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!
It’s a common saying – summer bodies are made in winter. And maybe with the whiff of wattle in the August air, you’re thinking that it’s nearly spring and you’ve left it too late to get your dream beach body.
Well, we’re here to tell you that it’s not too late!
Losing body fat and building lean muscle tissue before summer hits its stride is completely achievable, especially when you have the inside advantage of a DEXA scan to give you an accurate picture of your current internal health. This information can allow us to recommend some simple dietary and exercise tweaks that will help you achieve your health goals.
Six steps to a healthy summer body
Come in for a baseline DEXA scan. In a few short minutes, we can give you a detailed and accurate picture of your health. Our scan results will let you know your weight, body fat percentage including intramuscular fat versus visceral fat, bone density, and lean muscle mass.
2. Using this information, we can calculate your optimum calorie intake and ideal protein requirements. Getting enough protein is important for building and maintaining lean muscle mass, but too much can contribute to undesirable weight gain. Using the information that a DEXA scan gives you, we can help you to strike the right balance.
3. Exercise the right amount – not too little, but also not too much. Over-exercising is one of the most frequent factors that prevent our clients from achieving their goals. Exercising too much can increase production of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can cause your body to stockpile fat.
4. Lift your way to lean. Strength training is hands down the most effective way to get the lean body everybody wants. Weight training doesn’t mean getting bulky muscles, even when you are lifting heavy weights.
5. Get a follow up DEXA scan to track your progress, and keep you motivated. Keeping track of your results is one of the best ways to give you the motivation you need to stick to your eating plan and exercise routine. Even if the number on your bathroom scales isn’t shifting, we can show you the reduction in body fat and the increase in lean muscle tissue.
6. Just keep going. Persistence is key to success. Stay focused on your goal of being fit and healthy so that you can enjoy all the amazing activities that Sydney summer has to offer. Make a list of everything you want to do and get out there this summer and DO IT.
So don’t sit there thinking that you’ve left it too late and you might as well just hide away in the air conditioning once summer arrives. We can give you all the information you need to get your health on track and will support you along the way. Call us today to book a DEXA scan package and roll on summer!
How healthy are your bones? Do you even think about your bones? After all, bones are hidden away, just doing their thing.
This week, 3 to 9 August 2015, it’s Healthy Bone Action Week, so we’re asking you to think about how strong your bones are.
Most people don’t know how many crucial functions your bones are responsible for. Bones help you move, protect your organs, produce blood cells, store minerals, and provide support for the rest of your body.
Not looking after your bones can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis and lead to a greater likelihood of falls and broken bones as you age. This can affect your quality of life and lead to a life in severe pain, or even ending up with a disability.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease which makes bones become brittle, leading to a higher risk or breaks. It literally means ‘bones with holes.’ It affects over 1 million Australians and occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them.
As bone density decreases, even minor bumps of falls can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis often has no symptoms until a fracture occurs, gaining it the name of the ‘silent disease.’ The most common sites for fractures are the hip, spine and wrist. Fractures can be the trigger for chronic pain and loss of independence, and the risk of future fractures increases with each new break – known as the ‘cascade effect.’
What can you do to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis?
There are three key elements to improving bone health and preventing osteoporosis:
Exercise: To improve bone health, weight-bearing exercise (where you support your own body weight, like walking, jogging and tennis) and resistance training using to build muscle are highly recommended. Resistance training can use body weight exercises, hand weights, gym equipment or resistance bands. For people with osteoporosis, balance training is also highly advisable to reduce the risk of falls.
Calcium-rich diet: Calcium is essential for bone health and for healthy functioning of your heart, muscles, blood and nerves. If you are having inadequate amounts of dietary calcium, the body will withdraw the calcium from your bones to use in other parts of the body. Good dietary sources of calcium include dairy foods, tinned fish, dark green vegetables and nuts. It is recommended to eat 3 to 5 serves of calcium-rich foods daily.
Sunlight: Sunlight is recommended as the best source of vitamin D. Over 30% of Australians are estimated to have some level of vitamin D deficiency, especially during winter. Vitamin D is an important element in developing strong and healthy bones. Depending on skin type and the time of year, 5 minutes to 3 hours of sun exposure is recommended.
If right now, you’re thinking, “Gee, I really have no idea what state my bones are in,” think about a DEXA scan at Body Measure’s Crows Nest clinic. A DEXA scan package can provide you with a detailed look at your bone health and give you the information you need to take steps to strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis. The DEXA scan uses painless, safe, non-invasive, low radiation to calculate your bone densitometry.
An initial scan will show the state of your bones, and a repeat scan after adopting preventative measures can give you the motivation you need to continue to focus on your bone health.
Give us a call today on 02 9460 8502 to book your scans at Sydney’s Body Measure and get a true picture of your bone health.
Did you know our DEXA machine is the ONLY machine that can measure INTRAMUSCULAR FAT?
Intramuscular fat is the fat in your muscles, rather than the fat under the skin and for a long time has been largely ignored. It’s often referred to as intramuscular triglycerides, which help to provide fuel to the body.
But, just like the intramuscular fat in a nicely marbled Wagyu steak, this intramuscular fat can actually be GOOD. It can help body builders have fuller looking muscles, and provides long term energy for endurance athletes who don’t have much extra muscular fat to use as a fuel source. The trick is in knowing how much you have and the ratio compared to your other fat cells and lean muscle tissue.
Below are 4 male DEXA scan pictures, from left to right, the body fat measurements are 10%, 12%, 16% and 24%.
Blue on the scan represents lean tissue, muscle and organs, and the green or light blue represents FAT! If you look at the thighs on the 10% male scan, you can see mainly dark blue with light blue speckles. This is marbling. This guy is like a lean cut of meat. If you look at the 24% male body scan, you will notice a lot of green dots and smudges in the upper thigh. This is like a wagyu steak- a fatty cut of meat.
Due to genetics and different training styles, some people can have the same amount of total fat on their body (ie. both be 11% body fat) but look different.
Body Measure recently scanned a personal trainer that had 12% body fat, and when he returned 3 months later he walked into our clinic looking much leaner. His second DEXA scan revealed his body fat percentage actually increased by 0.6%, despite looking much leaner. He had been doing a very intense high volume style of training called hurricane sessions (high intensity interval training). During this his body adapted by storing intramuscular triglycerides for fuelling in his thighs and arms. During this process he did lose subcutaneous fat, resulting in him looking leaner with fuller muscles. The increase in body fat percentage was from the accumulation of increased intramuscular fat.
Without being able to see this intramuscular fat increase the client wouldn’t have been able to recognise the true benefits of his training.
Body Measure has the only machine that measures intramuscular fat – we really can tell you what is going on in the inside!!
Our machine is accurate to the gram and can give you immediate results. We can tell you where you are losing fat from under the skin, between the muscles or from your organs (the bad visceral fat- and yes, this is the ONLY DEXA scanner that can do this) and what the health implications – positive and negative – are for your individual goals and circumstances.
Book in for a Dexa scan and find out your intramuscular fat levels in a matter of minutes!
For years, we were told that eating fat was turning us all into fatty boombaladas, causing heart disease and sending us to an early grave. And so, everyone turned to the low-fat and no-fat “foods” that flooded the market. But what happened? The obesity epidemic didn’t subside. No, obesity levels have continued to increase with the resulting medical complications now one of the top health challenges of our era.
Did you know there is a source of nutrients we can’t get from any other foods or make ourselves. These are called essential fatty acids, and without them in your diet you cannot have good health. It plays a key role in helping our bodies actually absorb nutrients and is used to make many vitamins, in particular Vitamin A, D, E and K. To get the full vitamin hit from your garden salad or your plate of steamed greens, you need to add some healthy fat to your plate.
Healthy fats play an important role in improving the liver’s ability to burn fat. Yes, if you want to burn off that unhealthy fat that is around your internal organs, you need to be eating dietary fats to initiate that fat-burning process. Before and after DEXA scans can give you the visual evidence of the results you can get from adding the right fats to your diet.
But don’t hoe into the deep-fried Mars bars and triple cheeseburgers
The important thing to remember is that all fats are not created equal. When it comes to fat, some are very, very good, and others are very, very bad. It’s also important to be conscious of your fat intake as fats are calorie dense foods and need to be consumed with deliberate intent. Be smart and strategic with the fats you eat for maximum health benefit.
It’s time to stop being afraid of fat and instead, make fat your friend. For so many of our clients, we’ve seen the amazing changes in their body composition from simple diet changes, including increasing the amount of healthy fat they eat. Before and after DEXA scans have shown that this fat loss has been primarily the unhealthy and dangerous visceral fat around internal organs in the abdominal cavity.
Have you been fat-phobic in an effort to lose weight? Has increasing the fat in your diet improved your health?
No longer just a mainstay of bodybuilders, protein powders have gone mainstream with shelves of them in supermarkets across the country. But a lot of the people we see in the clinic are confused about if, which and how they should be using protein powders. In this blog post, we’ll try to clear up this confusion and take a look at the differences between plant-based protein powders and animal-based protein powders, how to choose a quality powder, and how to use protein powders effectively.
Plant based powers
Plant based protein powders include soy, pea and brown rice powders. There are also vegan powders that use a combination of plant proteins.
The benefits of plant based powders is that they are often suitable for people with food intolerances, being dairy and gluten free. They are also quite affordable. Pea powder in particular is slow digesting and may keep you full for longer.
The downsides are that some plant based powders are not complete proteins – for example, pea protein powder lacks the amino acid cysteine and brown rice protein powder is deficient in lysine. Similarly, while soy protein powder contain all essential amino acids and is a complete protein, there are concerns that the isoflavones it contains can interact with hormones like oestrogen and possibly skew hormone levels if taken in excess. However, according to Brian St Pierre from Priority Nutrition, this is only a concern if you otherwise eat a lot of soy-based foods. “If you are having the occasional shake with soy protein in it, it’s probably not anything to be concerned about,” he says.
Animal based powders
The most common animal-based protein powder is whey, closely followed by casein, both of which are dairy-proteins. There are also egg-based powders on the market.
Whey protein is fast acting, which makes it beneficial for stimulating muscle growth and development. In contrast, casein, while also a milk protein, is slower digesting and is often taken at night to provide a steady source of amino acids for up to seven hours. Given the discussion over the optimal window for protein supplementation after training, the benefit of this is questionable.
As a dairy-based product, both whey and casein are unsuitable for people who are lactose intolerant.
How to choose a protein powder
There are massive variations in the price of protein powders. This mainly reflects the amount of additives and fillers in the products, with purer products having a higher price point. There are a selection of natural protein powders available that do not contain preservatives, colours, flavours or sweeteners.
There is also a price difference between products like whey protein concentrate (WPC) and whey protein isolate (WPI), with isolate being considered a purer form of protein. However, the advantage of these more processed powders comes with a price premium that may not be worth it – according to Brian St Pierre from Priority Nutrition, the advantage is small and a basic whey concentrate powder from a reputable company can provide great results if taken with care given to timing and overall diet quality.
How to use protein powders effectively
Protein powders are most effective when used as a recovery drink within 30 minutes to 2 hours of a high-intensity workout. This means weight training, intervals or endurance training sessions of 45 minutes or longer – not after taking the dog for a half hour stroll around the block.
The Australian Institute of Sport recommends that it is most effective to eat some protein just after exercise, and to spread the rest of your day’s protein intake out over meals and snacks during the rest of the day. So rather than having a huge slab of meat at dinner, have smaller portions of protein-containing foods like lean meat, dairy, nuts and legumes throughout the day.
Ultimately, our view is that protein powders, used judiciously, can play a role in aiding muscle recovery. However, they should not be treated as a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet. Real food has the added benefit of being cost effective and providing you with a wide range of vitamins and minerals that a protein powder could never hope to fully mimic.
As mentioned in our blog earlier this month ‘Are you hitting your protein sweet-spot?’ it is advisable to calculate your protein requirements based on your lean muscle mass. A DEXA scan can give you an insight into how much lean muscle mass you have, accurate to the gram. Why not get a before and after scan to see if your protein intake when exercising is working for your body? Visit Body Measure in Crows Nest, Sydney, to help achieve your optimum body and health! You are worth it!
We 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:
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.
There’s no doubt about it, sleep can make you fat.
But that’s not because you’re being a lazy bludger who’s hitting the snooze button on your alarm instead of getting up for your workout. No, it’s not getting ENOUGH sleep that might be the culprit for that pillow of fat around your tummy.
You see, sleep is an important function of your body’s repair cycle and also regulates your hormones. And when it comes to sleep and fat loss, there are two hormones that we need to be worrying about: ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin tells you when to eat – and when you are sleep deprived, your body produces more ghrelin. Sending you straight into the loving embrace of that mid-afternoon coffee with a side order of chocolate. Leptin’s role is to tell you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin. So that one row of the chocolate block turns into the whole family-sized bar. Then, in addition to making poor food choices, you’re tired and lack the motivation to exercise.
As you can see, it’s a recipe for a slowed down metabolism. In our society of busy-ness where sleep deprivation is often worn like a badge of honour, it’s little wonder that obesity levels continue to rise!
In addition to how much sleep you are getting, the quality of your sleep is also important too. You might think you are getting the recommended seven hours of sleep each night – or maybe even more, but like someone surviving on only four hours, you’re tired, struggling to control your appetite and unable to lose weight. With a growing number of health monitors, like the Fitbit or Jawbone Up among others, on the market now, many people are discovering that the quality of their sleep is less than ideal and this is negatively impacting their health. These devices can be a useful tool to identify a potential issue with the quality of your sleep, but for long term sleep problems, a referral from your doctor for a sleep study can help to pinpoint any underlying issues, such as sleep apnoea.
So, how can you improve your sleep and get your hormones back under control? Here’s some great tips from Harvard Medical School:
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine too close to bedtime
Make your bedroom a sleep inducing environment: quiet, dark and cool, with minimal electronic devices
Create a soothing pre-sleep routine
Go to sleep when you’re truly tired
Use natural light in the day to keep your internal clock on a healthy sleep-wake cycle
Have a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time
Nap early, or not at all
Have a lighter evening meal
Time your exercise right – aim for at least 3 hours before bed, or earlier in the day
Are your sleep habits undermining your fat loss goals? We can help to monitor your fat loss and show you how your results improve when you prioritise good sleep habits. Come in for a before and after DEXA scan in Crows Nest to get a true picture of your internal health.
The terms anabolic and catabolic are well-known in the weightlifting and body building communities, but we believe it’s time that the broader community understood what these terms mean and use that knowledge to improve health and well-being!
So, what do these terms mean?
Anabolic and catabolic essentially refer to whether your body is building tissue or breaking it down. An anabolic state means your body is building or repairing tissue, whereas a catabolic state means your body is breaking down tissue. Workouts are either anabolic or catabolic, and each has a different effect on your body.
Anabolic workouts are focused on strength training, and will increase muscle mass. The effect of anabolic training actually takes place during rest and high intensity training, when the body produces more muscle fibres to replace the ones that were broken during exercise. By increasing your muscle mass, your body will burn fat more effectively when at rest. Classic anabolic hormones include growth hormone, insulin and testosterone.
Becoming more anabolic isn’t just a matter of increasing your weight training. It requires a combination of training, good nutrition and rest. Here are some tips on how to be more anabolic:
Watch what you eat: A diet that focuses on fresh, natural and unprocessed foods is ideal. Aim for simple home cooked meals based around protein, good fats and clean, slow burning carbs.
Sleep your way to success: Sleep and rest are vital to promoting anabolism as this is when the body will repair broken muscle tissue and grow new muscle. Aim for eight hours of sleep a night and make sure you are giving your body a chance to renew itself.
Train using compound movements: Exercises like squats, deadlifts and push and pull variations develop the whole body, rather than just one muscle group. This helps to promote an anabolic state as the body will keep burning fat for hours after your workout.
Reduce stress: Both mental and physical stress can lower your immunity and hamper muscle repair. The stress hormone, cortisol, is associated with a catabolic state and is known to increase blood pressure and blood sugar, and reduces immune responses.
Avoid alcohol: Yes, we know this is never popular advice! But alcohol hampers the process of protein synthesis and lowers testosterone levels, both of which are necessary for muscle growth. So save the beer and wine for an occasional indulgence.
Eat green vegetables: Plenty of green veggies will provide your body with phytonutrients to trigger anabolism.
So there you have it, an overview of the difference between anabolic and catabolic states, and what that can mean for your health. To get an indication of the amount of muscle tissue in your body, come in for a DEXA scan and we can help to tailor your training to help you turn into a lean, fat-burning machine.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!