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Can you convert Fat into Muscle?

Fat into Muscle.  Myth or fact?

When a client says they want to turn their fat into muscle what they are really saying is that they want to lose fat and gain muscle!

Now, there are really two goals in that sentence;

1. Reduce fat

2. Gain muscle.
This is a great goal and losing fat and gaining muscle is the fastest way to improve your body composition. But can it be done at the same time? Well the question is what you need to do to:

1. Loose fat

2. Gain muscle

To lose fat, you need to be in a caloric deficit.

For muscle gain, you need to be in a caloric surplus.

Weight gain or weight loss is essentially calories in vs calories out. When we burn more than what we consume, we lose weight & when we consume more than what we burn, we gain weight!

So you can see that these two goals are in opposition to each other and after 7,500 DEXA scans we know that for long-term body composition changes it is best to lose fat first and then build muscle! So how many calories do I need to be consuming to lose fat, and how many calories do I need to gain muscle? Well, this is a very individualised and person-specific question.

Factors that affect your ability to lose fat and to gain muscle, include:

  • your age
  • amount of lean tissue mass
  • hormonal profile
  • gut health
  • visceral fat levels
  • current fitness levels and
  • your gender

The most accurate and reliable method to understand your metabolism is with a “Metabolic test”. This test takes the guesswork out! It measures your metabolism accurately, based on where you are at today! It’s quick and easy and the results are given to you on the spot.
To summarise. You cannot directly convert fat into muscle (or muscle to fat) and the best way to improve your body composition is to know exactly how many calories to eat for fat loss and how many calories to eat for muscle gain. The best way to know this is to come in and get a metabolic test, and have your results explained with one of our sports scientists at Body Measure.

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Light vs Heavy Weight

THE BEST WAY TO BUILD MUSCLE
When asking individuals, “What is the best way to build muscle?” a common response would be that you HAVE to lift heavy weights! But is this true? A recent meta-analysis conducted by Schoenfield et al. 2016, aimed to find out if you could build muscles using lighter weights. Their conclusions may change the way in which you think about building your muscles.

ABOUT THE STUDY
The study involved two completely untrained groups (men); a “High-load” group were prescribed a moderate repetition range (6-8 reps) at more than 65% of 1rm (rep max) and a “Low-load” group who were delegated a higher repetition range (12+ reps) at less than 65% of 1rm. The results showed that both training groups experienced similar “Hypertrophy” (muscle growth) effects.

Schoenfield et al. 2016 concluded that the most influential factor to muscle gain is that of “Total-work volume” (reps x sets x weight) and if the total volume is similar in both training groups; similar muscle growth should be examined. Arguments arose as experts stated that the individuals that were used to undergo this study where just experiencing the “newbie” gains we obtain when untrained individuals begin weight training. They argued that as the individuals were “untrained” and had not been exposed to any form of resistance training previously; they would, therefore, have a greater muscle potential and a likelihood to respond to any form of training.

Schoenfield et al. 2016, responded to this and performed the same experiment with trained individuals – he got similar results! Equal muscle growth in both the heavy and lightweight groups.

 

So what does this mean for you?

Well, it means that if you love lifting heavy weights with low reps you should still go for it, but if you like lifting lighter weights with higher reps then you can do this and get the same muscle growth on your body!

Although imagine the effect of lifting both lighter weights vs heavyweights on the longevity of your being. The heavier we lift, the higher the risk of injury we may be exposed too. A big reason why we see some of our clients stall and go backwards in their body composition goals is from injury.

We often see injuries in our clients who are heavy lifters. Injuries are obviously counterproductive for regular training. This is not to say you powerlifters or individuals out there who do love to lift heavy should cease to train the way you enjoy, but mixing the training methods between the two may be beneficial to allow your Central Nervous System (CNS) to recovery from your heavy lifting sessions.

If you have any question about this article or your specific training program, you can speak more about this to our experts at the Crows Nest Clinic.

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Christmas Gift Vouchers.

Are you looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your partner, family member, colleague or that hard-to-buy-for friend?

Look no further than Gift Vouchers at Body Measure!

Choose from DEXA’s ($110), METABOLIC TEST ($150) or a range of package deals.

With the ease of phone payments and email options, this gift will be a winner for Christmas.A GIFT FOR YOU.png

Call 9460 8502 to arrange your voucher today.

DEAX https://bodymeasure.com.au/what-is-dexa/
METABOLIC https://bodymeasure.com.au/metabolic-testing/
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POWER OF PERSISTENCE

Client of the month

Congrats to our first client of the month!

Elaine is a client of ours at Body Measure, Crow’s Nest and has been coming since Jan 2015.
She is a great example of what perseverance and consistently measuring your results can do. We see so many clients start and give up. Those that get measured regularly and never give up, always get the body they want.

Elaine’s progress was up and down- then she got all her ducks in a row and … WOW… look at her now!

In the past 10 weeks she has:

DROPPED 2 body fat percentages. Now a lean 17% (where most bikini contestants need to sit at)

INCREASED her lean muscle mass by a whopping 2.3kg

DECREASED her fat mass by 1.1kg

She is heavier now by 1kg but has a much better and sexier body composition (which is why scales are so frustrating and totally misleading) This is why DEXA is the smart way to go!
We are stoked to be a part of Elaine’s fat loss journey. Through accurate measuring of body composition, we know she has gone anabolic (that is put on muscle at the same time as losing fat- the best way to change your body composition)

We now have the data she needs to maintain her new fit body!

If you have fallen off the wagon pick up the phone and call us to book an appointment (02) 9460 8502 and get the body you want just like Elaine did!

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Are you exercising too much? Physical stress and fat stores

cortisol-overexercise-dexa-bodymeasure-crowsnestWe see it all the time: client comes in, they want to lose weight – ideally fat. In pursuit of that goal of fat loss, they’ve been watching what they eat and hitting the gym every day. Sometimes, even twice a day! But despite all that exercising, they’re just not getting the results and we can see the frustration radiating off them.

“Why aren’t I getting results?” we get asked. The answer a lot of the time is stress. When you are under stress, your body produces more cortisol and more cortisol means more fat stores. But we don’t just mean emotional stress, physical stress is a significant and often overlooked trigger for cortisol production – especially in our enthusiastic exerciser example.

As Chris Kresser says, “when a goal of exercise is to lose weight or improve energy, overtraining can clearly be a barrier to achieving those goals.” Extreme exercise produces an immediate increase in cortisol, and chronically high levels of cortisol can increase your risk for a range of health problems, such as sleep disturbance (which can also hinder fat loss – see our blog post on sleep and fat!), digestive issues, depression, weight gain and memory impairment. Excess cortisol also encourages fat gain, especially around the abdomen, and we know how dangerous that abdominal fat can be.

So how do you know if you are putting your body under too much stress when exercising? You can start by doing a simple exercise test. For example, you might be able to do five pull ups when you aren’t stressed. But two days later, you find you can only do three pull ups. Of course it doesn’t have to be pull ups- it can be any simple exercises, for example, a vertical leap or a chin up. That’s a big warning sign that your body hasn’t recovered and you will trigger the production of cortisol and store fat, rather than burn it.

To get the maximum benefit from your exercise regime, without promoting excessive cortisol production, try the following tips:overexercise-cortisol-dexascan-bodymeasure-crowsnest

  • Reduce the frequency: Limit high intensity, high stress exercise to only two or three times a week.
  • Get enough rest: It’s important to give your body time to recover and get enough sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping through the night, evaluate the intensity of your training schedule.
  • Have a break: Take a regular, planned break from intense training.
  • Get more variety: High intensity exercise can be great for reducing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass. But balance this with a form of exercise that helps to control your cortisol levels, such as a regular yoga practice.
  • Be smart about your carbohydrates: Low-carb eating is a good way to decrease body fat, but if you are doing high intensity training, it’s important to strike the right balance. Choose healthy, slow burning carbs such as those found in root vegetables.

Are you training hard but not seeing results? Or are you feeling rundown and exhausted? Come back for a follow up DEXA scan and we can assess the changes in your body composition and help to identify if you might be overtraining and placing your body under too much stress.

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Is old age muscling in on you?

Maintaining muscle mass as you age

Did you know that at some point in your 30s, you will begin to lose muscle mass? People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade after 30, with this rate accelerating at around 75 years. It is a condition called age-related sarcopenia and it is nowhere near as widely known as the related condition of osteoporosis (the loss of bone mass).

But we think it is time to wise up about the risks of muscle loss. The age-related loss of muscle mass and strength can make it harder for elderly people to perform basic daily tasks and substantially increases the risk of falls and other accidents. Taking decisive action in your 30s and beyond to increase muscle mass can greatly reduce your risk of muscle loss.

How to prevent the rate of  muscle loss?

The great news is that there are immediate steps you can take to reduce age-related muscle loss. The single most important factor is exercise – specifically resistance training or strength training. This has been shown to both prevent muscle loss and to help with hormones that burn fat and spare muscle loss. A resistance training program can increase protein synthesis rates in as little as two weeks.

weights-musclegrowth-bodymeasure-dexascan-sydney-crowsnest

Another key factor is diet, with inadequate protein intake and insufficient calorie intake both contributing factors. This is what we see every day at Body Measure. Clients will come in smiling saying they have lost 5kg after reading their weight on the scales. When we DEXA SCAN them we find that nearly all of it is muscle! Care must be taken that when losing weight, so that fat and not muscle being shed.

By DEXA SCANNING the experts at Body Measure can see if you are losing muscle or fat and advise on how to modify your diet and training to ensure you build muscle and burn fat.

How to monitor your muscle mass?

Regular DEXA scans can provide you with vital information about your body composition and the amount of lean muscle mass on your body. If you are trying to achieve weight loss goals, we can monitor your progress to ensure that you are maintaining optimum muscle mass levels while reducing the amount of body fat. Similarly, if you are seeking to increase your muscle mass in order to prevent age-related conditions such as sarcopenia and osteoporosis, regular scans can help to monitor your progress and keep you motivated to maintain your strength training as in important factor in overall health.

musclegrowth-weights-dexascan-bodymeasure-crowsnest-sydney

Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting frailer. And whether you are 35 or 75, it’s not too late to take steps to increase your muscle mass. Strength training doesn’t have to mean lifting bulky weights in an intimidating gym environment. It can mean resistance bands and body weight exercises at home or the park, it can mean machines at the gym, or it can mean working with a specialist exercise specialist.

The type of strength training you choose isn’t as important as choosing to do it. Here’s to getting stronger as well as wiser as we age.

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How much muscle mass do you have? Come in for a scan to find out and set a target for increasing your lean muscle tissue, whilst losing fat!

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What’s your baseline? And where do you want to be?

baseline-bodymeasure-dexascanner-sydney-crowsnest
Bianca realised she needs to stay on top of her her game by watching her baseline and keeping fit and healthy.

Now, everyone knows that we should eat better food, move more and generally look after ourselves better. And look, we get it – change is hard, and it can be easier just to carry on with things the way they are. But February is a great time of year to assess your health. Christmas is over, kids are back at school, and the work year is back into full swing. The social calendar is settling back down to a normal level and weekly routines are resuming.

So many of our clients come to us confused and overwhelmed by all the conflicting food, exercise and wellness advice they hear in the media and from their social circle. It can be hard to know what is accurate or what is right for their individual case.

Thankfully, our clients have taken the first step of breaking out of this cycle by booking a DEXA scan and getting a baseline. With our scans, we can provide you with a true picture of your health, not just your weight. We provide you with a breakdown of fat tissue versus lean muscle mass, and valuable insight into where your body is storing that fat. The health implications of hidden abdominal fat can be fatal, so getting a true picture of your inner health is a very effective motivator for change in a way that doing up your jeans or looking good in a bikini might not be for some people. Did you know that the Body Measure DEXA scanner is the only model in the world where you can actually see your visceral fat?

What to expect from a DEXA scan?

Getting a DEXA scan is simple and non-invasive. Unlike old fashioned, and often inaccurate skin fold testing you are fully clothed for the scan. We’ll get you to remove all metal from your body, then lie on the DEXA table, where the scan takes about five minutes.

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We’ll then use the results to provide you with a comprehensive breakdown of your body composition. You’ll be provided with:

  • Your body fat percentage
  • Your total muscle mass
  • The total fat on your body
  • The location of your body fat (intra-muscular, subcutaneous, and the dangerous visceral fat in the abdominal region)
  • Bone weight and bone density
  • Your basal metabolic rate (BMR)
  • Your BMI
  • An overview of how much fat you need to lose to achieve your goals

Our clients find this process extremely valuable and highly motivating towards their body composition goals.

Paula Beckton, a contestant on Channel 7’s Bringing Sexy Back, reflects the sentiments of many of our clients, saying that, “having a DEXA scan at the start really sets the pace and allows you to be very clear on what your starting point is and what you want to get away from being.”

So you’ve had a scan, what next?

We’ll provide you with effective suggestions of diet and lifestyle changes that you can make that will help you to achieve your wellness goals. To keep you motivated, we recommend periodic scans to review your process, something that Paula has found very useful. As she says, “when you lose weight, you sometimes don’t see yourself how much weight you have lost. You might think, oh, I’ve only lost 12 kilograms, but when a scan can show you what that 12 kilograms actually means in health and not just weight, it can really give you a mental edge to continue to work towards your goals.”

We find that nutrition and exercise is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. All bodies respond differently, and with a follow up scan you can see how your unique body is changing and assess if further tweaks need to be made to get you results, rather than being frustrated by your progress.

So, what are you waiting for? Book in now and make this February fabulous!