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COVID‐19 patients are prone to develop significant weight loss, malnutrition, and deterioration of body composition which are caused by many different factors. According to research, 81% of patients on the rehab wards post COVID-19 required dietetic input.
The main factors are as follows.
COVID-19 infection can cause major inflammation, particularly pronounced in patients with severe and critical diseases.
Malnutrition is frequently seen in COVID‐19 patients. Disease‐associated reductions in food intake and malnutrition can contribute to tissue wasting.
Immobilization can also significantly contribute to muscle wasting and sarcopenia in COVID‐19. Ultimately, the negative ‘synergy’ of all these factors together can cause significant body wasting in COVID‐19 patients as clinically often observed.
Then how does the body composition change after COVID-19 infection and during the recovery?
Body Composition Change After Infection
Through the actual case of a patient who recovered from COVID-19, we will see how body composition changed after being infected with COVID-19 and in the recovery, and how the InBody results can help COVID-19 patients.
On December 19th of 2020, this person was infected with COVID-19 and hospitalized from the 4th to the 9th of January. This 50-year-old male used to maintain good body composition status (with an InBody score over 80).
Below is his InBody result before & after COVID-19.
If you see the change of his body composition before and after the COVID-19 infection, you can see :
4) Phase Angle decreased, especially the trunk Phase Angle from 9.5 to 5.7.
After the infection, not only the patients’ body composition changes but also their lungs might become inflamed, making it tough for them to breathe. For some people, the infection becomes more serious and the lung tissue itself becomes swollen and filled with fluid and debris from dead cells.
This man had similar symptoms as above. COVID-19 made him difficult to have proper breathing. After the treatment, the function of the lung, immunity system, and breathing ability got slowly well with the effort of doctors and nurses, but he also tried some exercises to accelerate the recovery process and get back to the condition before the infection.
His Efforts for the Recovery
In the beginning, he started doing exercise as usual. He tried running, swimming, and other exercises. However, his heart rate dramatically went up as soon as he tried those exercises. Even when he tried to climb the stairs in his home, his heart rate increased up to 130bpm with SvO2 dropping to 88%. Then it took more than 5 mins to get his breath back. This is because hard/strong exercise for someone who has respiratory diseases makes the condition worse. It is proved by several research studies conducted about how hard exercise negatively affects lung function.
Then how did he manage it? He started to exercise in a controlled condition. Starting with slowly walking between the kitchen and room. Then he tried several exercises with monitoring his SvO2 and HR rate to find the best exercise which does not affect his body condition. He found that indoor cycling at zero effort can maintain his SvO2 between 88-92% and HR between 78-90. He exercised his lung systematically to breathe deeper and deeper. He also monitored blood glucose levels as COVID-19 gave the pancreas beating.
Body Composition Change during the Recovery
As shown above, after the exercise,
His weight increased from 85.5kg to 89.4kg,
His muscle mass, which had been reduced to 37.2kg, increased to 39kg.
Most of the COVID patients suffer from weight loss/muscle loss (about 61% decreases by more than 5% of the total body weight), and it is difficult for them to increase their muscle and weight, but it is very important.
Use of Body Composition for COVID-19 Patient
In order to return to a healthy status same as before the COVID-19, close body composition monitoring is necessary. During the recovery process, if you only focus on the weight gain, important nutritional indicators (ECW ratio, Phase Angle) and fat/muscle management are not able to be achieved. Without management of key factors, the nutritional status may not return to normal.
If we take a look at the results of the 50-year-old man, some of the parameters were recovered, but the ECW Ratio or Phase angle did not return to the previous status, and at the same time he thought that the body condition is not the same as before.
In many cases of COVID-19 patients, they tend to focus on the weight only to monitor the recovery, but in fact, the perfect recovery can be achieved when we monitor and manage the body composition.
• Muscle Loss (Sarcopenia)
1) While the patients are suffering from disease, physical activity decreases. 2) One of the most common post-COVID symptoms is fatigue, which refrains post-COVID patients from physical exercises.
The above two can lead to muscle loss. To prevent sarcopenia, it is important to monitor the muscle mass and have some proper treatments not to lose muscle.
• ECW ratio (Inflammation)
ECW ratio, the ratio of Extracellular Water to Total Body Water is an important indicator to check the balance of body water. Acute systematic inflammation that can occur during the disease can raise the ECW ratio. Moreover, since the ECW ratio sensitively reflects your body condition, it can be used to track the recovery of the patient.
• Phase Angle (Nutrition)
Phase Angle is a clinically important bioimpedance parameter used for nutritional assessment and evaluating the severity of various diseases. Low Phase Angle tends to be consistent in individuals with malnutrition, infection, cancer, and old age.
Phase Angle can be also used to monitor the recovery of the post- COVID patients.
If you want to know more about the body composition analyzer which shows ECW ratio, Phase Angle, please contact us.
Editor’s Note: This post was updated on October 5, 2018, for accuracy and comprehensiveness. It was originally published on February 10, 2016
You probably don’t think about your body composition when you’re thinking about your metabolism. But you should.
You probably think about it in terms of speed: “My metabolism is fast” or “my metabolism is slowing down.” If that sounds like you, you’re not alone: simply googling the word “metabolism” yields 4 articles in the top 10 all based around boosting/increasing your metabolism for weight loss.
People are naturally afraid of their metabolism slowing and the weight gain they know comes with it. To some extent, those worries are well-founded.
Metabolism is linked with weight gain and loss because of its a biological process involved with energy and calories.
…the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this complex biochemical process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.
Notice how it doesn’t mention anything about the speed you process your food. That would be digestion.
In medical terminology, metabolism is known as your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which is the minimum number of calories your body needs to perform basic bodily functions. BMR is usually expressed in terms of calories. Your Basal Metabolic Rate also has another interesting quality: the more Lean Body Mass (which includes muscle, water, and minerals) you have, the greater your BMR will be.
When we talk about metabolism, we should always start the conversation with how many calories your body needs. But because your BMR and Lean Body Mass are linked, that means any conversation about metabolism becomes a conversation about your body composition.
Your Body Composition Is Linked To Your Metabolism
Why is it that some people seem to be able to eat whatever they want and never experience any weight gain, while other people – even skinny people – feel like whenever they have one bite of dessert it instantly goes to their waistline?
The reason is that metabolism can vary in size.
Take a look at these two body composition profiles, and see if you can spot the difference.
Beyond the obvious differences in weight, the Person A has a much smaller Basal Metabolic Rate than the second. This means Person B needs more calories than Person A in order to provide their body with the necessary energy to function without losing weight. Because the BMR is bigger, the metabolism is “bigger.”
Greater than height and gender, the most important factor playing into BMR is the amount Lean Body Mass each person has. That’s because, as research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states, the more Lean Body Mass you have, the greater your Basal Metabolic Rate will be. That is why strength training for muscle gain, which in turn will increase your lean body mass, is recommended as a way to increase your metabolism.
This is why people who are big or above average in weight can eat more than people who are smaller. Their body literally requires them to eat more to maintain their weight, and specifically – their Lean Body Mass.
OK, you say, but these two people are very different in body weight – of course, the second person will have a bigger metabolism. Take a look at the two people below, who we’ll call “Jane” and “Sarah”, two individuals who are similar body in age, height, weight, and gender.
Despite being similar in age, height, weight, and gender, these two people have very different body composition profiles. As a result, they have different Basal Metabolic Rates. Although Jane has a body weight within the normal range (identified by being near the 100% mark), her body composition is defined by having more fat mass and less lean body mass and skeletal muscle than Sarah.
The person below has a lower body fat percentage and more Lean Body Mass – which is why when looking at this person, you’d describe them as “lean.” Again, because this person has more than 10 pounds more Lean Body Mass, her Basal Metabolic Rate comes out over a hundred calories greater than the person above.
Metabolism and Weight Gain Over Time
Image Source: Flickr
Let’s take a deeper look at what you might call a “slow” metabolism. Far from being an issue of fastness or slowness, weight gain is almost always the result of a caloric imbalance that goes unchecked over a long period of time.
But first, something needs to be clarified – your Basal Metabolic Rate is not the only factor that plays into your overall caloric needs, and it’s not the total amount of calories you need in a day. There are two other major influencers, which are:
Your energy level – how active you are
The thermic effect of food – the energy your body uses to digest your food
These taken together with your Basal Metabolic Rate provide your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is the number of calories your body burns in a day.
BMR is a necessary piece of information to estimate TDEE. Although they’re not exact, equations exist for estimating your TDEE based on your activity level and BMR. These are based on multiplying your BMR with an “activity factor” – a number between 1 and 2 – that increases the more active you are (and decreases when you are less active, regardless of your appetite).
To take a closer look into metabolism and weight gain, let’s take the two people whose body compositions we’ve looked at above, Jane and Sarah, and see what could happen in a real world example and accounting for diet and exercise.
For this exercise, we first need to estimate TDEE for Jane and Sarah, using their BMRs as a guide. Based on Jane and Sarah’s compositions, it would be fair to assume that Jane does less exercise/is less active than Sarah, so we’ll assign an activity level of “Sedentary” for Jane and assign “Lightly Active” for Sarah.
Using these numbers and multiplying it by the appropriate activity factor, we can estimate Jane’s TDEE to be 1573 calories and Sarah’s to be 1953 calories, a difference of 380 calories.
Notice how although the difference in BMR was a little over 100 calories when activity levels are factored in, the difference in actual caloric needs becomes magnified.
Now that we have an estimate of the calories Jane and Sarah will need/burn in a day, let’s give them calories to take in. Let’s put them both on a diet of 1,800 calories a day – the estimated caloric intake suggested by the USDA for sedentary women between the ages of 26-30.
Assuming that Jane and Sarah both follow the 1,800 calorie diet perfectly without any extra, high caloric snacks or treats, Jane would end each day with a calorie surplus of 227 calories/day. Sarah would end each day in a slight calorie deficit of 153 calories a day.
When you are in a caloric surplus – taking in more calories than you use – and live a mostly sedentary lifestyle, you will experience weight gain, specifically, fat. An extra 227 calories a day might not seem like a lot at first – that’s about a single soda -, but over time, a surplus of 227 calories a day becomes 1589 extra calories a week and a surplus of 7037 extra calorie a month: roughly 2 pounds of fat gain per month.
Bottom line: despite being the same height, same gender, similar weight, and similar ages, because of the difference between Jane and Sarah’s body compositions, Jane will experience weight gain over time while Sarah might experience some weight loss (because of her calorie deficit), even though their diets are the same. That’s because the differences in their caloric needs, although seemingly small at first, increase to significant differences when allowed to persist over time.
It’s not about their age or anything else; it’s about their body compositions determining their metabolism/caloric needs.
Making Your Metabolism Work For You
Because your metabolism isn’t something that slows down or speeds up depending on things like age, this actually gives you some control over it. With the correct exercise and dietary plan, you can make your metabolism work for you
Improve and increase your metabolism
It all goes back to improving and maintaining a healthy body composition.
Because your body needs more energy to support itself when it has more Lean Body Mass, working to increase your Lean Body Mass can actually increase your Basal Metabolic Rate, which can have a huge impact on your TDEE once you factor in your activity level.
Avoid a decrease in your metabolism
For many people, simply maintaining their metabolism or avoiding a “slowdown” (which as we’ve seen, is a myth right up there with muscle turning into fat) is an important goal.
How can you avoid a decrease of your metabolism?
In short: by maintaining the Lean Body Mass that you already have. That means maintaining your Skeletal Muscle Mass.
Your Skeletal Muscle Mass isn’t the same as your Lean Body Mass, but it is the overall biggest contributor to it. It’s the muscle that you can actually grow and develop through exercise, and increases/decreases in SMM have a strong influence on increases/decreases in Lean Body Mass.
Skeletal Muscle Mass is best developed through strength training and resistance exercise along with a proper diet. A regular exercise plan that includes strength training and resistance exercise will help you maintain your Skeletal Muscle Mass.
This can be especially important as you age. As people become older and busier, activity levels tend to drop and a proper diet can become harder to maintain as responsibilities increase. Poor diet and nutrition can lead to loss of Lean Body Mass over time, which leads to a decrease in overall metabolism – not a slowdown.
Balance your diet and with your metabolism
The example of Jane is a good example of a well-intentioned dietary plan that doesn’t match the metabolism of the person practicing it.
Even though Jane has been led to believe that 1,800 calories is right for her based on age and gender, her metabolism doesn’t require that caloric intake, and she will end up gaining weight despite her efforts to eat a healthy diet. In the end, she will probably end up blaming her “slowing metabolism.”
It’s examples like Jane’s that show how important understanding the link between metabolism and body composition is.
How much Lean Body Mass do you have? What might your Basal Metabolic Rate be? These questions should be answered first before starting any weight loss or diet program, as well as conversations about metabolism.
The first step is always to get the information you need to get the answers to these questions by getting your body composition accurately tested. Your metabolism and your body composition are strongly linked, so in order to truly understand your metabolism and weight, you must get your body composition tested.
Editor’s Note: This post was updated on November 4, 2018, for accuracy and comprehensiveness. It was originally published on September 12, 2017.
It’s no secret that we’re living longer now than ever before. The average life expectancy in the United States was 78.8 years of age in 2015, up from 76.8 in 2000.
While living a longer life sounds great in theory, its only great as far as your health and body allow it.
We often focus on proper nutrition and physical activity as a way to prevent chronic diseases such as Cardiovascular Disease or Diabetes, but we sometimes neglect the importance of nutrition and exercise on our body composition and how that impacts our long-term health and functional ability.
As we age, our body composition begins to shift, physical activity tends to decrease, and this leads to a change in our body composition. Coupled with a change in diet (or a change in our nutrition status as a result of a medical condition), muscle mass begins to decline, and we become susceptible to accidental injuries, chronic joint pain and decreased tolerance to surgery.
Let’s take a closer look at why being aware of the risk of sarcopenia is so important, and how you can combat it.
What does Sarcopenia even mean?
Sarcopenia refers to a clinically significant loss of muscle mass and strength resulting from “normal aging”. It is not solely the result of disease, but rather, is part of the natural aging process. This is not to be confused with cachexia, which describes the uncontrolled loss of muscle mass and/or body fat mass. While cachexia is most often thought of as a case of malnutrition due to health conditions such as cancer, sarcopenia focuses on changes in nutrition and physical activity that causes a progressive loss of muscle mass. This is important because sarcopenic individuals can maintain their fat mass, which can also lead to a “skinny fat” body composition. The condition of sarcopenic obesity has greater health consequences, as we will describe later.
Historically, scientists and doctors believed that this muscle loss and its resulting consequences (balance issues, change in walking performance and a decreased ability to perform activities of daily living) were inevitable, but experts agree if we stay on top of our activity and body composition, we might just be able to fight this slow loss of muscle mass and strength.
It’s no secret that as we age, not only do we tend to gain more fat, but we also begin to lose muscle mass.
Studies have shown that older adults between the ages of 60-69 years old have 14 and 13 pounds less lean body mass respectively than men and women 20-29 years old, despite being more than 8 to 12 pounds heavier.
So what’s going on?
What causes sarcopenia?
To reiterate, sarcopenia is thought to be part of the normal aging process but the process is more complex than that.
Causes seem to be multifactorial and include age, inadequate nutrition (such as decreased protein intake), hormonal changes, increases in pro-inflammatory proteins (proteins that our body makes, not the ones that we eat), decreased physical activity, vascular (circulatory) diseases, etc.
Let’s break this down further.
While we do know that sarcopenia is often related to aging, we also know that there are many other factors that contribute to the progressive muscle loss that characterizes sarcopenia. Some of these factors are not directly related to our diet but may exacerbate the muscle loss or cause it to progress more quickly.
One study found that the prevalence of sarcopenia increased from 4% of men and 3% of women aged 70-75 years old to 16% of men and 13% of women age 85 and older. This may be related to the changes in activity, so we are still learning if we are able to prevent this “aging-related” muscle loss.
Hormones are chemicals produced by the endocrine system that help control major bodily function. As we age, hormone production changes which play a huge part in the aging process, as they are involved in the development of muscle mass and strength.
Many seniors are at risk of malnutrition because a variety of external factors that affect their ability maintain good nutrition. Malnutrition is defined as a state of lack of uptake or intake of nutrition which can affect body composition negatively. These complications affect not only our diet/exercise but how our body responds to our diet and exercise.
An important nutrient that elderly people may not be getting enough of is protein. Trouble chewing, high food costs, are trouble cooking are all factors that limit elderly people access to protein. Inadequate protein intake can progress sarcopenia.
Aging is accompanied by a loss of motor neurons due to cell death, which leads to a parallel decrease in muscle fiber number and size. This decrease in muscle fibers leads to impaired performance, a reduction in the functional capacity and a decreased ability to perform everyday tasks.
Increase in Pro-inflammatory Cytokines
Poor diet and exercise are also known to promote the storage of visceral fat. This type of fat tissue produces proinflammatory cytokines which can accelerate muscle breakdown and thus, worsen risk. Obesity and muscle weakness are both associated with high levels of these pro-inflammatory cytokines. Central obesity, made worse by decreased muscle mass seems to play a role in the progression of sarcopenia.
Disease-related malnutrition is different than the previously related malnutrition because this type of malnutrition is directly triggered by sickness or illness.
When an individual suffers from a health-related disease or is provided long-term hospital care increases their risk of malnutrition. A few of the conditions are provided here as an example.
Cardiovascular and respiratory diseases such as Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) tend to have onset during middle age, but the elderly population is most negatively affected. Elderly patients with these conditions undergo significantly greater wasting than those who are younger.
While some of these changes that occur within the body are expected with older age, the importance of proper diet and physical activity cannot be underscored enough; the better you treat your body, the more likely you are to prevent progressive muscle loss. Additionally, a healthy diet can prevent the storage of harmful fat mass, which may increase health risks.
You may not have heard the term sarcopenic obese, but you’ve likely heard the term “skinny fat ”. A person who is “skinny fat” may be a normal weight but has a metabolic composition similar to someone who is overweight or obese.
A person who is “skinny fat” has lost muscle mass and gained or maintained fat mass. This can be the result of an improper diet coupled with physical inactivity.
Because sarcopenia is most commonly the result of improper diet/exercise, a person of any age can be sarcopenic obese, especially if they neglect their nutrition and exercise. This is why it’s so important to focus on body composition and not just weight.
How do you know if you’re sarcopenic? You’ll want to determine your body composition using a medical body composition analyzer and keep an eye on how it changes over time. If you find that your lean body mass is decreasing while your fat mass is increasing, you may be experiencing increasing your risk for sarcopenia or sarcopenic obesity.
How can you fight Sarcopenia?
While there is currently no cure for sarcopenia, there are multiple things you can do to ensure to preserve muscle. Similar to wearing sunscreen, it’s important to take these preventative measures. If you are already experiencing muscle breakdown, these factors might help delay its progression.
1) Strength Training
While we know it is important to exercise for your physical health, it is important to begin strength training( such as resistance training, bodyweight exercises, etc) at a young age to keep muscle mass high and decrease the likelihood that muscle will begin to break down prematurely
Resistance training has been shown to be effective at preventing or delaying sarcopenia, even in a very elderly population. Research has shown that resistance training elicits muscle hypertrophy as well as changes in neuromuscular function. These changes in muscle mass and nervous system function lead to an improved ability to perform those functional activities that may become more difficult with older age. If you are worried that your body is too old to cope with resistance training, remember that there is no age limit. If you are worried about injury, train under the supervision of a accredited fitness professional and stay within your ability level.
2) Increase Protein Intake
Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. The current Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) for protein is set at 10-35% of your daily energy needs. For those who already have signs of impaired muscle size or function, adequate protein intake is even more important to allow for optimal protein synthesis in the body.
Studies suggest that amino acid supplementation may improve outcomes for people with sarcopenia.. A popular supplement is essential amino acids, which are amino acids that the body cannot make on its own and can only be obtained from dietary sources. Leucine, an essential branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) has been shown to preserve lean body mass. Leucine seems to stimulate muscle protein synthesis in a similar way in both young and elderly populations.
4) Monitor Your Hormone Levels
As mentioned earlier, hormones can play a significant role in the progression of sarcopenia. Stay on top of your hormones by having your doctor check your levels during your annual visit.
As it currently stands, Hormone Replacement Therapy is not yet recommended for the treatment of sarcopenia but may become a feasible treatment option in the future.
5) Watch Your Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to be correlated with muscle loss in women regardless of body composition, diet and hormonal status. The research suggests that avoiding Vitamin D deficiency is not just important for bone health, but also in the avoidance of aging-related muscle loss.
Wrapping It Up
There are so many changes that come with aging, but decreasing quality of life doesn’t have to one of them. By focusing on resistance training, consuming adequate protein, and amino acid supplementation, you can improve the quality of life and functional ability by lowering your risk for developing sarcopenia. Regular body composition checks will create a more accurate picture of what is really going on with your muscle mass. By focusing on body composition rather than weight, you can better understand the changes that are taking place in your body.
For more information on InBody products which show the index for sarcopenia, please click here.
Alix Turoff MS, RD, CDN, CPT is a Registered Dietitian and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. She sees patients privately and also works as a freelance consultant and writer.
Editörün Notu: Bu gönderi, doğruluk ve anlaşılırlık için 30 Temmuz 2020’de güncellenmiştir. İlk olarak 22 Temmuz 2015’te yayınlanmıştır.
Viseral yağı duymuş ya da duymamış olabilirsiniz, ancak bu kesinlikle bilmeniz gereken bir tabirdir.
Peki viseral yağ tam olarak nedir? Ve neden dikkat edilmesi gereken bir konudur?
Bu soruları ele almak için öncelikle, Beden Kütle İndeksi’ nin (BKİ) viseral yağın potansiyel sağlık etkilerini maskelemedeki rolünü inceleyelim.
BKI Nasıl Yanıltıcı Olabilir?
Diyelim ki, yeni işinize başladığınızdan beri biraz kilo almış bir ofis çalışanısınız ve vücut ağırlığınızı ölçmek istiyorsunuz. Çoğu kişi gibi, bir kişinin kilolu veya obez olarak kabul edilip edilmediğini belirlemek için doktorlar, sigorta şirketleri ve diğer herkes tarafından yaygın olarak kullanılan Beden Kitle İndeksi’ ni (BKİ) kullanacaksınız.
İşte bununla ilgili Dünya Sağlık Örgütü’nden bir alıntı:
BKİ, her iki cinsiyet ve her yaştan yetişkin için aynı olduğundan, kilolu ve obez nüfus düzeyinde en yararlı ölçümü sağlamaktadır. Ancak farklı vücut yapısındaki bireylerde aynı vücut yağ yüzdesine karşılık gelmeyeceğinden, kaba bir rehber olarak değerlendirilmelidir.
Bu açık mesaja rağmen, birçok doktor ve sıradan insanlar, BKİ’yi sadece sağladığı rahatlıktan dolayı bir teşhis aracı olarak kullanmaya devam etmektedir.
Viseral Yağ Alanı, karın bölgesindeki iç organları çevreleyen tahmini yağ miktarına dayanmaktadır. Optimal sağlık için 100 cm²’nin altında bir Viseral Yağ Alanına sahip olmanız önerilmektedir.
Çoğu kişinin (ve medyanın) odaklandığı durum, önerilen vücut yağ yüzdesinin yüksek olması iken bireyin yüksek viseral yağ oranına sahip olması aslında daha kötü bir durumdur. Bunun nedeni, viseral yağın karın boşluğunuzun içinde yaşayan başka bir organ gibi hareket etmesidir.
Viseral Yağ: Nedir ve Neden Önemlidir?
Viseral yağ, karın bölgesinde bulunan ve iç organlarınızı çevreleyen özel bir yağ türüdür. Yüzeydeki (deri altı) yağın aksine, birinin iç organları çevresinde ne kadar yağ olduğunu sadece bakarak ölçmek kolay değildir.
Ağırlığı değerlendirmek için birincil aracınız olarak BKİ’ye güvenirseniz, önemli miktarda viseral yağınız olabilir ve bunun farkında olmayabilirsiniz.
Herkes bir miktar viseral yağa sahiptir, ancak bunun fazlası ciddi sağlık sorunları riskini artırmaktadır. Doğduğunuzdan beri sahip olduğunuz yaşamı sürdüren organların aksine viseral yağ, bu organları sabote etmek ve bedensel işlevlerini bozmak için içten dışa aktif olarak çalışmaktadır.
Harvard Üniversitesi‘ne göre, viseral yağ çeşitli hormon ve kimyasallar salgılamaktadır. Viseral yağın ürettiği bu kimyasalların bir tipine sitokinler denir. Sitokinler insan vücudunda önemli bir rol oynar, ancak aşırı viseral yağ nedeniyle artan sitokin seviyeleri sorun yaratabilmektedir.
Sitokinler karaciğere girdikten sonra, yüksek kolesterol ve insülin direnci ile bağlantılı olan kan lipidlerinin üretimini etkiler ve çok ciddi bir sağlık riski olan tip 2 diyabete yol açma potansiyeli bulunmaktadır.
Tip 2 diyabet tipik olarak kilolu veya obez olan kişilerle ilişkilidir ve BKİ’si normal aralığın (18,5-24,9) üzerinde olan kişilerin önemli ölçüde daha fazla sağlık riskleriyle karşı karşıya olduğu söylenmektedir. Bununla birlikte, BKİ, 24.99 noktasına yakın veya biraz üzerinde olan kişileri yanlış temsil edebilir.
Yaşam tarzı faktörlerine bağlı olarak, birçok insan, önceki örneğimizde olduğu gibi büyük miktarda abdominal viseral yağ içeren bir vücut profiline sahiptir: ancak çok fazla iskelet kası kütlesine sahip olmadıkları için “normal” aralıkta BKİ değerleri bulunabilmektedir. Hareketsiz yaşam tarzına yönelik eğilim nedeniyle, fazla viseral yağa sahip olma durumu giderek daha yaygın hale gelmektedir.
Hareketsiz yaşam tarzına sahip insanlar için bu sağlıksız alışkanlıklardan birkaçını benimsemek oldukça kolaydır. Zamanla, bu alışkanlıklar viseral yağ da dahil olmak üzere vücut yağının artmasına neden olacaktır.
Viseral Yağ Nasıl Ölçülür?
Fazla miktarda viseral yağınız olup olmadığını nasıl anlarsınız?
İşte üç seçenek:
1. Bel Ölçümü
Mayo Clinic‘e göre, mezura kullanarak belinizi ölçmek, viseral yağ içeriğinizi tahmin etmenin oldukça iyi bir yoludur. Beliniz; kadınlar için 35 inçten veya erkekler için 40 inçten fazlaysa, fazla viseral yağa sahip olabilirsiniz.
2. Dual Energy X-ray Absorbsiyometri (DEXA) Taraması
Viseral yağ birikim miktarını belirlemenin en kesin yöntemlerinden biri DEXA testi yaptırmaktır. Ancak bunu yapan bir tesise erişim gerekmekte ve testler de yüksek mali olabilmektedir.
3. Profesyonel Biyoelektrik Empedans Analizi (BİA)
Tıbbi bir BİA ölçümü, DEXA’ ya harika bir alternatif olabilmektedir. Bu testler, viseral yağ ile birlikte tüm vücut yağ yüzdenizi belirlemek amacıyla tüm vücutta dolaşan bir elektrik akımı ile direnci ölçmektedir.
Doğrudan segmental ölçümler yapan gelişmiş BİA cihazları, viseral yağ içeriğini de gösterebilmektedir, ancak kullandığınız cihazın bu özelliğe sahip olduğundan emin olmanız gerekmektedir.
Vücut kompozisyonunuzu bilmek, viseral yağ miktarınız hakkında size BKİ’nin verebileceğinden çok daha doğru bir fikir verecektir.
Kilonuz ve/veya BKİ’niz “normal” kabul ediliyor, ancak vücut kompozisyon testiniz vücut yağ yüzdenizin yüksek ve kas kütlenizin düşük olduğunu gösteriyorsa (cılız obez insanlarda olduğu gibi), viseral yağ oranını ve gelecekte kalp hastalığı gibi ciddi sağlık sorunları riskini azaltmak için yaşam tarzınızda bazı değişiklikler yapmayı düşünebilirsiniz.
Vücut kompozisyon testiniz BMH’ nızı ölçebiliyorsa, kilo verme stratejinizin bir parçası olarak, günlük kalori ihtiyaçlarınızı belirlemeye yardımcı olması için bunu kullanabilirsiniz. Unutmayın, viseral yağdan kurtulmaya başlamadan önce doktorunuzdan da tıbbi tavsiye almanız önemlidir.
Viseral Yağ Nasıl Verilir?
Viseral yağyakmak için HIIT (yüksek yoğunlukta interval antrenman) en iyi seçeneğinizdir.
Bir çalışma, 12 hafta boyunca 3 seans HIIT antrenman (seans başına 20 dakika) yapmanın, viseral yağı yüzde 17 oranında azalttığını göstermiştir.
Ayrıca, iki haftalık yüksek yoğunluklu aerobik antrenmanın, yağ oksidasyon kapasitesini arttırdığı gösterilmiştir. Bu da egzersiz yaptıktan saatler sonra bile metabolizmanızın geçici olarak hızlanmaya devam ettiğini göstermektedir.
Umuyoruz ki, viseral yağ ile ilgili her şey açıklığa kavuşmuştur. BKİ zayıf, kilolu veya bunların arasında bir yerde olup olmadığınızı belirleyemez- sadece sayıları verir. Aynı zamanda ne kadar viseral yağa sahip olduğunuzu da söyleyemez.
“Normal” bir kilonuz ve BKİ’ niz varsa bile, viseral yağ seviyeniz konusunda endişelenmemeniz gerektiğini düşünmeyin! Hataya düşüp “biraz kilolu olabilirim ama obez değilim, bu yüzden kilo vermem gerekmiyor” veya “Sanırım sadece iyi genlerim var, bu yüzden her zaman zayıf gözükeceğim” diye düşünmek kolaydır.
Hiç kimse, kuvvet antrenmanı gibi egzersizleri göz ardı ederken, kalorisi ve doymuş yağ oranı yüksek beslenme şekli ile tüm yaşamı boyunca sağlıklı bir miktarda viseral yağa sahip olmayı beklememelidir.
İyi haber ise, egzersiz ile, kalorilere dikkat ederek ve genel olarak sağlıklı bir yaşam tarzı sürdürerek, aşırı viseral yağa sahip olmaktan uzak kalınabilecektir.
Vücut kompozisyonu testi size her zaman BKİ’ nizin verebileceğinden çok daha fazla bilgi verir ve viseral yağınız da dahil olmak üzere kilonuzu oluşturan her şeyle ilgili çok daha iyi bir resim çıkarabilir.
Unutmayın – “ölçülen, yönetilir”, o yüzden düzenli vücut kompozisyon analizinizi yapın ve viseral yağ seviyenizi öğrenin!
Editor’s Note: This post was updated on October 1, 2018, for accuracy and comprehensiveness. It was originally published on April 20, 2016
Do you know what your body fat percentage is, right now?
What range is considered ideal for your gender?
Or why you should even care?
Your body fat percentage is a value that tells you how much of your body weight is made up of fat. In terms of your overall health, your body fat percentage can be one of the most useful numbers available to you, more than how much you weigh and even more than your Body Mass Index (BMI).
You might argue that you can just rely on visual appearance, everyone knows what an overweight or obese person looks like. When you get to that point, you know you need to start making a change in your lifestyle. Unfortunately, once you get to the overweight/obese stage your risk for developing health complications will have increased and weight loss becomes difficult.
If you are interested in developing or maintaining a healthy and productive lifestyle, measuring and understanding your body fat percentage is incredibly important.
Here are three reasons why understanding your body fat percentage can positively impact your life.
#1 Understanding More About Your Weight
Knowing how much you weigh tells you very little because two people can have the same weight but have completely different body compositions and health risks. Your body fat percentage (PBF) puts your weight into context, telling you far more about yourself than how heavy you are.
Here are the body compositions of three types of people, all around the same weight (~154 pounds) and height (5’10”). To make each of these easier to talk about later, we’ll give them each a fictitious name.
Bill has a body weight of 154.0 pounds and a PBF of 28.3%. Notice the large differences between the bar for Body Fat Mass (BFM) and SMM (Skeletal Muscle Mass). Because of this very large difference, Bill likely falls into the category of what is popularly called “skinny fat.”
Ted has a nearly identical weight to Bill – less than half a pound in difference – but has a PBF of 15.6%, almost 13% less than Bill! This is because, unlike Bill, Ted has average amounts of muscle and fat for a 5’10” person.
Within about a pound of both Bill and Ted is Brian, with a body weight of 154.8 and a PBF of 10.1%. The bars for his SMM and Body Fat Mass are the complete inverse of Bill, who had a skinny fat composition.
Now it’s true that even without these charts, it would be quite obvious to tell skinny fat Bill from athletic Brian just by looking at them.
However, the more extreme examples of Bill and Brian are helpful to illustrate how three individuals with roughly the same scale weight and BMI can have wildly different body compositions— something that scale cannot reveal.
Of the three individuals, Bill stands to be the most at risk for health problems because of his high PBF and low muscle mass, but especially so because his weight and BMI are considered normal. Bill may not be aware that he has increased risk for developing health complication, because visually he looks fine.
Understanding your body fat percentage helps you decide which of the two goals that reflect healthy body composition changes– increasing Lean Body Mass and decreasing Fat Mass – you should be working on.
It’s difficult to point to any single “ideal” percentage because what may be ideal for a bodybuilder may be different than what’s ideal for a soccer player. For this reason, ranges are used to give people an idea of where they stand in terms of health.
For men: 10-20% is considered normal/healthy
For women: 18-28% is considered normal/healthy
These ranges may vary depending on who your source is. The American College of Sports Medicine has ranges that may differ from the Mayo Clinic (more on that later in the next section)
Knowing where your body fat percentage falls in these ranges can be very helpful for you to decide how to improve your overall composition.
For example (and this may come as a surprise): many overweight/obese people actually already have a significant amount of muscle development compared to an average person of the same height.
Now, while strength training can be healthy and useful for everyone, a program based on bulking up and developing huge muscles may not be the best method for improving the body composition of someone who is overweight. That’s because the diet that encourages muscle mass growth typically requires being in a caloric surplus (eating more than your body needs to maintain its weight).
This person would benefit from a more conventional weight loss strategy. While it is true that fat loss can occur while strength training and gaining muscle, for someone of this body type, results will likely be achieved faster by a combination of restricting calories, increasing energy use, and weight lifting to maintain – not grow – muscle.
For someone like Bill, who is not overweight but still “overfat,” the opposite advice may apply.
Based on the relative lack of muscle compared to other people of the same height, Bill can likely get the quickest and most positive body composition changes by focusing on strength training to build muscle, not losing fat.
The reason this approach is better for this person and not someone who is overweight or obese is due to the lack of developed muscle. While an overweight person already has a lot of muscle due to the need to support a larger frame, a smaller person will need to actively work to develop this muscle while maintaining or reducing the amount of fat mass they carry.
#3: Reduce The Risk of Heart Disease
Understanding your body fat percentage has uses outside of fitness, too. Keeping your body fat percentage at a healthy level can help reduce your likelihood of getting serious health risks, specifically, heart disease.
Heart disease is most often caused by a buildup of plaque on the walls of your arteries. This occurs when small pieces of cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) damage your arteries, causing them to harden, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood throughout your body.
What does body fat have to do with your heart? Quite a lot, actually.
To be clear: this research isn’t linking this to overall weight or even total fat mass. These positive effects are linked with the amount of body fat you have compared to your current weight. The body fat percentage ranges needed to have this positive effect have an upper limit of 20% for men and 30% for women.
While the research doesn’t suggest that this is any type of complete preventative for heart disease – many lifestyle factors, as well as genetics, play into whether you will develop it or not – it does suggest that you have some degree of control over reducing your risk factor by maintaining a healthy body fat percentage and consuming a diet that promotes healthy cholesterol levels.
Know Your Percentage to Take Control of Your Health
Perhaps one of the best things about your body fat percentage is that it compares you to yourself.
If you just track weight, this invariably leads to comparing yourself to someone else. Even though there could be significant differences in height, muscle mass, genetics, or other factors, all people hear when they talk about or think about their weight is the number.
That’s what’s so great about your body fat percentage. It doesn’t matter how much you weigh; the only thing that matters is what that weight is made up of. You could be overweight (and even have a BMI that tells you that) but if you’re a woman with a healthy body fat percentage of 25%, why care?
To take control of your health and fitness and gain the positive benefits of living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the first step is to get your body compositionmeasured. Find a facility near you that offers body composition testing, get your body fat percentage, and start tracking it to start living better!
<div class=”pf-content”><h6><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><i>Editor’s Note: This post </i><i>was updated on </i><i><strong>July 1, 2018</strong>, </i><i>for accuracy and comprehensiveness. It </i><i>was </i><i>originally published on October 30, 2015</i><i>.</i></span></h6> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>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. </span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Whatever the reasons,</span> <a href=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16960159″><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>recent research</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> has made a very strong case that building Lean Body Mass (LBM) has health benefits<strong> far beyond aesthetics and athletic performance</strong>. Sufficient amounts of LBM are actually critical for building a healthy life over the <strong>long-term.</strong></span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> 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.</span></p> <h2><b>1. Lean Body Mass Combats Obesity</b></h2> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-3083″ src=”https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/obesity-993126_1280.jpg” alt=”” width=”1280″ height=”853″ srcset=”https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/obesity-993126_1280.jpg 1280w, https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/obesity-993126_1280-300×200.jpg 300w, https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/obesity-993126_1280-768×512.jpg 768w, https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/obesity-993126_1280-1024×682.jpg 1024w, https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/obesity-993126_1280-900×600.jpg 900w” sizes=”(max-width: 1280px) 100vw, 1280px”>In a world where more than</span><a href=”https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweight-obesity”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> 2/3 of Americans have too much fat are considered overweight or obese</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, 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.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>However, most of these shortcut approaches fail to address the basic issue regarding weight gain: it’s about calories in vs. calories out. According to research by Dr. Robert Wolfe (emphasis added):</span></p> <blockquote><p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>The development of obesity results from an energy imbalance over a prolonged time. An effect on energy balance can be therefore achieved by altering either energy intake or energy expenditure. </span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>– AJCN: “The Underappreciated Role of Muscle in Health and Disease</span></p></blockquote> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>“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<strong> overweight or obese.</strong></span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>“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<strong> calorie reduction.</strong></span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>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 <strong>Lean Body Mass is so important.</strong></span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Lean Body Mass is associated with your <a href=”https://inbodyusa.com/blogs/inbodyblog/49311425-how-to-use-bmr-to-hack-your-diet/?__hstc=165164192.92f192c76e6bd4f9577729991b2d474d.1599028489575.1599028489575.1599028489575.1&__hssc=165164192.5.1599028489576&__hsfp=2972673961″><strong>Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)</strong></a> – 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.</span></p> <h2><strong>2. Lean Body Mass Helps You Battle Disease</strong></h2> <h2><strong><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-3084″ src=”https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/thermometer-1539191_1280.jpg” alt=”” width=”1280″ height=”853″ srcset=”https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/thermometer-1539191_1280.jpg 1280w, https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/thermometer-1539191_1280-300×200.jpg 300w, https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/thermometer-1539191_1280-768×512.jpg 768w, https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/thermometer-1539191_1280-1024×682.jpg 1024w, https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/thermometer-1539191_1280-900×600.jpg 900w” sizes=”(max-width: 1280px) 100vw, 1280px”></strong></h2> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>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.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>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</span><a href=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16960159″><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> four times the normal daily intake</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> 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.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>In both cases, the ability to survive these serious conditions ultimately came down to<strong> how much Lean Muscle Mass </strong>each patient had to begin with, and how much their bodies lost due to increased demand for protein.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>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.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>If you don’t have sufficient Lean Muscle Mass, your body will have a much more difficult time <strong>defeating and recovering from illnesses</strong> because it won’t have the type of nutrients it needs to power the immune system.</span></p> <h2><strong>3. Lean Body Mass Contributes to Strong Bones</strong></h2> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-3085″ src=”https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/knee-2253047_1280.jpg” alt=”” width=”1280″ height=”960″ srcset=”https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/knee-2253047_1280.jpg 1280w, https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/knee-2253047_1280-300×225.jpg 300w, https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/knee-2253047_1280-768×576.jpg 768w, https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/knee-2253047_1280-1024×768.jpg 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 1280px) 100vw, 1280px”>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.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>What can preserve bone density and bone mass later in life? Maintaining sufficient and healthy amounts of Lean Body Mass.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>In the</span><a href=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15824844″><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> Mediterranean Intensive Oxidant Study</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, researchers found that lower amounts of skeletal muscle mass, a</span><a href=”https://www.inbodyusa.com/blogs/inbodyblog/45434945-lean-body-mass-and-muscle-mass-whats-the-difference?__hstc=165164192.92f192c76e6bd4f9577729991b2d474d.1599028489575.1599028489575.1599028489575.1&__hssc=165164192.5.1599028489576&__hsfp=2972673961″><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> significant and major component</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> 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.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>In order to protect against thin and weak bones, maintaining and developing sufficient skeletal muscle mass is key.</span></p> <h2><strong>4. Lean Body Mass Can Protect Against (and potentially reverse) Insulin Resistance</strong></h2> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-2913″ src=”https://inbodyusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/diabetes-1724617_1920.jpg” alt=”” width=”1920″ height=”1280″>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.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>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.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>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</span><a href=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21778224%20″><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> inverse relationship between skeletal muscle mass and insulin resistance</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>. 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.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>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.</span></p> <h2><strong>Fitness for Long-Term Health</strong></h2> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Muscle building isn’t something that only bodybuilders and athletes should worry about; for long-term health, everyone can benefit from building their LBM.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>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.</span></p> <p><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>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</span> <a href=”https://www.inbodyusa.com/blogs/inbodyblog/39971073-bia-once-flawed-not-anymore?__hstc=165164192.92f192c76e6bd4f9577729991b2d474d.1599028489575.1599028489575.1599028489575.1&__hssc=165164192.5.1599028489576&__hsfp=2972673961″><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>clicking here</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>.</span></p> </div>
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Learn the basics of calories and find your TDEE.
Pick 1 goal. You can change it later.
Prepare for your own “fitness journey.” Slow and steady wins the race.
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.
A widely-known but often misunderstood disease is steadily overtaking an increasing portion of the U.S. population. In this country, more than one-third of adults are at a high risk for developing this condition and causes about 330,000 deaths each year. This disease is diabetes.
Diabetes, type 2 in particular, is a condition affecting an ever-expanding pool of Americans. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 30.3 million Americans had diabetes in 2015. That’s nearly 10 percent of the population! Furthermore, about 90 percent of those people had Type 2 Diabetes, and those numbers are only expected to rise.
The steady increase in diabetes diagnoses is due, in part, to the obesity epidemic. 87.5 percent of adults with diabetes are overweight or obese according to their Body Mass Index (BMI), a simple health indicator based on the ratio of weight to height. However, these findings make it seem like only those with high body weight are at risk for diabetes, and that is not the case. In fact, so-called “skinny fat” people, individuals with a normal or low BMI but a high percent body fat, are at an increased risk to develop diabetes or prediabetes. As you can see, the underlying theme here is that, rather than a high body weight, it is an imbalanced body composition that increases the risk of diabetes. This is why it is important for those looking to reduce diabetes risk or manage their diabetes to understand their body composition.
So what’s going on here? How does your body composition affect your diabetes risk, and can improve your body composition reduce that risk or help you overcome diabetes?
Let’s first take a look at body composition. What is it and why is it important?
What is Body Composition?
The term “body composition” means exactly what it sounds like: the components that your body is made up of. Generally speaking, these components can be simply categorized as fat and fat-free mass. As you might expect, your fat-free mass, also called Lean Body Mass (LBM) is everything in your body that isn’t fat. It includes your lean muscle, organs, blood, and minerals.
The body generally needs a balance of LBM and fat mass to function optimally and maintain positive health. However, this balance is disrupted in many overweight and obese individuals due to excess fat. Most people think that the ultimate goal for overweight individuals should be to lose weight, but this overlooks the bigger picture. In order to improve your health, get physically fit, and fit into those skinny jeans, you’re going to have to change your body composition. In other words, the goal for overweight individuals should not be to simply lose weight; instead, it should focus on improving body composition by reducing fat mass while maintaining or increasing LBM.
Not only will a more balanced body composition make you look leaner, but it can also reduce your risk of diabetes and other obesity-related disorders. Furthermore, it can have a positive effect on your metabolism.
Diabetes and Metabolism
When most people think about metabolism, they imagine some magical system within the body that allows certain people to eat more food without gaining weight. In reality, metabolism simply refers to the process of breaking down foods in order to supply energy for the maintenance and repair of current body structures.
When you consume food, your body breaks it down into its elemental components and then directs each piece to where it needs to go. It looks something like this:
You eat food.
Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, a simple sugar.
The glucose enters your bloodstream.
Your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin (Phase 1 insulin response).
Insulin helps the glucose enter your body’s cells so it can be used for fuel, stored for later use, or stored as fat.
Since your pancreas has released insulin, it needs more. So it starts to create more insulin. (Phase 2 insulin response)
Now your body is ready to start the process all over again the next time you eat.
Seems like a relatively simple process, right? But for people with diabetes, the process doesn’t work the same way.
This is because diabetes is a metabolic disorder. It changes the way your body metabolizes food so that your cells are unable to use that glucose for energy. How? It all comes back to insulin.
Let’s look at that metabolism breakdown again. There are two places where insulin is key: the Phase 1 and Phase 2 insulin responses. Insulin is a hormone that helps your cells absorb glucose to use for energy. Your pancreas releases this hormone when it first detects the glucose from your food, and then it makes more insulin to use later.
In people with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the body does not produce insulin at all. In type 2 diabetes (T2D), the body produces insulin, but the cells can’t use it properly. This is called insulin resistance. Without access to insulin, glucose can’t get into your cells, so it ends up lingering in your bloodstream.
Of course, when the glucose can’t make its way out of the bloodstream, it will start to build up. All that excess blood sugar may then be converted to triglycerides and stored as fat. With this increase in fat mass, hormone imbalances or systemic inflammation may occur or persist, increasing risk for many other diseases or conditions. Diabetes is associated with increased risk for heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, skin infections, and eye problems. Diabetes can even result in an impaired immune system, which, combined with poor circulation to the extremities, increases risk of wounds and infections, sometimes even leading to amputation of the toes, foot, or leg(s). In far too many cases, diabetes creates complications that eventually lead to death.
Effects of Type 2 Diabetes on Muscle
Many are already aware of the connection between high-fat mass and diabetes, however, more recently, researchers have begun to focus on another aspect of body composition as it relates to diabetes risk: Lean Body Mass. Many studies have shown strong links between Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) and low lean body mass.
A large component of our LBM is our skeletal muscle mass, the muscles used for posture and movement. Unfortunately, diabetes is not only more common in those with less muscle, it can actually have negative effects on their muscle.
There are three main muscle characteristics that T2D affects: fatigability, strength, and mass.
Muscle fatigability refers to the rate at which your muscles become weaker after exercise or movement, and the amount of time it takes for them to recover or return to their full power. Researchers have known for years that muscle fatigability increases with T2D. When people with T2D perform an exercise, their muscles lose power faster than those of a healthy person.
T2D reduces overall muscle strength as well. Even after adjusting for age, sex, education, alcohol consumption, lifetime smoking, obesity, and aerobic physical activity, people with T2D had less handgrip strength than people without it.
As you can see, the raised blood glucose levels caused by diabetes and insulin resistance puts your muscles at a disadvantage for a number of reasons.
How Building Muscle Mass Reduces Risk of T2D
Here’s the good news. You can take control of your diabetes risk by improving your body composition. It all starts with Skeletal Muscle Mass.
Research has shown that increasing your muscle mass reduces your risk of T2D. For example, In a 2017 study, researchers in Korea and Japan followed over 200,000 otherwise healthy people who had no diabetes or prediabetes at the start of the experiment. After 2.9 years, the participants with more muscle mass were significantly less likely to have T2D: Yet another reason to include muscle building resistance exercises into your workout routine.
In fact, exercise is good for reducing diabetes risk as well as improving diabetic state all on its own. This is because exercise increases the delivery of glucose to our muscle cells. When you exercise, your muscles are exerting more than their normal energy demand, thus creating a higher need for energy/glucose to fuel them. In fact, resistance training has been shown to be particularly beneficial for T2D. Larger muscles require more energy, therefore the leg muscles, being the largest muscles in the body, are especially important for glucose uptake and regulation. Therefore, targeting the legs with resistance exercise may improve diabetes risk factors as well as promote physical function. As mentioned previously, those who are diagnosed with T2D often lose the most muscle mass in the legs, making leg day all the more important to maintain and build muscle mass to reduce the risk of diabetes.
Although type 2 diabetics are insulin-resistant, this increased demand for glucose from exercise helps to increase the efficiency of insulin to get glucose into the muscle cells, improving their diabetic state overall!
How to Improve Insulin Resistance with Diet and Exercise
So what does this mean for you? We’ve talked a lot about diabetes and its relationship to your body composition. Remember, people with T2D and pre-diabetes are resistant to insulin, meaning their cells can’t utilize the insulin they need in order to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. Eventually, this can lead to a number of health complications and other debilitating diseases. However, we’ve seen that it’s possible to significantly reduce diabetic risk and, in some cases, even reverse T2D. Here are some diet and exercise tips that will help you improve your body composition and get to a healthy level of insulin sensitivity.
If you are otherwise healthy but have low LBM and high PBF
If you don’t currently have diabetes or pre-diabetes, the most important thing you can do to lower your risk is exercise.
In one study, researchers looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III. The survey covered 13,644 adults who were not pregnant and not underweight. They reviewed each person’s muscle mass and compared it to their diabetes status. What they found was astounding.
If you already have high blood sugar or diabetes, there are still ways that you can improve that. First, resistance training 2-3 times a week can relieve some diabetic symptoms.
One study found that participants who completed a strength training program had reduced their HbA1c levels from 8.7 to 7.6 percent. In fact, 72% of participants in the resistance exercise group were actually able to reduce their medication use after 16 weeks of a strength training program.
Regardless of the type of training you engage in, getting started is the first step. However, make sure you check with your health provider if you have diabetes or any other conditions before you start an exercise regimen.
The major takeaway here is that diabetes is not only a disease that has to do with weight – high body fat and low muscle mass both increase diabetic risk.
The best thing to do in order to have a better idea of your health risks and create attainable goals for yourself is to get your body composition tested. From there, you can make adjustments to your lifestyle to alter your body composition, if necessary, to reduce your risk for diabetes and other conditions. If you already have T2D or prediabetes, focus on losing fat while engaging the muscles with exercise.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how your body composition affects your diabetes risk, and how you can harness the power of diet and exercise to control that risk. A low-sugar, high-protein diet combined with regular exercise, especially strength training, can improve your body composition and improve insulin sensitivity, among other benefits.
So what are you waiting for? See what you’re made of and get started on the path to a healthier life today!
Nicole Roder is a freelance writer specializing in health, mental health, and parenting topics. Her work has appeared in Today’s Parent, Crixeo, Grok Nation, Chesapeake Family LIFE, and the Baltimore Sun, among others.
If you’re here, you probably hate dieting. For many people, simply the word “diet” brings feelings of misery.
A “diet” for a lot of people means: “I’m going to develop the self-control of a monk, start eating low-calorie, healthy foods that I don’t like, cut out unhealthy foods that I do like, and starve myself.”
No wonder so many people fail! But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If your goal is to make long-term changes to your body composition, then yes, you need to accept the principle that unless you have some type of medical condition affecting your metabolism, you need to use more calories than you get from your food. This is called a caloric deficit. It’s real, it works, and science has backed it up forever.
But losing body fat doesn’t have to be severe dietary restrictions and starvation. If you make smart nutritional choices, adopt healthy eating habits, and incorporate enough exercise, you can still eat the foods you like, and make long-term improvements to your body composition.
Seriously. Let’s take a look.
You Really Don’t Need To Starve Yourself
Going on a diet usually means eating less than you usually do, but losing the unwanted fat you gained over time doesn’t mean you have to stop eating, skip meals, or starve yourself.
To illustrate, let’s take a look at what happened to a group of people who actually were starved: the participants of Ancel Keys’ famous Minnesota Starvation Experiment.
If you’re unfamiliar, here’s a brief history lesson: In the 1940s, the Allied powers were pretty sure they were going to defeat Hitler in Europe, and they needed to know how to deal with a starving European continent once the war was won. In order to do that, they needed data on what happens when people starve and are later re-fed.
36 healthy volunteers were selected to go on a yearlong starvation experiment that consisted of 3 months overfeeding, 6 months near-starvation, and 3 months refeeding/recovery.
Did they lose weight? You better believe they did: roughly 25% of their body weight, gone in 6 months.
What happened here? How did they lose so much body weight so quickly? The same way everyone loses body weight: by being in a caloric deficit. However, the deficit the experiment participants experienced was very extreme.
After adjusting their bodies to 3 months of a 3,200-calorie/day meal plan, their diets were uniformly slashed to 1,570 calories a day, a reduction of about 1,630 calories. But they weren’t allowed to just sit around; the participants were further required to walk 22 miles a week AND expend 3,009 calories a day.
We’ll do the math for you: that’s a caloric deficit of nearly 1,500 calories a day, or 10,000 calories a week.
That’s about triple the caloric deficit required to lose a pound of fat per week, which is an achievable goal. The starvation diet in the Minnesota study was anything but healthy and came with the following starvation-related side effects:
Increased feelings of introversion
Increased irritability/impatience with others
Obsession with food
You don’t want any of these effects, nor do you need to experience them. A caloric deficit of approximately 500 calories/day has been shown to be effective, especially for initial fat losses.
How you achieve that caloric deficit doesn’t have to be extreme either, which brings us to the second point…
Choose a Caloric Deficit That Works For You
There are two ways to create a caloric deficit: cutting calories from food and increasing your activity level. In the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, both methods were used to create that drastic caloric deficit. You can do the same (although there’s no reason to go to the extreme like in the experiment). Here’s how:
Calculate the number of calories your body burns at rest, also known as your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Online calculators exist that will estimate this for you, and some methods of body composition analysis can also estimate your BMR.
Take your BMR and multiply it by 1.2 (this being the conversion rate for a sedentary person. If you have an active job or already exercise and are maintaining your weight, you’ll multiply it by a higher factor). For example, let’s say your BMR is 1631 calories; a rough estimate of your total caloric needs would be around 2,000 calories to maintain weight. Shave off 500 calories for the caloric deficit, and the caloric balance each day to lose a pound of body fat per week will be around 1,500 calories a day.
Now here’s the part where you get to make a decision by choosing a calorie-reducing strategy that works for you. How will you create this 500-calorie reduction?
You really do have a choice in the matter. In a study of overweight people, participants were made to create an overall 25% energy reduction. The first group achieved this reduction entirely through caloric restriction; the other achieved it with a 12.5% reduction in food intake and an increase of 12.5% in energy use due to exercise (equaling a 25% reduction in energy).
Both groups lost 10% of their body weight and 24% of their Fat Mass, with the researchers concluding that it didn’t matter whether you simply cut calories or cut calories and exercised: what mattered was the total energy deficit.
This isn’t to say that effort the exercising group made was completely useless – the researchers found aerobic benefits to their exercise – or that strength training should be avoided during fat loss since it’s been shown to preserve muscle. What it does mean is for fat loss, you have some choices on how you want to achieve it.
For example, if you already feel like you are eating very little, cutting 500 calories from your meal plan might be extremely difficult for you. You can make up the bulk of your caloric reduction by increasing the energy you expend throughout the day.
You could also go the alternate route.
If you think you can the bulk of your calories from your meal plan without with a small increase in the exercise you already do, that’s also an option.
The point is when it comes to weight loss, one size doesn’t fit all, and if you follow a program that isn’t designed for you and is too hard to stick with, the chances you’ll quit are high.
But before you start cutting everything out of your diet that you like to eat…
Choose Things That You Want To Eat and Eat Them
Don’t just cut everything you’ve ever enjoyed eating out of your life with a buzzsaw. It’s not completely necessary and can actually work against you.
Think of your daily caloric intake as a budget, and your caloric deficit is the “money” put away for a vacation. If you stay within your budget, after a period of saving, you get to go on a trip.
So long as you stay within your budget, it doesn’t always matter how you spend the rest of your money. So it is with calories. You don’t have to cut out everything you like to keep your diet, and here are a couple of truths that can keep you motivated.
Fat isn’t your enemy
For decades, it’s been common knowledge that a high-fat diet leads to obesity. Fat used to be at the top of the food pyramid, something that you ate only sparingly. Well, it turns out that those high-carb/low-fat diet rules may have been sabotaging your efforts for years.
While this doesn’t mean you can overeat fatty foods, this does mean it’s OK to incorporate healthy fats in your diet and still reach your goals. Bring on the avocados and olive oil! (just be careful about the high-calorie foods – you still need a caloric deficit).
High-protein diets can make you feel fuller/help you eat less
Often dismissed as a concern of bulky bodybuilders and powerlifters, eating foods high in protein can actually go a long way in helping you lose fat properly. That’s because foods rich in protein have been shown to have a positive effect on feeling full.
If you include healthier, protein-rich foods in your diet, you might have an easier time sticking to your diet while you enjoy meat, fish, eggs, and other protein-dense foods.
You Don’t Have To Hate Dieting
You will hate dieting if you go about it the wrong way. What’s the wrong way? Going too extreme on any part of it.
You do not need to starve yourself and then slave away at the gym. Even though reaching rapid weight loss goals might sound appealing, if you actually go through with it for an extended period of time like the participants in the Minnesota experiment, you can wind up feeling depressed, tired, and unmotivated. Remember those participants committed to their diet full-time because it was their way of contributing to the war effort.
You can find a nutrition plan/exercise balance that works for you and your lifestyle. For some people, dieting alone may be effective, but these people more than likely have increased metabolisms because they have a lot of muscle. Trying to lose fat by purely cutting calories can be very difficult if you have a smaller metabolism. Instead, strike a balance between diet and exercise.
You do not need to go on an extreme diet where you skip meals or cut out an entire macronutrient group out of your diet (some people demonize fat; others, carbs. You need both these nutrients). While low-carb diets have been shown to be an effective plan for weight loss, this doesn’t mean you have to go on an Atkins-style diet and cut out your morning whole-grain bagel. It’s not a sustainable long term nutrition plan and will likely make you feel miserable in the long run without these vital nutrients.
It may take a little bit of planning to find a diet that works for you, but if you’re looking to make positive changes in your body composition and lose fat, bear these things in mind, stick to them, and you will start seeing results!
Men have been working out to increase muscle mass for decades. Every generation comes up with new phrases that refer to this phenomenon, such as getting “ripped” or “swole” or “yoked,” as a result of men searching for the optimal physique that has been influenced by athletes, movie stars and other public figures. In recent years, a new opposing trend has emerged in pop culture known as the Dad Bod. Instead of marveling at the muscular look, celebrities and every-men alike have embraced a rough-around-the-edges approach to the male aesthetic.
The termDad Bod has been used to classify men who are slightly overweight and don’t possess a sculpted frame. The positive attention this new trend has received could be seen as an effort to promote a positive self-image in men who otherwise may have had some insecurities about the way they look. Society embracing an archetype that is more attainable by a higher percentage of the male population is an uplifting occurrence and allows men to realize that you don’t have to have the perfect body to be considered healthy and attractive. The human body does need a certain level of fat to survive, as fat serves as an insulator for your core body temperature and aids with hormone production. However, with obesity rates higher than ever, it’s important toemphasize weight management and metabolic health, so recognizing body types that are close to the optimal body fat range is a good start to improving general health.
The focus on Dad Bods have provided a positive shift in visual standards and self-image, which isvery beneficial for the male population, but they can also promote dangerous habits as well. Here is how you can tell if your Dad Bod is a good look or evidence of an unhealthy lifestyle:
Avoid These Behaviors
Dad Bods are thought by many to be caused by typical “dad” activities: eating a lot, drinking a lot, and exercising very little. You have probably seen on multiple occasions the “TV Dad”, sitting in his arm chair with a big plate of food and a beer, glued to his big screen. Making these activities an everyday routine can be a recipe for disaster on your health. While having the chiseled muscle tone of a bodybuilder seems like a far cry for TV Dad and other regular joes, moderation is almost always the way to go, and achieving your Dad Bod look shouldn’t exclude you from living a healthy lifestyle.
Overeating is a common problem in the present day, as taking in more calories than you need leads to the body storing the excess as fat. Too much body fat leads to a myriad of health issues, such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Overeating over extended periods of time can also lead to the development of visceral fat, which is a dense collection of fat tissue that sits in the trunk and surrounds the organs. Visceral fat is harder to get rid of, and often forms as a result ofweight gain during adulthood. Its presence in the abdominal region causes therisk of hypertension to increase significantly, especially in younger men. It’s never too early to take control of your diet, as the habits you pick up during your college years can have long-term consequences and build an unhealthy base for your Dad Bod. Limit your caloric intake, and add more variety to your diet to avoid developing visceral fat around your waist.
Lack of Exercise
One way to offset the extra calories and combat the metabolic conditions that can be caused by a poor diet is regular exercise. However, even if you don’t think you carry a bunch of extra weight, a regular exercise regimen is important to ensure that you aren’t skinny fat. You don’t need to possess the muscle tone of a bodybuilder, but skeletal muscle tissue plays a large role in breaking down carbohydrates and promoting other regular body functions. The only way to develop muscle tissue is through exercise, so it can’t be ruled out even if you believe you have reached an acceptable weight.
An easy way to determine if you have solid metabolic health, no matter what body type you have, is to examine your lean muscle mass compared to your body fat. Those with Dad Bods should consider adding an exercise program to their daily routine, especiallyresistance training, as the benefits are too vital to pass up.
Excess Alcohol Consumption
Plenty of men have enjoyed an ice-cold beer, or two, or three… you get the point. The “beer belly,’ which is often considered the flag for dad bods, is also a common sign of years of excessive alcohol consumption. Alcoholic beverages aren’t inherently unhealthy, as moderate alcohol consumption (1 drink per day for women and 2 for men) can actually havepositive health effects. The line between alcohol benefiting your health and hurting your health is an extremely fine one, as that second or third drink pushes you into excess alcohol consumption, which bringssimilar health problems as overeating or a lack of exercise.
The “beer belly” also refers to the collection of visceral fat, which emphasizes the need for moderation, as the collection of fat around the organs is difficult to get rid of, and carries an elevated risk of metabolic syndrome. While a perfectly trim waist does not need to be the goal for every man, avoiding adding mass through too many drinks is crucial to preventing metabolic syndrome and creating a healthy body.
Find a Happy Medium
The magic of the Dad Bod is that imperfections are appreciated instead of judged. Perfection is a goal that can’t be reached, but a healthier lifestyle is easily attainable. In order to have a Dad Bod that is also healthy, you must find a happy medium between positive body image and healthy body composition.
Applying the Dad Bod mindset to your daily choices is a great way to improve your health. Instead of tackling an intense diet, emphasize making a few healthy choices. Pick a smaller portion at your next meal or add some color to your plate with different produce options. With the obesity epidemic affecting populations all over the world, simple methods to improve nutrition can make all of the difference.
The formation of the Dad Bod trend has addressed a troubling side effect of social media, in which individuals work to develop the appearance of a successful life, instead of actually doing the work to create that success. Embracing your Dad Bod means separating the stigma of working out, which is now viewed as obsessive and self-involved. Exercise should be viewed as a therapeutic activity which is used to improve emotional and physical health. Working out doesn’t have to completely transform your appearance. It can just transform your quality of life.
Maintain Your Healthy Dad Bod
You have a Dad Bod, which wasn’t a big deal 10 years ago, but now is the desired look. That’s a great position to be in, but don’t let the trend negatively affect your health. Remember that having a Dad Bod doesn’t preclude you from making healthy choices. Moderation in eating and drinking is key, and exercise is a valuable addition to your daily life. Instead of seeking perfection in your appearance and lifestyle, just appreciate how you look and strive to improve your unhealthy practices little by little.
The Dad Bod trend is an encouraging development in the world of self-image. If used correctly, a positive shift in social norms and overall health can occur. The “perfect physique” should be whatever Bod you have now, but your health and body composition can still be a work in progress. Strive for regular improvement, not perfection. That’s what the Dad Bod is all about.
Evan Hadrick is a former collegiate track athlete who graduated from the University of Miami and currently works as a track & Field/Cross Country coach and athletic administrator in Dallas, TX. You can read more of his work atStateoftheU.com, where he is an assistant editor contributing sports commentary about University of Miami athletics.
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