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The importance of Sleep on muscle gain.

Does sleep have any effect on your muscles?

Our Sports Scientists hear all the time from clients that their sleeping patterns are poor. Late nights out, working late, mind racing when your head hits the pillow etc. Can you relate?

It is very well known and documented that sleep plays a crucial part of humans’ general health and wellbeing. However, does sleep have any effect on muscle gain, retention or loss? Let’s dig deep and find out!

A number of studies have identified the importance of sleep on human hormonal balancing. When we sleep, our body releases anabolic hormones such as Testosterone & IGF-1 to aid the body in the recovery process. When sleep is insufficient, the release of these hormones is reduced which may lower the bodies’ ability to repair muscle or thus build muscle. So if you are doing regular strength training, but your sleep is compromised you could end up not getting those gains!

Studies have also shown that sleep is vital to make sure we don’t experience muscle atrophy (muscle break down). Lack of sleep will elevate hormones in our body, specifically CORTISOL. Cortisol is a stress hormone and when its elevated it has the effect of breaking down muscle tissue. This hormone is very Catabolic and reduces the rate of protein synthesis and inhibits muscle tissue growth.

So Elevated Cortisol = harder to gain muscle!!!

To reap the rewards of our hard work in the gym, you must get your sleep right.

The time in which we sleep directly influences cortisol levels as well! A number of studies have identified that individuals who slept during the day could not significantly reduce Cortisol levels when compared to people who slept during “regular” night hours. The conclusion of these studies stated that there is a direct correlation to cortisol secretion and our bodies natural clock (Circadian Rhythm) and it seems that catching up sleep the next day might not offset a bad night’s sleep.

To summarise, sleep plays a HUGE role in the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. LACK of sleep will contribute to breaking down your hard earned muscle! Sleep provides a state of recovery and repair for the body, allowing the “good” anabolic hormones to be secreted into the bloodstream and reducing the release of “bad” catabolic hormones.

Put your sleeping habits to the test with a DEXA scan and our experts will provide you with the advice you need to get to your goals!

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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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It’s not too late to get your dream summer body!

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!

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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

  1. 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.

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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!

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Get a picture of your bone health

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.

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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    Milk is a great source of calcium for strong bones
  3. 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.

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Intramuscular fat- how much do you have?

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%.

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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.

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Is this what you look like on the inside?

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!

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Fat: Making friends with this former dietary enemy

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.

It turns out fat isn’t the public enemy number one we thought it was.

Instead, fat is a critical part of our diets.

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Grilled Atlantic salmon with an avocado and tomato salsa. Delicious healthy eating with GOOD fats!

Fat is vital for good nutrition

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.

Fat makes food taste better

As well as making food good for us, fat makes food good to eat too. This was one of the biggest problems of the low-fat/no-fat dogma, as to make these foods palatable manufacturers needed to replace the fat with something else. What else makes food taste good? Sugar and salt, neither of which are exactly innocent when it comes to our health.

Eating fat helps you burn fat

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

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Remember not all fat is created equal..

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.

So, what fats should you be eating?

The best fats to eat are minimally processed, real foods. Some examples of healthy high fat foods, as recommended by Authority Nutrition, include:

  • Avocados
  • Cheese
  • Whole eggs
  • Sustainable oily fish
  • Nuts
  • Butter from grass-fed cows
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconuts and coconut oil
  • Full-fat natural yoghurt

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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?

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Protein powders – do you need one and how to choose one

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.

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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 effectivelyproteinpowder-dexascan-bodymeasure-crowsnest-sydney-muscle

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!

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Are you hitting your protein sweet-spot?

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Protein is an essential macronutrient for good health, and is especially vital for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. But how much is enough? How can you calculate how much you need? And can you have too much protein? In this blog post, we’ll explore these issues and break it down for you.

Why protein is important?

Protein is one of life’s essential nutrients. Brain cells, muscle, skin, hair and nails are just some of our body parts that are protein-based – in fact about half of the human body’s dry weight is made up of protein. The amino acids in protein are also necessary for the production of some hormones, such as adrenalin.

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How much protein do you need?

Estimates vary on how much protein is needed, with some recommendations excessive in our opinion. The suggested guidelines from the Australian Institute of Sport strike a good balance. The Institute’s recommendation for sedentary men and women is 0.8g of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day. On average, a sedentary man needs 56 grams per day, and a sedentary woman needs 46 grams per day.

To put this in perspective, some examples of the amount of protein in food is:

  • 85 grams of meat has about 21 grams of protein
  • 1 egg contains about 6 grams of protein
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter as 8 grams of protein
  • ¼ cup of almonds has 8 grams of protein

Requirements are slightly more for some athletes, of up to 1.7g/kg/day for elite male endurance athletes, those at the start of an intense resistance training program, and those involved in power sports. Other people with higher protein requirements are pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people over the age of 50 to reduce the risk of age-related sarcopenia (muscle wastage).

But it is important to note that the guidelines from the Australian Institute of Sport are for athletes. If you are overweight or have a high body fat composition, 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.

How to make sure you are getting enough protein?

Most Australians do get adequate protein in their diets, and as excess protein cannot be stored by the body there is no benefit to eating more than your body requires. However, it is most effective to eat protein at regular amounts throughout the day.

Protein deficiencies are most common in people following strict vegetarian or vegan diets. This is because most plant proteins are not complete – they do not contain all the essential amino acids that our bodies require. Soy products, quinoa and amaranth seeds do contain all the essential amino acids, but most plant proteins lack at least one amino acid. This means that vegetarians and vegans need to ensure that their diet contains a variety of protein foods from different plant sources to ensure they get an adequate mix of amino acids.

Inadequate protein intake is also a concern for people following fad diets such as long-term juice and vegetable fasts or the cabbage soup diet, and of course, those suffering from an eating disorder.

Too much of a good thing?

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According to the Australian Institute of Sport, daily protein intakes under 2 g/kg of body weight in healthy people is unlikely to cause side effects. However, for people with pre-existing kidney disease high protein intakes can accelerate the disease progression. Other possible risks that are still being evaluated include an increased risk of osteoporosis due to an increase in calcium excreted in urine. The Australian Institute of Sport also warns that an excessive focus on high protein foods can displace other valuable foods – especially fruits and vegetables – from the diet.

Ultimately, it is important to eat a well-balanced diet that provides all your essential macronutrients as you strive to change your body composition and build lean muscle mass. Good overall nutrition will ensure that you have enough protein to build muscle, reduce fat and get lean.

For help on achieving your health and wellness goals, come in for a DEXA scan at Crows Nest. We can measure how much lean muscle mass you have accurate to the gram which will help you calculate your ideal protein intake. Sydney’s Body Measure can help you can change your body composition by discussing the optimal mix of nutrition and exercise best for YOU! 

 

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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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Are you sleeping yourself fat?

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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.Sleeping businesswoman with her head on laptop

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.