in check and keep your arteries relaxed and pliable. Find an exercise that you enjoy doing and aim to get about 30 minutes of exercise per day.  
  6. Limit alcohol: Excess alcohol intake is tied to an increased risk of heart disease. Drink in moderation which means 1-2 drinks per day. An alcoholic drink is defined as a 12 oz beer, 5 oz wine, or 1.5 oz liquor or spirits.   
  7. Lower stress: Too much stress can tax the heart and blood pressure even more. Find healthy ways of relaxing like taking a walk, reading a book, listening to calming music, or spending a few moments in quiet meditation or prayer each day.  

Men need to bear in mind their risk for heart disease and the associated risk factors. It’s advisable for men to keep their regular check-ups with their doctors, and complete the recommended labs. Checking your blood pressure regularly may also be beneficial, and those who struggle with high blood pressure or have a family history of hypertension may want to consider an at-home blood pressure monitor. Let’s have a look at our clinically validated kiosk type blood pressure monitor, BPBIO 750 Blood Pressure Monitor.

Why Building Lean Mass Is Important for Everyone (even you)

By Blog, Fitness, Health, Muscle

People have all sorts of reasons for working out and developing Lean Body Mass.  Athletes are interested in muscle building to improve their performance on the field. Bodybuilders want muscle growth for that trophy-winning physique.  For us regular joes and janes who struggle to find enough time to diet and workout, it can be as simple as looking losing weight and looking lean.

Whatever the reasons, recent research has made a very strong case that building Lean Body Mass (LBM) has health benefits far beyond aesthetics and athletic performance.  Sufficient amounts of LBM are actually critical for building a healthy life over the long-term.

This doesn’t mean that you have to work out twice a day lifting heavy weights. Male or female, young or old, everyone can benefit from increased Lean Body Mass.  Here are four important health benefits that you gain from developing your Lean Body Mass.

1. Lean Body Mass Combats Obesity

According to the 2020 survey, an estimated 54.2 percent of Malaysian adults are overweight or obese, a 4 percentage point rise from the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), it’s hard to avoid advertising that guarantee weight loss in X number of weeks, or a new workout technique that promises to shred fat off of your frame, or that new diet that promises to increase your metabolism and burn body fat.

However, most of these shortcut approaches fail to address the basic issue regarding weight gain: it’s about calories in vs. calories out.

“Energy imbalance” in this context refers to consuming more calories than your body needs.  Do this for a long enough period of time, and you’ll gain fat. Gain enough fat over a long period of time, and you can become overweight or obese.

“Energy intake” refers to how many calories you consume through eating and drinking, in other words, your diet.  This is what many people think of when they think about calorie reduction.

However, its “energy expenditure” where you can really make a big effect on balancing your calories in and calories out, and this is why developing your Lean Body Mass is so important.

Lean Body Mass is associated with your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – the amount of calories you burn at rest.  The greater amount of LBM you have, the greater your BMR will be. This means that people with greater amounts of Lean Body Mass will have a greater energy expenditure while doing nothing, helping to avoid calorie imbalances, and ultimately, obesity.

2. Lean Body Mass Helps You Battle Disease

When you become sick and your body becomes stressed, your body’s immune system gets kicked into high gear.  When that occurs, your body’s nutritional demands change. In order to support the immune system and contribute towards recovery, your body requires protein – and a lot of it.  Diet alone won’t supply the amount of protein required to defend against illness. Where will your body find protein reserves? Your Lean Muscle Mass.

For example, in burn victims, the need for increased protein can increase tremendously: around 4 g of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about four times the normal daily intake of protein. Too much protein for a person to consume through a healthy diet.  This demand for protein exceeds the demands put on the body during fasting (times where you aren’t bringing in calories), which is when muscle breakdown occurs.  The same trend was also found in cancer survivors. In those whose overall body protein decreased due to cancer and cancer therapy, the rate of recurrence of cancer increased.

In both cases, the ability to survive these serious conditions ultimately came down to how much Lean Muscle Mass each patient had to begin with, and how much their bodies lost due to increased demand for protein.

Bottom line: your Lean Muscle Mass can act as protein reserves that your body can draw off of when the immune system is triggered.  If you have built sufficient Lean Muscle Mass through diet and workout, your body will have a much easier time fighting off infection because it will have enough protein in reserve to power the demands caused by the immune system.

If you don’t have sufficient Lean Muscle Mass, your body will have a much more difficult time defeating and recovering from illnesses because it won’t have the type of nutrients it needs to power the immune system.

3. Lean Body Mass Contributes to Strong Bones

One common concern that both men and women have as they age is the onset of osteoporosis or frailty in general.  These conditions can put people at serious risk in the later stages of life because they can lead to falls and broken bones.  Sometimes, these falls are so serious that some people never walk again.

What can preserve bone density and bone mass later in life?  Maintaining sufficient and healthy amounts of Lean Body Mass.

In the Mediterranean Intensive Oxidant Study, researchers found that lower amounts of skeletal muscle mass, a significant and major component of Lean Body Mass, was correlated with weaker and thinner bones in elderly men.  Because Lean Body Mass is made up of multiple components that cannot be readily increased, such as the weight of body water and internal organs, increasing skeletal muscle mass is the primary means of increasing Lean Body Mass. This, in turn, builds up greater bone strength and density.

In order to protect against thin and weak bones, maintaining and developing sufficient skeletal muscle mass is key.

4. Lean Body Mass Can Protect Against (and potentially reverse) Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance occurs when the body is unable to clear the blood of excess glucose due to the presence of Fatty Free Acids.  The release of Free Fatty Acids into the body is generally associated with high amounts of Fat Mass, which lessens insulin’s ability to clear glucose from the blood.  If this insulin resistance becomes significant over a duration of time, the development of Type 2 diabetes can occur.

Once again, developing sufficient amounts of Lean Body Mass can help prevent the onset of insulin resistance/Type 2 diabetes.  Because insulin resistance/Type 2 diabetes can strike anyone at any age, ensuring that your LBM levels are sufficient while keeping your Fat Mass low (i.e. a healthy body composition) is very important for everyone.

In a large-scale study of over 13,000 people over a 6-year span conducted by the UCLA School of Medicine, the researchers concluded their findings by illustrating an inverse relationship between skeletal muscle mass and insulin resistance.  Not only that, they found that for every 10% increase in skeletal muscle mass, there was an 11% decrease in insulin resistance.  For people without diabetes, the decreases were even more pronounced.

Developing your Lean Body Mass also has the added benefit of increasing your BMR, which will increase your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) all on its own, which, when combined with proper diet and nutrition, causes Fat Mass reduction.  This reduction contributes to less release of Fatty Free Acids into the body in the first place, which will, in turn, make it easier for the body to clear excess glucose and transport it into muscle cells.

Fitness for Long-Term Health

Muscle building isn’t something that only bodybuilders and athletes should worry about; for long-term health, everyone can benefit from building their LBM.

For this reason, it is important to monitor the changes in your Lean Body Mass by having your body composition measured.  Body composition analysis can divide your weight into its various components – Fat Mass, Lean Body Mass, etc. – which will give you a much clearer picture of your overall fitness and health.

Building Lean Body Mass is an investment in your future. The more LBM you build while you are still young and healthy, the more you will have in reserve when you really need. But before you start adding protein shakes and resistance workouts to your daily regimen, you need a plan. The first step to building a healthy level lean body mass is to measure how much you have with a body composition analysis.  You can learn about the different types of BIA devices that analyze body composition and the types of outputs you can expect to receive by clicking here.

Body Fat % Doesn’t Always Give A Complete Picture 

By Blog, Body Composition, Fat mass, Fitness, Muscle
Editor’s Note: This post was updated on August 16, 2020for accuracy and comprehensiveness. It was originally published on September 5, 2015.

If you’re using body composition tools like calipers to measure your body fat percentage to assess your health, then you’re already ahead of most (like those who are still using BMI).

But be aware that body fat percentage doesn’t always paint a complete picture when it comes to body composition. What’s more, decreases in your body fat percentage don’t always mean fat loss.  That’s because body fat percentage is a simple equation of your fat mass divided by your total weight.

Body Fat Percentage = Fat Mass / Total Weight

In some ways, body fat percentage is the most basic of all body composition results, because it only requires your Fat, Fat-Free Mass (or Lean Body Mass), and total weight.

While fat and fat-free mass are enough to give you a body fat percentage value, it isn’t always enough to explain changes in body fat percentages or give enough information to determine whether your body fat levels are healthy. You will get much more context about what your body fat percentage means if you look at it alongside things like Skeletal Muscle Mass. These are the muscles in your body that you can grow and develop through exercise.

Without assessing your amount of Skeletal Muscle Mass, your body composition assessments are going to be incomplete.  You won’t be able to fully understand the changes in your body fat percentage, and you may also be misled by what your body fat percentage means.  Here are a few examples:

1. You’re Working Out, But Body Fat % Doesn’t Change (or increases)

This situation can occur when you are working out to gain muscle in order to improve your physique, but you aren’t seeing the changes in the mirror that you hoped to see as quickly as you’d like. When you check your body fat percentage, you don’t see any change despite a month of hard workouts. What’s going on?

The first thing to check is to see if your weight has changed. It probably has. If your weight has increased but your body fat percentage remains unchanged, this likely means that your SMM is increasing at the same time as your Fat Mass. As you increase musculature, fat gain can occur due to the caloric surpluses required to increase SMM. This is a well-recognized phenomenon and is commonly referred to in gym-speak as “bulking.”

 

Additionally, situations can occur in which after initial drops in body fat percentage, the percentage rises right back where it used to be after a couple months.  Why?

This is because your body has entered what is referred to as an anabolic state – the condition in which your body increases muscle production.  Your body will require more calories than what you’re used to in order to build more muscle than it had before.

Not all of these calories, however, are going toward muscle development.  Being in a calorie surplus can lead to fat gain as well, which can cause an increase in body fat percentage.

2. You’re Losing Weight, But Your Body Fat % Doesn’t Change (or increases)

Similar to #1, this situation also involves little or no change in body fat percentage but instead of occurring due to anabolism, this time, catabolism is the driving force behind the change.

In catabolism, the body is focused on reducing tissue, not building it.  In order to lose weight, especially fat, the body should be in a catabolic state; in order to be in a catabolic state, the body needs to be in a caloric deficit (taking in fewer calories than needed).  In gym speak, this is referred to as “cutting.”

If you observe that you’re losing weight, but you don’t see the results in the mirror that you’d like to see and notice that your body fat percentage is unchanged, this is because your SMM and Fat Mass are actually decreasing together.

 

Why would Skeletal Muscle Mass decrease when you’re trying to target body fat only?  Although there isn’t a singular cause, the majority of the time this is caused by improper training and diet.

Most weight loss is a combination of body fat and skeletal muscle.  That much is unavoidable. For this reason, preserving or even increasing muscle becomes a priority when encouraging the body to enter a catabolic state.  This means ensuring your nutrient intake is balanced while engaging in some kind of resistance or weight training.

Many people neglect these important precautions and cause their body to metabolize muscle as well as fat.  Depending on how much muscle is lost, body fat percentages can drop extremely slowly, stay the same, or in extreme circumstances, increase.

3. Your Body Fat Percentage is Acceptable, But You’re Underweight

At first, this doesn’t seem like it makes sense – how can you be at a healthy body fat percentage, but not be healthy overall?  Simple: you’re underweight.

Underweight individuals may have enviable body fat percentages which can lead some people into believing that they are healthier than they actually are. However, if you are underweight, this means that you don’t have enough muscle mass.  Being underweight doesn’t get as much popular attention as being overweight does, but over time, being underweight can lead to the development of osteoporosis, which is diagnosed when a person has low bone density.

Not having enough muscle mass will also become problematic if you get sick.  When you become sick, the body’s need for amino acids to power its immune and recovery processes increases, and it will look to your muscle mass for those amino acids.  Essentially, your body will start to break down muscle in order to fight and recover from disease, and if you’re underweight with a healthy body fat percentage, you won’t have enough muscle to easily fight off illness.

4. Your Body Fat Percentage is Acceptable, But You Have Muscle Imbalances

Even if you are at a healthy weight and have an acceptable body fat percentage, only having Fat and Fat-Free Mass as results can hide potential issues. Because Fat-Free Mass is a catchall term for everything in your body that isn’t attributed to fat, an absolute value for Fat-Free Mass can’t describe how well developed this mass is in terms of your overall body composition.  In order to see that, you would need to take a closer look at how this mass is distributed segmentally.

Specifically, people can have well developed Lean Body Mass areas in some parts of their bodies but not in others.  Some people prefer developing upper body muscle while neglecting lower body muscle development. Others may have what’s referred to as a bilateral imbalance, which occurs when one side of the body is stronger than the other.  Here’s what that looks like from a body composition analysis viewpoint:

In this example, this person has almost one pound of muscle difference between their right and left arm.  Although this might seem more of an aesthetic problem, significant muscle imbalances such as the one shown above can also contribute towards injury.  Shoulder muscle imbalances in volleyball players, for example, have been shown to increase the onset of shoulder pain and injury.

It’s Just One Number

Although your body fat percentage is a very significant and useful number, relying on any one number, even an important number like body fat percentage, will never provide you with a complete picture about your overall health.  While body fat percentage is a very good way to assess your weight, it only takes Body Fat (and by extension Fat-Free) Mass and Weight into account.

In order to maintain your weight and understand the changes that your body experiences over time, including your change in body fat percentage, you will need more specific values than just Fat and Fat-Free Mass.  If you don’t compare your body fat percentage to Skeletal Muscle Mass, you won’t be able to:

  • Understand increases and decreases in body fat percentage
  • Maintain a healthy body fat percentage in respect to a healthy weight and muscle mass level
  • Determine if your muscles are balanced

Your body is a very complex system of many components all working together. That is why it is very important to get as much information as possible in order to understand your weight and your health properly. Calipers are a good a start, but in order to assess whether you have a healthy body composition try devices like a DSM-BIA device, that will go beyond body fat percentage and give you your muscle mass and body water results.

How to Maintain Muscle Mass While Losing Fat During Lockdown? With General Manager of Peak Fitness Gurney Plaza – Mr. Leonardo Azevedo

By Blog, Fitness, Health, Muscle, Nutrition

You may not be able to crush your body composition’s goals during a public health crisis especially months of gym closure lately in Malaysia, but you can definitely keep from losing your hard gained muscle mass. We are so glad to have Mr. Leonardo Azevedo, General Manager of Peak Fitness Gurney Plaza who has over 22 years of experience in the Sports & Fitness industry, share us about his top 3 tips that can ensure you still maintain muscle mass while aiming for the body fat to fall off (even though your gym is still closed).

“Most of the time when people want to cut away their body fat and cut down to a healthier and more aesthetic physique, they often think the only way is with hours and hours of tireless exercise at the gym. But, if you can’t exercise at the gym due to our current Government restrictions, then all isn’t lost.” – says Mr. Leonardo.

A balanced food & calories intake, proper muscle stimulus and quality sleep can definitely change the way you look despite the challenges we face by being forced to workout at home. Sounds like a perfect recipe for losing your gains, doesn’t it?

Here’s why you shouldn’t worry about losing your gains during the lockdown with these 3 rules to help you out.

#1: Balanced Food and Calories Intake

You don’t need to find a bunch of weird or novel exercises in order to maintain some semblance of fitness. In fact, by controlling your calories intake and balancing the amount of nutrients such as Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats in your daily diet routine, you can definitely maintain your mass while still achieving fat loss. Based on Scientific research, it’s also recommended an average daily intake of 30 (female)/35 (male) calories per Kilogram of Body Weight to maintain the weight in individuals from 20 to 30 years old who exercise moderately (home workout) 3 to 5 times per week.

In order to maintain your Muscle Mass, the most used way to divide this total amount of calories by the nutrients you should intake daily macronutrient of  40:40:20 (Protein:Carbs:Fat). As per science we know that, a gram of carbohydrate and protein contains 4 calories each, and a gram of fat, though, contains 9 calories. Therefore, Mr. Leonardo also give an example of a calculation on daily macronutrients intake with the sample reference as follow :

Female who has total Body Weight 60KG (aged between 20 to 30 years old)

* Calories per day = 60KG x 30 calories = 1800 calories day

* Daily Protein Intake (40%) = 1800 x 0.40 = 720 calories / 4 calories (1 gram of protein) = 180grams of proteins per day.

* Daily Carbohydrate Intake (40%) = 1800 x 0.40 = 720 calories / 4 calories (1 gram of carb) = 180grams of carbohydrates per day.

* Daily Fat Intake (20%) = 1800 x 0.20 = 360 calories / 9 calories (1 gram of fat) = 40 grams of fats per day.

You can figure out the proper food based on its nutrients, speak to your certified personal trainer or look for a professional nutritionist to help you on a more personalized nutrition advice.

#2: Proper Muscle Stimulus 

When it comes to Muscle Mass maintenance, engaging the proper exercise intensity is very important to achieve optimum results. Functional training is, in most cases, the way to exercise from home. I also would recommend the usage of some household items to replace gym equipment. Suspension training, and small equipment such as dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells are very good and easy to handle at home. Besides that, it can produce a very efficient load as muscle stimulus. Always search for assistance from Fitness Professionals in order to create the best and most efficient way to get the best results working out from home. In order to ensure that you can be consistent in your workouts, there are some Professional Online Home Trainings that you can join as well.

#3: Improve Sleep Quality

You might think this counter productive to losing weight, as sleep doesn’t burn many calories. But as you sleep you recover and two important hormones come into play: Leptin and Ghrelin. These two hormones tell your body when it feels satiety and hunger. If you sleep badly, the levels of these hormones will be unbalanced and science has found that you’re more likely to be over eating and getting overweight.  Besides, poor sleep quality and short sleep duration are associated with an increased risk for muscle mass reduction. Thus, according to research, sleeping for 7-9 hours per night is crucial, especially if you are looking to change body composition, increase muscle mass and/or if you want to improve quality of life. Sleep enhances muscle recovery through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release as well. Like Mr. Leonardo said, he recommends at least 8 hours of good sleep every night.

 

Conclusion

Keep life and the gym workout in perspective. Your habitual mindset should keep up a healthy lifestyle, which it shouldn’t be affected by any of these challenges. When this is over—and it will be over at some point— we don’t want you to end up feeling worse, deconditioned, and incredibly detrained. One thing we should be grateful is: Staying fit is one way we may have to protect ourselves against getting sick over the years. A healthy body usually has a healthy immune system. Although it doesn’t give you any guarantees, well it’s certainly a better option than doing nothing. So do your best to be well.

**

Leonardo Azevedo

Mr. Leonardo Azevedo from Brazil with over 22 years of experience in the Sports & Fitness industry. Holding Bachelor’s Degree in Sports & Science, FIFA Certified Conditioning Coach, Specialized in Physiology of Exercise, Certification in Biomechanics of Exercise and Sports Nutrition, Extensive Experience in Fitness Business Management.Currently working as General Manager at Peak Fitness Gurney Plaza, Brazilian Eagles Football Academy Head Coach & Owner, Mitts Boxing Fitness MD, SEA Sales Representative at Rezzil Sports.

The 10 Most Common Factors That Sabotage Fitness Goals (And How To Overcome Them)

By Blog, Fitness

No matter what the fad diets and fitness challenges tell you, getting fit is a long-term commitment, and it does not necessarily yield instant results. There’s no way around it: making significant changes to your body composition (and maintaining it for the long haul!) requires sizeable lifestyle changes.

So when it comes to getting healthy and getting fit, many people find themselves falling flat before reaching their goals.

But why is it so hard? Here are the most common factors that might be sabotaging your fitness goals and how you can overcome them.

The 10 Most Common Factors that Sabotage Fitness Goals

1) Fatigue

Whether it’s physical, mental, or a little bit of both, fatigue is one of the worst roadblocks for successfully reaching your goals.

Physical fitness requires a fair amount of energy: energy to get to the gym, energy to hit your workout, and energy to consistently prepare healthy meals. That, combined with the other pressures of daily life, can make it hard to stay on the grind for a sustained period.

Solution: When it comes to getting fit, you have to remember that It’s a marathon, not a sprint. When you start diving into workouts and eating right, make sure that you’re making gradual but deliberate changes rather than big immediate changes so you can avoid early burnout and maintain those habits over time.

In addition, try scheduling your workouts and meal prep time for the times of the day or week that you are at your most active. For example, if you know that you want to crash at the end of the day and are more of a morning person, try to do your workout first thing in the morning so you can get it out of the way.

Luckily, it can also be a self-fulfilling prophecy since working out often can improve your energy levels in the long run!

2) Lack of motivation

When you first embarked on your fitness journey, you were probably itching at the seams to get started. But that initial spark of motivation can only take you so far once you really get into the grind, no matter how good your reason was for getting started.

So losing sight of your motivation is common, and it’s a big reason that you might start skipping your workouts and falling back into bad eating habits.

Solution: Even the fittest among us know this to be true: you’re not always going to be motivated every second of every day.

When it comes to reaching your goals despite lapses in motivation, the key is to stay accountable to something outside of yourself. For example, one study found that women who were held accountable by a support group or their loved ones were better able to adhere to their fitness routines.

Having to answer to someone other than yourself means that you have another source of motivation, even if you aren’t always intrinsically motivated yourself. So enlist your loved ones, your gym partners, or a personal trainer to keep you on track even if you aren’t feeling it yourself.

3) No Time

Sometimes, keeping up with your exercise and training routine can feel like a full-time job. When you have other pressing matters on your agenda like work, family, and personal life, fitness often ends up taking the back seat.

If you really want to be successful despite a time crunch, it may be time to reprioritize.

Solution: In cases like these, it’s important to remember that many fit people don’t have a wealth of free time, but they find ways to work around that to meet their goals.

If you really want to achieve your goals, you have to make it a priority and factor it in as an expectation, not an option. This might mean rearranging your current schedule and treating it like any other priority on your to-do list!

For example, if you find that you like to go straight to the couch at the end of a long workday to relax, you can make a rule for yourself to not take it easy until you’ve checked your workout and meal prep off of your daily list. Alternatively, you may have to get up earlier in the morning if that’s the only time available to you. Making time for it might not be the easiest thing initially, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

4) Expecting instant results

So you’ve been working out hard, eating the right things, and overall crushing all the items on your to-do list – and yet it’s been two weeks, and you aren’t seeing any physical progress.

For the most part, this is normal. Even if you’re doing everything right and taking on all the healthy habits you need for a sustainable rate of weight loss or body recomposition, you’re probably not going to see a ton of progress day by day. Sticking with your healthy habits long-term will yield those results over time.

Unfortunately, the diet industry often sells us the idea that you can lose a ton of weight really quickly, which can make it demotivating when you aren’t noticing those quick changes on the scale.

Solution: Change your mentality of what results and progress look like to you. Rather than just focusing on the scale alone, try taking stock of other forms of progression, like measurements and body composition outputs, including Body Fat Percentage and Skeletal Muscle Mass.

You can also take a look at your performance progression. Are you lifting heavier weights? Has your stamina increased? Is your performance in the gym way better than it was initially? These are all signs that you’re making progress towards your final goal.

And at the end of the day, know that fitness is not a month-long deal—it’s something you’re getting into for the long haul.

 

5) Not staying consistent

No matter what your goal is, the biggest changes happen when you make healthy lifestyle changes and develop daily habits that you keep up.

On the other hand, sporadic workouts and the occasional healthy meal probably aren’t going to get you the results you want. You should be making better choices the majority of the time if you want to make meaningful, long-term changes.

Solution: When you first start your fitness journey, it might be difficult to drop bad habits and develop new ones, so one way to establish consistency is by committing to doing something for a set amount of time. One study found that it takes approximately 66 days for healthy eating habits to become an automatic behavior and about 1.5 times this amount for physical activity.

So if you’re having a hard time following your fitness and eating plan consistently, make a non-negotiable schedule for three months and see how your life changes. In this period, you’re likely to develop better habits that become second nature, which will lead to better results.

In short, if you can stick with it for three months, you’ll probably be able to stick with it in the long run!

6) Not setting concrete goals

If you’re having trouble reaching your goals, you might want to take a look at the goals themselves.

Many times, we have a general idea of what we want our fitness to look like, but we don’t make a concrete road map to getting there. We know that we want to “lose weight” or “be healthy,” but these goals aren’t measurable.

They’re also broad enough that they can look like different things. Only having a big, vague picture of what you want to accomplish can then make it hard to plan how to make it happen or to see any actual progress along the way.

Solution: One of the best strategies for goal setting is to set “SMART” goals. The acronym SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timed

Making sure your goal-setting falls into these parameters gives you a much clearer picture of what you’re trying to accomplish and also affords you less wiggle-room so you can achieve it much sooner.

For example:

  • “I’m going to go to the gym and work out for one hour, five days a week this month”

is a lot more specific and measurable than “I’m going to work out more.” It gives you a clear guideline of what you need to do so you can set yourself up for success.

Body composition analysis is also a great tool for setting and achieving SMART goals. Knowing your Body Fat Mass, Skeletal Muscle Mass, and other measurable factors can establish a baseline, let you set achievable goals, and see your progress along the way.

7) Not factoring in rest

Frequent, consistent trips to the gym are obviously vital to achieving your goals. However, you may also see your progression slowing down if you’re working out too hard.

You may be putting in the work while you’re in the gym, but the real progress happens when you’re resting. Rest allows your muscles to recover and grow, while not allowing your muscles ample time to recover can lead to overtraining syndrome and slow down your progress.

Solution: Make sure you take a couple of days every week to rest and recover from your workouts. This is especially important after high-intensity exercise sessions like high-intensity interval training when your muscles need time to replenish their fuel.

You don’t have to be completely dormant during this time, either. Walking, practicing yoga, or other forms of gentle exercise gives your body time to recover while still keeping you active.

8) Getting too comfortable

You might have had a lot of success doing the same workouts when you first began, but you may notice over time that they’re getting easier, and thus, you aren’t seeing the same rate of progression.

That same workout routine, using the same weights and equipment, is only going to get you so far. While that routine might have helped you see a ton of progress at the beginning of the journey, you have to remember that you’re getting stronger and improving your fitness levels, and you have to continuously challenge yourself to avoid falling into a fitness “plateau.”

Solution: Frequently change up your workouts so that you can continue to challenge your body! If you start to get a little too comfortable with your current routine and it becomes less challenging, you can: 

  • Increase the weights you’re working with or the number of reps you have in each set.
  • Change up the tempo. You can shorten your rest period between each set to keep your heart rate high or slow down your lifts to really focus on your muscle contraction.
  • Experiment with different kinds of sets. If you’ve been doing the same kinds of lifts, try drop sets, supersets, or AMRAP (as many reps as possible) to challenge your muscles differently.
  • Do new exercises altogether. For example, if you’ve been doing a lot of weightlifting, experiment with some plyometric body exercises. If you’ve been focused on high-intensity interval training, incorporate a long run or bike ride instead.

Changing up your workout routine will keep your body challenged, and that’s great news for making progress.

 

9) Not prioritizing diet

Fitness is not just about hitting the gym. If you want to really start seeing results, your diet also matters.

Take this study: researchers evaluated how exercise without dietary change would help women and their fitness levels. They found that the women in the study who didn’t change their diet actually gained fat mass, despite exercising consistently and improving their physical fitness levels.

The adage “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet” is very true. Whether your goals are to lose fat, gain muscle, or increase your performance, eating a healthy and balanced diet can make all the difference.

Solution: Make sure you always have access to planned healthy foods that align with your fitness goals. You’ll want to pay attention to portion sizes and calorie count, especially if you’re looking to lose or gain weight. You’ll also want to make sure that each day’s diet is balanced, with the right servings of high-quality carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

This may mean setting aside a dedicated time each week to plan out recipes and meal prep. You can also use a fitness-oriented meal prep delivery service that plans out the macronutrients and calorie counts.

 

10) Giving up at the first setback

As nice as it would be to always stay perfectly on course, the reality is that life sometimes gets in the way. You’re probably going to come across situations where you can’t eat the “right” foods or have to skip a workout session.

It’s an all-too-common scenario: it’s Friday, and you decide to treat yourself to a drink with your friends. But one drink turns into two, which turns into an appetizer, and before you know it, you’ve eaten your entire calorie count for the day. Then, you decide that you might as well let loose since you’ve already “messed up,” and your whole weekend spirals away from you, and you decide you’ll just wait until Monday to get back on plan.

Solution: Don’t fall into the trap of waiting until Monday to correct any behaviors. Make the right behavior changes right away—an occasional cheat meal won’t undo your progress if you’ve been consistent otherwise but letting your cheat meal turn into a weekend-long affair might.

Get into the habit of minimizing the negative self-talk in these situations. Don’t think of it as “messing up,” but rather as a normal lapse that can be easily corrected right away.

The Bottom Line On Making Your Fitness Goals A Reality

Getting fit might conjure up images of hitting the gym and eating salads, but real progress is all about making long-term behavior changes. The best way to ensure that you are doing everything you need to succeed is to establish healthy habits, look beyond short-term goals in favor of the bigger picture, and track your progress in performance, body composition, and lifestyle changes along the way. This way, you’ll be able to stay accountable, know your milestones, and see your goals all the way through!

**

Erica Digap is a freelance writer specializing in nutrition science, fitness, and health. After receiving her BSc in Clinical Nutrition and working in the corporate diet industry, she decided to set forth and use her experience to inspire readers to make lasting, healthy lifestyle changes, one healthy meal and workout at a time.

How To End The Cycle of Starting Over

By Blog, Body Composition

How many times have you started working out? How many times have you started a new program by feeling excited, committed, and confident that this will be the time you finally get the body you’ve always wanted?

So you start, and a month goes by, then two, then three.  Everything’s going well until one day, something comes up and you have to skip a gym day.  “No big deal. It’s just one day”, you say.

Then you lose your momentum and start skipping a gym day here and there every couple of weeks. “I’ll make it up next week,” you say.

Then eventually, you start going one day a week less, until before you know it, you’ve stopped going completely. “I’m just too busy,” you say.

Why do people quit the gym? If the above story sounds like you, you’re not alone: lack of time/being busy is one of the most frequently quoted reasons for quitting the gym.

But for many of us, it’s not that we don’t have the time: it’s that we’re not seeing any immediate return on the time spent exercising and so we give up.

Time is valuable, and if we’re not getting any positive results from spending it at the gym (or anywhere for that matter), we will put our time elsewhere in activities where we do get results.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could end the cycle of start-stop, start-stop?  Whether you’re on your first fitness journey or your fifteenth, here are some important things to consider to make sure the time you spend on your fitness is well spent so you never have to start over again.

1. Commit to the Gym AND a Diet

Ever hear the expression, “6-pack abs are made in the kitchen?” It’s true: working out alone doesn’t mean much if you don’t also take control of your diet.  If your goal is weight loss, you need to burn more calories than you take in.  Yes, that means keeping track of your calories.

It gets really hard to stick with the gym when you aren’t seeing results after a couple of months.  That’s because if you’re doing everything right and being consistent, you should be seeing progress.

But before you get too frustrated, know this: counting calories works and it’s not that hard if you can get a sense of how many calories your body needs.  You can do that with the following steps.

1. At your gym or doctor’s office, get your body composition analyzed.  For counting calories, what you need to get is your Lean Body Mass (sometimes called Fat-Free Mass) and body fat percentage.

2. Use your body fat percentage to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate, the number of calories your body needs to support itself, excluding the energy needed to move and do work.  You can do that with this online calculator.

3. Once you have your BMR, you need to use it estimate how many calories your body uses in a day, including activity/exercise. That’s called your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). You’ll need to multiply BMR with an Activity Factor that best reflects how active you are. Those activity factors are:

 

 4) With your TDEE in hand, now you have a much better idea about how many calories your body needs to maintain itself.  You need to adjust your caloric intake to your goals.  You must reduce your daily calories to be under this TDEE and be consistent if you want to lose fat.

To gain muscle, although everyone agrees that you need to exceed your TDEE, the amount necessary remains difficult to accurately determine. One study of bodybuilders reports you’ll need to exceed it by about 15%., whereas the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends an overall caloric increase of between 300-500 calories a day.]

2. Measure Success By Tracking Changes In Your Body

It seems logical to use a scale to track your progress.  You probably have one at home, and since you’re expecting to see weight loss changes, it makes sense to use it to track your progress.  However, using a scale can give you a false impression of your progress that can leave you feeling discouraged, or worse – make you think you’re not getting results when you actually are!

  • Your muscle gains can influence your weight change.

If you’re new to the gym and you start incorporating some strength training in your routine, you’ll likely start gaining some muscle while you lose fat.  Your muscle gains might not completely offset your fat loss gains, but they will influence your scale weight and make it seem like you aren’t making any progress when you actually are.

In this above example, this person increased their Skeletal Muscle Mass and decreased their Fat Mass.  If the muscle gains are greater than the fat losses, this can lead to an overall weight and BMI increase.  

However, this leads to an overall reduction in both body fat mass and body fat percentage.  This means that even with increased weight, overall fitness and physical appearance will improve.

  • Your diet is affecting your water retention.

If you’re on a diet, especially one that’s restrictive on calories and carbohydrates, you’re likely going to see some noticeable changes in your weight right away – but then they’ll stop.  No, you’re not hitting some kind of wall or plateau: you just experienced initial water weight loss is all.

This happens because by cutting carbohydrates out of your diet, you’re also cutting out glycogen – the energy molecule provided by carbohydrates.  Glycogen has a very interesting attribute: 3-4 grams of water bond to each molecule of glycogen.  So, when you start cutting carbs out of your diet, you’re also cutting out the excess water.

3. Set Reasonable Goals

Not seeing results after a lot of time and energy invested at the gym and in your diet is very frustrating.  However, you can let go of a lot of this frustration by setting reasonable goals.

  • Reasonable Fat Loss

First off, you can’t expect any reasonable fat loss without being in a caloric deficit – using more energy than you’re eating.  Without having an estimate of your TDEE, you’re going to be doing the fitness equivalent of grasping in the dark.

Once you have an estimate of your TDEE, you can set a reasonable caloric deficit to achieve measurable fat loss.  Although there is some variation, most experts and resources, including the Centers for Disease Control, agree that a caloric deficit of about 500 calories each day equaling to 3,500 calories a week will result in a pound of fat loss per week.

This means there’s good news and bad news.  The bad news is that 1 pound of fat a week might be a little slower than you might have hoped for.

The good news is that this 1 pound of fat is a real pound gone, and as long as you don’t fall back into habits with poor diet and little activity, you can keep off that pound of fat even after you reach your goal.

  • Reasonable Muscle Gain

Any discussion about how much muscle you can gain and how fast you can gain it invariably brings up discussion of your genetic threshold.  It’s widely understood that you can’t (naturally) gain muscle at a constant rate forever and that beginner lifters gain more muscle faster than athletes who have been developing their bodies for years; however, what’s not so well understood is what the limit or rate is.

Lyle McDonald of Bodyrecomposition offers a model he means to be taken for general use which holds that in the first year of consistent and proper training, a beginner can expect to gain 2 pounds of muscle a month, or about half a pound of muscle a week.

Gaining muscle requires a whole different set of nutritional requirements and workouts from that of losing fat. Although both goals have their own challenges, building muscle may actually be the more difficult of the two.

Unlike fat loss, building muscle requires increasing your caloric intake beyond your TDEE and performing consistent strength-based exercises properly, while giving yourself the recovery time necessary to let your muscles grow and develop.

You’re also going to need to monitor your protein intake to makes sure you’re providing your body with enough nutrients to promote muscle growth.

Never Start Over Again

Ultimately, a healthy body is a reflection of a healthy lifestyle.  A healthy diet that involves staying active and doesn’t involve overeating will result in the appearance you want.

Tying it all together, the best way to break the cycle is to think about your health and fitness as a lifestyle choice instead of something based on physical appearance or a number on the scale.  Looking at it that way, time becomes irrelevant, as you will slowly and steadily work towards your goals.  In time, you’ll get there, but in the meantime, you’ll be enjoying all the physical benefits that living a healthy lifestyle can bring, including:

  • More energy
  • Better sleep
  • Better mood

As well as the more intangible ones like

  • Feeling more comfortable with your appearance
  • Having your clothes fit you better
  • Having other people notice that you’re looking more fit and healthy

Make sure your time at the gym is worth it. In fitness and health, slow and steady really does win the race!

Source: https://inbodyusa.com/blogs/inbodyblog/92274497-how-to-end-the-cycle-of-starting-over/

How to Make a Fitness New Years Resolution You’ll Actually Do

By Blog, Health

Raise your hand if you said something like:

“In 2016, I’m finally going to lose weight!”

If you did, you’re not alone.  According to Statistics Brain Institute, a company that compiles statistics on a variety of topics and industries, losing weight was (unsurprisingly) the #1 New Year’s resolution made in 2015.

However, according to the same research, only 8% of people reported achieving their resolution by the end of 2015.  Also not terribly surprising.

But forget 2015.  It’s now into the third week of 2016, and this year is the year that you can actually achieve your fitness/weight loss goal.  It’s completely possible; you just need to go about it the right way.

Yes, it will take hard work and dedication. No, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up everything you enjoy doing (unless what you enjoy doing is surviving on exclusively burgers and soda).  Follow the below steps and by this time next year, you’ll be celebrating the beginning of 2017 with a new, fitter you.

Step 1: Throw Your Scale out the Window

This is key. In 2016, you’re going to part with your bathroom scale. Why? Because it’s been serving you a steady stream of lies every time you’ve stepped on it in the past.

How?

You say that you want to lose weight.  But what is weight, really? It’s really just a number, and seeing a number rise or fall on the scale doesn’t tell even close to the whole story. What you’re actually trying to say when you say you want to lose weight – whether you realize it or not – is you want to lose fat. Pounds of fat.

The truth is: your body isn’t just a vessel that weighs a certain amount; it’s made up of a lot of different things, including fat, muscle, bone mineral, and body water.  This way of dividing your body into its parts is called your body composition.  When you lose (or gain weight), the actual changes in your body that your scale registers as weight changes are actually changes in one or more parts of your body composition – changes in muscle, changes in fat, etc.

Weighing yourself on the scale when you’re trying to lose weight – or worse: weighing yourself every day – can set you up for failure by not accurately reporting your progress, causing you to become discouraged.  Here’s how.

Here’s a profile of someone who is just beginning their fitness program, and is doing moderate to heavy weight lifting as part of their plan.  Here’s the same person, about three months later.

As a result of a proper diet and consistent exercise, this person has lost 5 pounds of fat. But because this person has been building muscle as well, their weight hasn’t changed at all.

If this person’s goal was simply “weight loss,” despite their positive gains in muscle and losses in fat, this person might think that no progress was made.  After months of kicking yourself into shape and being super careful about your diet, a lack of movement on the scale can be extremely discouraging.

This is why you need to focus on improving your body composition – not weight loss.  Weight loss doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know what you’re losing and gaining.

Step 2: Learn a bit about calories

“Counting calories.”

For some people, this phrase brings feelings of the purest dread.  Not only do people think it’s a lot of work, but that it also means the end of eating anything delicious.

Fortunately, keeping track of calories isn’t that hard, and depending on what your goals are, you may be able to eat more than you think.  But first, here are some basic truths on calories.

First: let’s get something straight right now – from an energy storing perspective, it doesn’t matter all that much how often/when you eat.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (bold text added):

The time of day isn’t what affects how your body uses calories. It’s the overall number of calories you eat and the calories you burn over the course of 24 hours that affects your weight.

It helps to think of your caloric needs like a daily budget.  If your needs are 2,400 calories and you “spend” a 1,000 calories on breakfast, that’s fine – it’s just that you only get 1,400 calories until breakfast the next day.

Second: everyone’s caloric needs are different; so that 2,000 daily recommended calorie intake on the nutrition label? Consider that to be the most general, vaguest set of guidelines that almost certainly will set you up for failure, especially since it was picked in no small part because it was just an easy number to remember, rounded off to the nearest thousand for convenience 1.

To find your individual caloric needs, you need to estimate something called your Total Daily Energy Expenditure – the amount of calories that you burn in a 24-hour period.  Generally speaking, your TDEE has two major components:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): the total number of calories your body requires to “stay on” and power bodily processes like brain activity, pumping blood, breathing, digesting, etc.
  • Activity Rate: an estimated index of how active you are over 24 hours

To get TDEE, multiply BMR with Activity Rate. For example, someone with a BMR of 1600 calories and is moderately active (exercises 3-5x a week) would have a total caloric need of around 2,480 calories, nearly 500 calories more than the traditional 2,000 calorie diet.

Use your TDEE as the baseline from how you create your diet.  “Cutting calories” doesn’t mean “starvation” – it means making a moderate reduction in your caloric intake as determined by your daily needs.

Based on what your goals are, designing a diet and knowing what’s an appropriate caloric intake does get a little more complicated, but there’s a complete guide to using BMR to creating a diet right here.

Step 3: Choose 1 Goal (from 2 options) and Plan Your Diet

source: Flickr

In 2016, you’re not going to think about “weight loss” any more.  Instead, you’re going to think about choosing from one of the two following goals: “fat loss” or “muscle gain.”  Both of these goals will have the effect of reducing your overall body fat percentage but achieve it in different ways.

But just one goal – not both at the same time? Can’t you lose fat and gain muscle at the same time? Maybe. But it will be extremely difficult to effectively do both over any extended period of time.  This is because the nutritional and caloric needs your body requires to gain muscle effectively are different from those when you want your body to lose fat.

  • Fat Loss

If you want to lose fat, you need to encourage your body to enter what’s called a catabolic state – a state when your body breaks down body tissue instead of building it.  This requires you to take in fewer calories than you bring in.

But remember: your TDEE is made of two parts, BMR and Activity Level, so taking in fewer calories doesn’t necessarily (and shouldn’t) mean you have to cut out breakfast completely or something equally drastic.  If you weren’t working out at all before, simply increasing your activity level by starting an exercise program while maintaining your caloric intake may be enough to trigger fat loss.  If this sounds like you, simply beginning an exercise program is a good way to get started.

However, most people will need a combination of caloric reduction and exercise to achieve consistent and healthy fat loss.  How many calories you need to reduce will vary based on your individual body composition and goals.

  • Muscle Gain

You can’t lose fat forever, and at some point you will need to work on developing muscle – or at the very least, work to preserve the muscle that you have already.  This will require a different diet and exercise plan than the one designed for fat loss.  Instead of getting your body into a catabolic state, you’ll want to enter into an anabolic state – a state where your body builds tissue instead of breaking it down.

To build muscle, your body needs resources.  This means proper nutrition – sufficient protein intake is critical when trying to increase muscle mass – but equally as important is eating enough calories.  There is a popular misconception that taking in excessive amounts of protein is the key to muscle gain, but in a Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition publication, high performance athletes who failed to meet their caloric needs were found to have limited lean body mass gains, despite increasing their protein beyond their daily recommended needs.

So what is a good estimate of your caloric needs for this goal?  Although nutrition plays a large role in determining diet, from a caloric standpoint, research suggests that maintaining an energy surplus of about 15% is appropriate for developing musculature.  This means, all else being equal, the moderately active person with a BMR of 1,600 calories would want to shoot for around 2,852 calories a day.

Step 4: Plan for a Marathon, not a 100-yard dash

source: Flickr

In a world where virtually every piece of information in all of human history can be searched for in seconds by anyone with a smartphone, people are used to getting the results they want when they want them.  Unfortunately, you can’t expect the same from your body.

That’s why if you hang around enough fitness people for long enough, you’ll eventually hear them talk about a “fitness journey.”  That’s because that’s exactly what fitness is – a journey. It’s not a sprint, and it will take time to make meaningful changes that last.

For example, in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, participants were divided into two groups that created a 25% energy gap between what they ate and what they burned. The first group did this by only dieting (25% caloric reduction) and the second achieving it by splitting the energy deficit by both diet and exercise (12.5% caloric reduction + 12.5% increase in energy use due to increased exercise).

The results were interesting: both groups were able to reduce their body weight by about 10% and their total fat mass by 24%, indicating that for fat/weight reduction, caloric reduction by any means is critical, regardless of how it is achieved.  For a 180 pound person, a 10% reduction comes out to 3 pounds of loss per month, which is less than a pound a week.

This can be challenging for some people – to not see any measurable changes on the scale after a week of diet/diet+exercise.  Even after two weeks, you may only see your weight decrease by a pound, maybe two.  If you’re measuring your weight by just using a scale, this can be especially frustrating (another reason why you should get rid of it).

Plan for the long term, and don’t expect to see dramatic changes right away.  And because you’re planning for the long term, that also means that you don’t need to be perfect every single day.  That’s going to put on too much pressure, cause frustration, and maybe cause you to fail.  That’s why this guide’s final step is important.

Step 5: Let Cheat Days Happen (and don’t feel bad about it)

source: Flickr

That’s right.  Break your diet every once in a while. Skip the odd gym day and go out for pizza and beer. It’s OK.

Didn’t expect that, did you?

But wait! Isn’t this how you “gain it all back”?  You hear stories about people breaking their diets and then gaining 5 pounds or more over a cheat weekend, erasing a month of hard work.

This is where your scale – if you’re still using one – really can screw you up with negative thinking and discouragement.  So you gained 5 pounds over the weekend; is your scale lying?  Not exactly. Yes you gained 5 pounds, but more than likely, it’s 5 pounds of water.

Your weight will fluctuate throughout the day based on what you eat and drink.  If you’re dieting, a pretty common/near universal strategy is to reduce your carbohydrate intake (aka “cutting carbs”).

By reducing your intake of foods rich in carbohydrates, you’re reducing your overall glycogen stores. Glycogen is a molecule your body converts into energy and is a source of short-term energy; as opposed to fat, which is typically used in cases where energy from glycogen or other short-term energy sources aren’t available.

What does glycogen have to do with scales, water, and cheat days? Everything, actually.

Water molecules love glycogen.  In fact, for every gram of glycogen in your body, there will be 3-4 grams of water bonded to it.  Your loading your body with glycogen when you’re eating your carbohydrate-dense food and drinks on your cheat day, and water is bonding to it.  So when you step on the scale the day after, it’s very possible to see yourself gain several pounds in a day.

This doesn’t mean you gained it all back.  Chances are, it’s just water and once you get back on your diet and exercise program, your weight will be back to where it was in a couple days. Watch.

5 Step Plan Review

Let’s review your 5 step plans for a weight loss plan that you’ll actually do in 2016.

  1. Throw out your scale and get your body composition tested.  If your gym doesn’t do it, join one that does. The longer you stick with a scale, the longer you’ll be frustrated.
  2. Learn the basics of calories and find your TDEE.
  3. Pick 1 goal. You can change it later.
  4. Prepare for your own “fitness journey.” Slow and steady wins the race.
  5. Have a cheat day. It will help you stay sane, and it will give you something to look forward to every week or two to keep you motivated.

Good luck!

 

Source: https://inbodyusa.com/blogs/inbodyblog/84369153-how-to-make-a-fitness-new-years-resolution-you-ll-actually-do/

How to Tell If You’re Skinny Fat (and what to do if you are)

By Blog, Health
Editor’s Note: This post was updated on July 20, 2018for accuracy and comprehensiveness. It was originally published on July 1, 2015.
by InBody USA

The term “skinny fat” has been around for a while now, but it seems to have started trending following a feature in TIME Magazine. In it, outwardly skinny and visually healthy people were surprised to learn that they had the same medical issues as an obese person.

Bottom line, looking skinny doesn’t mean you’re healthy if you are skinny fat.

If you’re a little unclear on what exactly skinny fat means, it refers to someone who has a weight and BMI that is normal for that person’s height but has much more fat than and not enough muscle recommended for optimal health.

Many people just assume that if their weight and/or BMI is normal, they have nothing to worry about. This has a lot to do with misconceptions about BMI’s usefulness in assessing weight and health. For example, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), if your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.99, you are considered to be in the normal range for sufficient health. So if you have a BMI of 22, you’re automatically in the clear, right?

Not so fast – although the WHO has set these ranges, they are quick to qualify them with the following:

[BMI] should be considered as a rough guide because it may not correspond to the same body fat percentage in different individuals.

Source: WHO

The fixation on weight, thinness, and BMI is where so many people get fooled into living unhealthy lifestyles. They feel like exercising daily and eating a healthy diet doesn’t apply to them because they look skinny. But looking the part doesn’t always mean you fit the part.

As Long as I Look Good, That’s All That Matters!

If only that were the case.

Unfortunately, that attitude is exactly what causes people to become skinny fat in the first place.  The appearance of being skinny seems to outweigh being fit and healthy. However, because of the way fat can be stored, skinny fat people risk having serious health problems.

Not all fat gets stored under the skin. Fat that people can see is referred to as subcutaneous fat, but there’s a second type – visceral fat – and it’s the worse of the two.  If you’re skinny fat, you likely have a lot of this second type.

Visceral fat is internal fat that develops in the abdominal cavity, gets stored around the organs, and wraps around your kidneys, intestines, stomach, and liver.  It’s sneaky because while it’s easy to see subcutaneous fat, it isn’t so easy to see the visceral fat in your midsection.

Having large amounts of visceral fat can spell a heap of trouble, according to Harvard Medical School.  Visceral fat has been linked with:

So while on the exterior, skinny fat people might look attractive, on the inside, their bodies may be at high risk for a number of health problems and syndromes.

How can you tell if you’re skinny fat?  It’s not as easy as looking in the mirror or standing on a scale. You need to understand what your weight is made of.

It’s Not Just About Weight

How your weight is distributed determines whether you fall into the skinny fat category.  Weight alone cannot tell whether you’re skinny fat or not, which is precisely why so many people don’t realize that they are.

The term “skinny fat” is actually a popular term that describes a very real medical condition called sarcopenic obesity. This condition refers to an individual who may have what would be considered a normal/healthy weight, but metabolically, this person shares many health characteristics as someone who is overweight or obese

A person who is sarcopenic obese will have high fat mass and low muscle mass.

One of the best ways to determine whether you may be skinny fat is to have your body composition analyzed and your percentage of body fat determined.

How to Tell If You’re Skinny Fat

Once you’re able to get reliable information about your body fat percentage, you can compare it against the recommended percent body fat ranges. The recommended ranges for healthy men are between 10-20% body fat, and for women, the ranges are 18-28%.1

If your body fat exceeds these ranges, but you have a normal weight when you stand on the scale, you may be skinny fat.

There are several ways to have your body composition analyzed, all of which come with differing degrees of convenience and accuracy. Here are three ways to measure body composition:

Calipers

Probably one of the most common forms of body composition analysis. Calipers operate by pinching the fat that is held just under the skin (subcutaneous fat) and estimating the internal (or visceral) fat, which is where many skinny fat people hide their weight.

Getting consistent results from test to test can be an issue as well because each test administrator will have a different degree of skill than the person who conducted the test before. Even if it is the same person conducting the test, there is always the risk of human error (pinching softer/harder, etc.) with each test.

So, although this is probably the most accessible way to measure your body fat, it won’t be the most accurate. This is because calipers only actually measure the subcutaneous fat and then use prediction equations or tables based upon your age to guess the visceral fat.

Clinical Tests

It is possible to have your body composition determined in a clinical setting using tests and procedures such as hydrostatic weighing and dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). However, these procedures both require specialized equipment, and in the case of DEXA, exposes your body to low levels of radiation. Although both of these tests are regarded as being highly accurate, because of the limited access, they may not be the easiest to access for regular testing to track changes in body composition.

BIA Scales and Devices

BIA devices are devices that use small electric currents to measure body composition. These are the body composition results of someone who fits the skinny fat/sarcopenic obese body profile:

Below are results from an InBody Test, a medical body composition analyzer:

This section is taken from the InBody Result Sheet. 

For this person, who is a 5’4” female, 135.3 pounds is just above her ideal weight, but within what is considered normal (BMI 23.2).  However, it’s clear to see that this person does not have enough Skeletal Muscle Mass and has excessive body fat. If you do the math, this person has a body fat percentage of 35.0%. This surpasses all upper limits of percent body fat ranges, which are usually around 28%.

BIA devices are quick, easy to use, and depending on the manufacturer, can be quite accurate in determining body composition results for all areas of the body – including the abdominal area, where visceral fat builds up over time.

Visceral Fat area over 100 square meters increases the risk for metabolic syndrome.

When using a BIA device, it’s important to look into how the device you are using determines body composition and how accurate its results are.  Some handheld devices may only directly measure your arms and estimate the remainder, while others may only directly measure your legs and estimate the upper body.  Whenever possible, use a BIA device that directly measures the entire body for the most accurate results.

If you find out you are skinny fat through body composition, the next step is to figure out how to improve.

How Do People Become Skinny Fat?

Image Credit: LifeSpan

First, you need to understand how you may have become skinny fat.

Essentially, the net result of losing muscle mass (and decreasing metabolic rate) and gaining fat mass due to maintaining the same caloric intake with a lower metabolic rate creates the skinny fat condition.  Diet and exercise (or lack thereof) play key roles here.

Carbohydrates and foods that are high in calories are great for creating energy potential in the body, but if that energy is not used through activity and exercise, it will become stored in the body as fat.

Similarly, muscle mass decreases over time when the muscles are not being used. If you work in a 9-5 job that requires you to be seated and not move around for most of the day, skeletal muscle mass is likely to decrease over time.  Fat mass will also increase as mobility decreases.

Sitting all day, eating an unhealthy diet, and skipping workouts is a recipe for muscle loss and fat gain.  Many people have sedentary lifestyles due to work and are prime candidates for muscle loss and fat gain if they don’t do anything to guard against it.

However, this isn’t the only way muscle loss and fat gain can occur.

Michael Matthews over at Muscle For Life, in an exceptionally well-researched piece, has another take on how people become skinny fat. Instead of losing muscle because they don’t exercise, he shows that people can lose muscle because they don’t diet and exercise the right way:

Conventional weight loss advice:

  1. Severe calorie restriction
  2. Excessive amounts of cardio
  3. Minimal weightlifting with an emphasis on high-rep training
Source: Muscle For Life

If you try to cut calories, while at the same time run on a treadmill an 1 hour a day 5 days a week, your body may not have the energy it needs to perform.  After a certain point, your body will start metabolizing muscle because it needs energy once the other options are exhausted. Weight loss will occur at the expense of both fat and muscle loss, which will do very little to improve body fat percentage and becoming less skinny fat.

Now that you understand the cause, here is the solution.

How To Overcome Being Skinny Fat

It all goes back to improving your body composition.

People who want to be thin and healthy need to increase their muscle mass and reduce their fat mass.  

This can be done in a number of ways, such as eating a protein-rich diet, but one of the best ways is to increase Skeletal Muscle Mass from weight training that focuses on heavy, compound exercises.

Why weight training?  Lifting heavy weights is the best way to increase muscle growth, and correspondingly, Lean Body Mass.

With increased lean body mass, your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) increases. In plain speech, the higher your BMR, the more calories your body naturally burns when it is doing nothing (i.e. sleeping).  The more calories you burn at rest, the greater the fat loss.

If you are worried that building muscle might make you look bulky instead of skinny, don’t!  Muscle is much denser than fat, meaning that if you weighed the same as you do now, but you had more muscle than fat, you would actually appear thinner.  Except in this thin body, you would be healthier.

Most people don’t know that muscle is also heavier than fat.  So, perhaps ironically, if you were to increase your muscle/Lean Body Mass to the point where you were able to reduce your body fat percentage significantly, you may actually weigh more than you did when you had a skinny fat body.

This is why understanding your body composition is so important.  If you were just measuring your weight with a scale and judging your appearance in the mirror, you may have never known you were potentially at risk for health problems.

Also, misunderstandings about building muscle/gaining weight due to muscle may have led you to avoid strength training altogether and instead focused on insane levels of cardio coupled with calorie restriction. This is how many people become skinny fat in the first place.

So, now you know the facts.  Just because someone looks skinny, don’t just assume they are healthy.  Don’t aspire to be skinny, aspire to be healthy.  Because at the end of the day, being healthy is always attractive.


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