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What’s more important – diet or exercise?

It’s a question we regularly hear when clients come in for a DEXA scan: “What’s more important, diet or exercise?” The short answer is they both are. But you’re not reading this for the short answer, are you? And if you’ve been trying to run your way into a smaller clothing size, then you’re probably going to end up disappointed…

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What’s your goal?

Most of our clients at Body Measure are looking to make physical changes to their bodies: reduce fat, shift weight and build lean muscle mass. Our DEXA scans help to provide you with the data points to track those changes and get the best results for your individual circumstances. When it comes to exercise, we’re big proponents of strength training to build muscle, which in turn will help you to burn fat.

But, to really lose fat, you’ll see better results from time spent in the kitchen than time spent in the gym. This is because losing fat and weight does rely on being calorie negative – burning more calories than you are ingesting. And because the human body is very efficient with how it expends energy, you have to run an awful lot to compensate for eating more than your body requires. For example, one study found that to lose about 1 kilogram of fat, study participants had to exercise for 77 hours! That’s a lot of time that could be spent preparing healthy meals rather than phoning for a pizza…

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As well as exercise not actually burning that many calories, people tend to be REALLY bad at estimating calories in versus calories out. Studies have shown that when people are told to eat the amount of food that they believed they burned in calories exercising, they overestimate badly. How badly? Two to three times the amount-of-calories-they-actually-burnt-badly.

How to prioritise your time

In the modern world, people are more inclined to find 30 minutes in their day to go to the gym, or go for a walk, or even just get off the bus a stop or two earlier, than they are to cook. We are constantly bombarded by messages by food manufacturers about how we don’t have time to cook, or that cooking is difficult.

But, here’s the truth of it: taking responsibility for what goes into your mouth is one of the most important steps you can take towards better health. For most people, you are eating three to five times a day. Taking a bit of time each day to make active choices about those foods will help you on your fat loss journey more than any “I worked so hard I’m going to vomit” personal training session.

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Here’s four simple tips to help you find the time to eat better:

  1. Chopping vegetables for dinner? Take 30 seconds to chop an extra carrot and put the sticks in a sealed container for snacking over the next couple of days.
  2. Bag up some snacks. Pre-portion ziplock bags of nuts and together with a small piece of fruit, you’ve got yourself a great little mix of healthy carbs, protein and fats.
  3. Make friends with your freezer and create your own stash of ready-meals.
  4. Take 30 minutes each week to plan your meals. For bonus credit, find an hour or two for a food prep and cook up session

The bottom line

Exercise is very important for health. It helps balance your hormones and build muscle, which is fat burning. It helps you to feel more energised and is critical for cardio-vascular health. Exercising can also, for some people, make them eat better (if you don’t fall prey to the “I worked out today so I can have that big slice of cake” trap!).

But, ultimately you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.

What are your tips for eating better? Have you had better results from diet, exercise or a combination of the two?

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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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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.

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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 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.
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Pounding the pavement to shift those kilos? Think about lifting kilos instead!

In every gym around the country, and plenty of parks and footpaths too, you can see people slogging away at cardio exercise in an effort to lose weight. Huffing and puffing, there’s no doubt that they’re working hard, but are they really going to get the results that they are after?

We’d be inclined to say, sadly no. They might lose weight, but not necessarily fat. A Penn State study put dieters into three groups – no exercise, cardio exercise only, and cardio exercise and weight training – and while they all lost weight, the weight lifting group lost around three kilos more fat than the other groups. The weight lifting group’s loss was almost pure fat, while the others lost both fat and muscle. And as we know, losing muscle will decrease your metabolic rate and contribute to a range of other health problems.

Cardio exercise, like running, cycling and swimming is great for improving your heart health and for burning fat for the period of time that you are exercising. But to alter your body to burn fat more effectively all day, even when you are sitting at your desk or asleep in your bed, you really need to build more muscle mass.

Why weight training trumps cardio for fat loss

One of the main reasons why weight training is better than cardio for fat loss is the post-workout effect on metabolism. Weight training can trigger increased calorie burn for up to 36 hours after you’ve finished your session!

A second factor is that in addition to burning more calories after the workout itself, weight training will increase the amount of lean muscle mass in your body. This lean muscle mass will increase your basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories you’d burn just lying in bed all day doing nothing but breathing), and make your body a more efficient fat burning machine all day, every day, not just training days.

Weight training also promotes an anabolic state in the body , encouraging the creation and maintenance of lean muscle tissue. Cardio training however can cause a catabolic state in the body, triggering the release of the stress hormone cortisol which can lead to muscle loss and also promote fat accumulation in the abdominal region. And as we’ve discussed before, abdominal fat is bad news!

How to get your muscles to do the heavy weight-loss lifting

The best approach for fat loss is metabolic strength training – a high-intensity, full-body interval workout. Rather than a traditional body-building program using free weights and weight machines, metabolic strength training is based on a variety of combinations and repetitions using free weights, kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells and resistance bands. Rather than being about how much you can lift, it is about making the body efficient, lean, toned and strong.

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To get the maximum benefits from metabolic strength training, try these tips from Alwyn Cosgrove, author of The New Rules of Lifting for Life:

  • Train the whole body on non-consecutive days, three to four times per week
  • Use compound exercises with free weights
  • Choose a weight that allows you to complete no more than three to four sets of 12 to 15 repetitions if you’re a beginner, or six to eight reps if you are an experienced lifter
  • Keep your rest time between sets to under a minute
  • Alternate sets of lower-body and upper-body exercises
  • Continually challenge yourself with heavier weights and new and different exercise variations

So, don’t be scared of lifting weights to achieve your weight loss goals! Strength training will allow your body to develop more lean muscle tissue and change your body composition. You’ll increase your metabolic rate and turn your body into a strong and efficient fat burning machine that not only looks better but works better too. We see the effects of this type of training at Body Measure all the time- it works! Come in an see us for a DEXA scan- we can help you achieve your goals and keep you on track with your training!

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Anabolic versus catabolic: What’s the difference and why does it matter for your 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.

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Catabolic training predominantly involves cardio exercise sessions of at least 20 to 45 minutes in duration, and will cause your body to release hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine and adrenalin. Catabolic training will cause a loss of total body mass and is an effective fat burner while you are exercising.

Which is better?

We believe that for most people, it is better to exercise in a way that encourages your body to be in an anabolic state. Anabolism is necessary to grow muscle tissue, increase bone density and also encourages the production of white blood cells to boost your immune system. By increasing muscle mass, your body will burn fat more effectively all day – not just when you are exercising. It is vital to ensure that you are eating enough, as if your body has inadequate resources to fuel muscle repair, it will actually break down undamaged muscle tissue to repair damaged muscle tissue!

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How to promote anabolism

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

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Is losing weight your New Year resolution? Here’s why we think you need to change your goal

Every year as the clock clicks over from 11.59pm on 31 December to 12.00am on 1 January, millions of people worldwide resolve that this is the year that they are going to lose weight. Promotions will abound for January detoxes, special deals on the latest meal replacement shake craze, and all the diet companies will boost their advertising spend to capture the good intentions (not to mention the hard earned dollars) of those millions. And without a doubt, some of those people will lose weight, and lose it quickly. They’ll feel very pleased with themselves, go back to living normally and BAM, a few months later that weight is right back.

Why weight loss shouldn’t be the goal

The reason behind this yo-yo weight loss and gain cycle is simple. For most people, when they lose weight quickly what they are actually losing is water and muscle tissue. This is then a double edged sword for lean muscle mass is a very effective fat burner, so not only do you lose the muscle tissue you also then create an environment where your body is less able to burn off kilojoules.weightbearingexercise-dexa-bodymeasure-sydney-crowsnest

We believe it is much better to shift your focus to fat loss. Yes, the numbers will probably still pleasingly head downwards on your scales for a nice little bit of reinforcement, but the approach taken to achieve this goal is different. You’re not going to be looking for a quick fix, but rather making lifestyle changes that will set you up for a lifetime of good health.

How to promote fat loss

One of the most important factors in promoting fat loss, especially that dangerous fat around your abdomen, is regular exercise. Weight bearing exercise to build lean muscle tissue should be an integral part of your weekly fitness routine, combined with whatever other activities you enjoy.

What you are eating of course also plays an incredibly important role in fat loss. There’s loads of diets and approaches to food out there that go in and out of favour, so our advice is to cut down on processed foods, prioritise lots of vegetables in particular leafy greens, and avoid too much sugar (by the way, we’ve said it before, but alcohol is pretty much carbohydrate – i.e. sugar!). Don’t fall into the trap of eating “low-fat” foods, as typically the fat is replaced by a high amount of sugar to make the food more palatable. Choose quality fats such as olive oil, coconut oil and animal fat from free range, grass fed meat. Quality fat in sensible quantities are an important element of overall health. Keep the mantra “Just Eat Real Food” in your mind when making your food choices.

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“But I can’t see fat loss on my scales?” How to know if you are getting results?

It can be hard to give up the thrall of the bathroom scales when you shift to focusing on fat loss rather than weight loss. And for most people, they will absolutely lose kilos when they first embark on this lifestyle change, but it doesn’t show the full picture.

In contrast, regular DEXA scans can show how your body composition is changing and give you visual proof of fat tissue being replaced by lean muscle mass. We can show you how many kilos of fat you have lost, not just how many kilos of fat, water and muscle you have. Our clients find that this information is very motivating and helps to no only ensure their training is on track, but maintain their lifestyle changes long after rapid weight loss has stopped and they move into maintenance phases of health.

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Beer bellies and muffin tops: Are you hiding behind cute names for abdominal fat?

January has arrived, and with the New Year typically come thoughts of a renewed commitment to health and wellness. Maybe those jeans are a little bit tighter after the excesses of Christmas. (Just me? No, didn’t think so.) Maybe you’re hiding under a t-shirt at the beach. Or maybe you’ve always done those things but you’ve decided that it’s time to really change this time.

As a society, we have lots of cute and funny sounding names for abdominal fat. We call it our beer belly, a muffin top, joke about our love handles or our cuddly belly. But the harsh reality is that there is nothing cute, sweet or harmless about abdominal fat stores. Fat around your belly is literally suffocating your vital organs. That visceral, or hidden, fat is a known contributor to increased risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, a range of cancers and more.beerbelly-dexascanner-bodymeasure-sydney

In our blogs we keep banging on about the risks of abdominal fat. That’s because the research into the health implications of this type of fat is very clear – too much abdominal fat is a killer. But, on the flip side, we continually see our customers turn their health around through embracing a healthier lifestyle that focuses on freshly prepared foods and plenty of activity. With regular DEXA scans, we can see the evidence of this dangerous, deadly fat burning away and being replaced with muscle mass and lean tissue.

Five top tips for shifting that beer belly

  1. OK, we’re not going to be popular for this one, but it’s a no-brainer. Cut back on the beer. Sorry. Alcohol is high in carbohydrates but has no nutritional value. Your body will burn off alcohol before any other food, so it leads to your body storing additional calories as fat.
  2. Embrace vegetables. Increasing your vegetable intake is one of the easiest ways to reduce processed carbohydrates from your diet. Carbs aren’t bad, we just tend to eat too many in our modern, processed food culture. Try out zucchini noodles with your bolognaise sauce, or give cauliflower rice a try with your curry. There are loads of easy and tasty ideas to make veggies a bigger part of your diet.
  3. Move more. When you are starting out, the most important thing is just to be more active. Find something that you enjoy (or can at least tolerate). If you’re already active, increase the amount of weight bearing exercise that you do. Building more muscle mass will help your body to be a more efficient fat burning machine. Weight bearing exercise also improves your bone density, which is very important for both women AND men as we age.liftingweights-dexascanner-sydney-strength
  4. Rest better. Studies show that a lack of sleep is a contributing factor to excess fat storage. Inadequate or poor quality sleep can impede your body’s ability to process carbohydrate, leading to an excess of insulin production and ultimately storing more body fat and developing insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
  5. Keep measuring. The most important element to reducing abdominal fat and increasing muscle mass is consistency with your lifestyle changes. But we know that sometimes it can be hard to maintain your motivation when you aren’t always seeing immediate changes. This is where regular DEXA scans can play a vital role, as even if the number on the scale isn’t changing, our scans can show you how those hidden fat stores are reducing in size and being replaced by healthy muscle mass.

Visit Body Measure in Crows Nest Sydney for your DEXA scan and combat that dangerous abdominal fat!!