Updated: Jun 2
Body composition is a science and should be a priority when starting your exercise routine!
Every time you step on the scale, that number represents your ENTIRE body mass... everything from blood and organs to fat and bones.
The issue with scale weight is simple, that one number does not tell you what part of your body is MUSCLE and what part of your body is FAT… it’s just telling you the sum of all its parts in pounds.
Body composition can be analyzed using several measurements - I use the 7 point method with skin fold calipers to calculate the bodies ultimate fat/muscle ratio. The calculations actually tell you how many pounds of lean mass and how many pounds of fat. I tell the average person you can lose 1-2% of body fat monthly if you absolutely work your ass off + depending on your starting point.
In essence, you could be mislead to believe you are “too much” or “too little" from the scale alone... stepping on it more than once a week is really is a bad psychology practice at times. So, when it comes to scale weight, the more you know about how you are built, the less frustrating it can be to constantly watch the scale!
1. WHAT IS FAT
*Oils, Lard, Triglycerides, Lipids, Trans, Saturated , Unsaturated, Butter, Fatty Acids, Adipose Tissue *
Loose connective tissue with its main role in energy storage and insulation. When left untreated, high body fat can have negative effects on organs, hormone function, body proportions and eventual predisposition to disease.
Some fat is good, in fact our bodies need it to survive but the guidelines are not to be taken lightly. The percentage point you see is the amount your body is made up of FAT...
Soft tissue within the body anchored to the bones by tendons, effecting the movement or motion of a certain joint. Muscle is more dense/compact than fat and burns calories at rest.
There are different muscle cells: Skeletal: Voluntary movement
Smooth: Involuntary / organs
Cardiac: The heart
Skeletal cells are further divided into Fast and Slow Twitch fibers:
Fast twitch fibers: Power athletes (linebackers), sustain quick bursts of energy, generate force yet fatigue quickly (operate anaerobically)
Slow twitch fibers: High endurance athletes (bikers, distance swimmers), carbohydrate fueled and can last for long times (aerobic).
3. The LOSS of FAT
There is no “one rule” here… research the quick weight loss methods all you like, but the bottom line is to decrease fat and keep it off your best tools are going to be DIET and EXERCISE.
Diet: Don’t totally cut carbs but watch carbs and sugar, everything in moderation guys - Add in superfoods, veggies and fruits and decrease an abundance of processed foods. Lean meats are also key.
Individual: Every person has different needs, so your caloric intake may vary from your spouse or friends - their program might not cut it for you.
Muscle: Gaining lean muscle is your absolute best bet to tighten the body. Muscle is LIVING tissue, and needs nutrients to sustain itself… therefore… it BURNS CALORIES/FAT at REST. Your body can become the coined “lean machine”, you just have to learn how to use it.
Cardio: Daily cardio will help your body burn excess fat, as well as release toxins, strengthen the heart and cardio-vascular system.
4. The GAIN of muscle = *STAYING ANABOLIC*
In order for the body to stay in an anabolic state, you must consume fuel/food for energy. However, when you do not consume enough food, a higher rate of the opposing catbolic - "starvation state” will occur. This effect ultimately harms healthy muscle and body tissue after extended periods of time. No Good!!!!
Stopping the LOSS of muscle = *STAYING AWAY FROM A CATABOLIC STATE*
“By defining the catabolic state within the human body, avid fitness enthusiasts have the ability to achieve their goals more easily. For example, by knowing that muscles actually endure a break down phase because of hormones released during each workout, you have the ability to counteract this phenomenon by consuming high-quality nutrient sources before, during or after your exercise sessions” (FitDay.com)
… you MUST eat to stay healthy. Cutting your caloric intake to the point where you lose weight is a delicate balance, as you NEVER want to let your body counteract its OWN muscle!
5. SCALE WEIGHT:
Healthy weight loss is usually centered around 1-2 “ish” pounds per week, now this can change per person and increase if obesity is of concern. Obese people are normally going to lose more weight initially than any other person.
The reason for such a small average weight loss per week is sustainability. Too much weight loss can result in muscle mass loss, which is not ideal and will create more proportion imbalances (especially upper body in women). Lifestyle habits need to be altered with this process to sustain results, so the yo-yo of ups and down can be curbed with long-term life changes.
Hard gainers are 100% the other extreme and need a ridiculous amount of food to keep muscle and size on. Some think this is “awesome” but trust me, many people find just as much hardship trying to put on muscle as others do losing weight. It’s all about the individual.
Also, muscle is more DENSE than fat; therefore when you are putting on new lean muscle, scale weight is not always the best measure since your body is becoming more dense/compact. You can become more “slim” but your weight may actually stay the same, or even increase!
Yep! “and now ya know”
Be sure to always get your body composition and circumference measurements tested by a fitness professional!
Ashley Lambeth, ACE-CPT, OES, FNS, SCS | 919-614-2286