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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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Can you convert Fat into Muscle?

Fat into Muscle.  Myth or fact?

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

Now, there are really two goals in that sentence;

1. Reduce fat

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

1. Loose fat

2. Gain muscle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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!!

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The Skinny on Fat! Are you as healthy as you think you are?

Are you TOFI?
Are you TOFI?

There’s no doubt that one of the greatest health challenges of our time is obesity and all the associated medical problems that flow on from being over one’s ideal weight. But it’s not just the obese that need to worry.

Are you TOFI?

Studies are showing that a significant percentage of the population that are ‘skinny’ are actually carrying dangerous amounts of visceral fat inside their abdomen – that is, Thin Outside, Fat Inside (TOFI), or Skinny-Fat. Medically, it is known as Metabolically Obese But Normal Weight (MONW), and it is thought to affect anywhere from 10 to 25 per cent of people with a normal, healthy weight.

These hidden fat stores, typically inside your tummy and around your organs, can contribute to a range of health problems including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, elevated liver fat, heart disease, dementia, cancer and more. Furthermore, a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that there was actually a higher mortality rate in adults who were a normal weight at the time of becoming diabetic than adults who were overweight or obese.

What causes TOFI?

Being TOFI is primarily a symptom of being physically inactive and as all ways genetics plays a part. The typical TOFI is always being told how ‘lucky’ they are to be able to eat whatever they like, not exercise and remain slim. But the regular indulgence in heavily processed foods and sugary drinks, combined with a sedentary lifestyle is having an impact, even if it’s not visible. This particularly becomes apparent when the ageing process kicks in and hormone changes cause muscle mass to decrease, the metabolism slows and the so-called middle age spread starts make those jeans a bit harder to do up.

How to tell if you are a TOFI

First of all, you need to take stock of your lifestyle. If you don’t exercise as regularly as you should, chances are you probably have unhealthy fat deposits hiding beneath the surface. Being physically inactive is one of the biggest causes of visceral fat build up. Other factors such as poor diet and stress can also cause visceral fat to be deposited. Measures such as Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference are crude metrics at best and are not a good indicator of the visceral fat, nor the quantity of this bad fat, that you may be storing.

Measurements such as skin-fold testing are also inadequate, as they measure subcutaneous fat, and cannot measure the hidden fat in your tummy, around your organs. Subcutaneous fat does not carry the same health risks as fat on your insides. The best way to find out what’s going on inside your tum is with a DEXA scan which will reveal your body composition. This quick and painless technique can show your hidden fat within 5 minutes.

OK, so I’m TOFI – What should I do?

Your Dexa Scan will reveal if you are TOFI. Once you know your true body composition, you can then take steps to get leaner, lose fat and build muscle mass. The best way to do this is through increasing activity, particularly weight bearing exercise, interval training and by reducing processed foods in the diet. Maintaining not just your ideal weight, but also your ideal body composition with a low body fat percentage is one of the best things you can do to prevent lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes that are placing such a burden on our medical system.

The Experts at Body Measure have the only type of Dexa scanner in the world that actually shows your fat that is on the inside of your body. If this bad fat is found they can advise you on the best, safest and fastest way to get rid of it.

Regular, ongoing Dexa scans to assess your body composition and to track your fat loss can play an important role in keeping you motivated and on-track. You can actually see the fat around your organs disappear! One of the biggest causes of people not sticking to new healthier lifestyles is the lack of visible results and this is especially the case for hidden visceral fat.

You can’t always see the changes from the outside, so let us show you what’s going on inside your abdomen and keep you committed to maintaining your lean tissue and muscle mass.

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Direction to Health

Physiotherapist Emma Esslemont recently discovered the huge benefits of getting a Dexa Scan at Body Measure in Crows Nest. Mainly, she loved the fact she was given perspective and direction as to what is needed to be ‘healthier’.

She also asks the question: If you knew you were at higher risk of developing chronic disease would you change your lifestyle?

Check out her experience below:

Last weekend I went and got a DEXA Scan & it was probably the most interesting & worthwhile $85 I have spent in a long time.

Why?

Chronic disease is literally taking over the world. If it’s not heart disease its diabetes or cancer; obesity or depression. It’s all around us and it’s pretty scary.

This really hit home recently for me following a conversation with my mum. My parents are in their mid 60’s and both have had a pretty clean bill of health. Many of their close friends however have not been so fortunate. In the last 6 months my godfather passed suddenly from a heart attack (he had underlying heart disease), my godmother is battling breast cancer and another close family friend recently found out she had a brain tumour. Bad things happen in 3’s so I have my fingers crossed that that’s the last of the bad news.

A DEXA scan is the most accurate test to measure our body composition and bone density. Our bodies are comprised of fat, bone, muscle and of course our vital organs. In the past body mass index (BMI) has been the measure of choice in the medical world. This uses your weight and height to calculate whether you are normal, overweight, obese or morbidly obese. The shortfall of this is that people who have a lot of muscle such as sportsmen & athletes were falling into the obese category because it doesn’t account for differences in muscle mass and fat mass.

The DEXA scan addresses all of this allowing an accurate measure of body fat, lean muscle and bone density. It takes out ‘water weight’ (the mass of our bladder and bowel) and also is capable of breaking down measurements into different regions. This is particularly important medically as higher levels of visceral fat in the abdominal region (yep I’m talking beer bellies and muffin tops) is a huge risk factor for many chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

dexa x 3

Doctors, personal trainers and nutritionists can then use this information to implement prevention strategies into one’s lifestyle. People with lower bone density will benefit from weight bearing & resistance exercises to strengthen the bones while people with high visceral fat may need to address certain aspects of their diet.

Considering that the fitness industry is BOOMING at the moment; there’s boot camps, running groups, gym franchises popping up EVERYWHERE we really don’t seem to be getting any healthier. Australia is one of the ‘fattest’ nations in the world!

Why?

I honestly believe that it’s because so many of us are not aware of our unhealthy we really are. Health and wellbeing isn’t as simple as exercising every day, sure this helps (and I highly encourage it) BUT many other aspects need attention, especially diet and nutrition. Having this scan, and having a visual image of my body composition which is then mapped against normal values for my age group gives you a little perspective and also gives you direction as to what you need to do to be ‘healthier’.

I’ll leave you with this thought.

If you knew you were at higher risk of developing chronic disease would you change your lifestyle?

It’s $85 that could quite literally save your life.

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DEXA SCANS – GET ACCURATE BODY COMPOSITION!

With summer around the corner many of us are working hard towards getting that beach body. We all know the deal. Increase lean mass and decrease fat. But how do we know if all our hard work is working? How do we know what our current body composition is? How do we measure our progress toward our goals?

The Answer is by getting a DEXA scan. A DEXA scan machine is one of the most accurate ways to measure your body composition and how your training and nutrition is affecting your body.

Adam Meredith at Body Measure is Sydney’s leading expert in Body composition Measurements. DEXA machines measure your Body Fat %, total lean tissue, total fat mass and Bone Density! The Body Measure Machine however does more!

Body Measure is the latest state of the art Dexa Scanner and was the Dexa Machine used in Channel 7’s “Bringing Sexy Back”. Sexy back double pic The Body Measure DEXA SCAN is the only scanner in the world that visualizes Visceral fat (the fat around the stomach organs that is correlated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease) and Intramuscular fat (that is the marbling you have in your muscles!) With Body Measure DEXA we don’t miss any of the fat. In fact Dexa is accurate to the gram!

DEXA scan image
Male scan
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Female scan

When we asked the biggest advantage of using Dexa – Adam Meredith replied: “The biggest thing I see when doing clients before and after scans is that a large proportion of clients will burn significant amounts of muscle and not fat as they lose weight, despite lifting weights at the gym. With Dexa I can pick this up quickly and we can change the clients training and nutrition to promote fat loss rather than muscle loss. The other great advantage is that we can work out a client’s Metabolic Rate, and also calculate how much fat they would need to lose to be at their ideal weight! But the most important feature is that this DEXA scanner can show clients their Visceral Fat levels. It’s surprising how some clients can look apparently normal but when we scan them we find large deposits of Visceral Fat. It’s really important to see this fat and for clients to get rid of it because we know this fat is associated with bad things like Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease’’  

Dexa is extremely safe and uses extremely low levels of XRay (in fact it’s about 1/35th of the daily exposure you get from x-rays if you spent the day at the beach). Each scan takes about 5 minutes and the results are immediate! Adam will go through your scans so that you understand exactly where you are at. If you want to get a baseline of where you are at, or work out how much fat you need to lose, or check if you have any visceral fat, or you want to get the most out of your training call Body Measure on (02) 9460 8502

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Body Measure Dexa Scanner explained on Channel Seven’s “Bringing Sexy Back”

Bringing Sexy Back has broken the mould on the misinformed belief that weight loss is the key to health. The reality is that fat loss, not weight loss is the best measure of a person’s health improvement.

Dexa 1

In order to measure this, Bringing Sexy Back chose the most advanced DEXA Scanner in the world, the Medix DR supplied by InMed Pty Ltd, the same one used at Body Measure.

dexa 2

Our DEXA or Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry, uses a very small amount of X-Ray, less than 1/30 of normal daily background radiation, to differentiate and quantify tissue and bone based on their densities.

In other words, if you had 30 Dexa Scans back to back (which would take 2.5 hrs) you would receive the same radiation as a day at Bondi Beach!

Using high resolution digital detectors, the machine scans in overlapping sweeps to create a very detailed image of a person’s body composition.

Dexa 3

The images produce show the bone, fat mass and lean mass, and the total body composition in percentages. The composition image provides the greatest detail of fat and lean distribution through an individual.

Fat is shown with colour ranges of red (highest density and concentration of fat) through to a very pale yellow (lowest density and concentration of fat).

dexa 4

The superior resolution of the Medix DR system allows every pixel of fat through multiple depths to be visualised rather than just “painting” entire regions and averaging results like other systems. In fact, our Body Measure DEXA Scanner has twice as many detectors than any other DEXA Scanner available in the World, giving it unparalleled accuracy.

A particular advantage of DEXA is its ability to determine and monitor changes in body fat percentage, muscle mass and bone density. This technology has an enormous scope of conditions or which it can be applied.

Such examples include: bone mineral density screening for osteoporosis, muscle loss screening and, as used on “Bringing Sexy Back”, body fat screening which has the potential to revolutionise the way we look at weight and fat loss.

The clients od Body Measure love it because it gives them a base line from which to compare how exercise and nutrition affects their bodies.

Many times with our clients certain nutritional and exercise regimes are not effective for their unique bodies. We will often see a lot of muscle loss, rather than fat loss after a 3 or 4 week campaign. With this information gained from the worlds most accurate DEXA Scanner one can manipulate their exercise and nutrition protocols to promote fat loss and muscle building. This is what makes DEXA Scans so effective and efficient when it comes to changing ones body composition.

Reduction in fat mass decreases the risk of heart disease, of type 2 diabetes and other health issues related to obesity.

deax5

Weight loss without fat loss does not have the same impact. Never before has this superior technology been readily available to the general public, to ensure that they are losing fat and not muscle.