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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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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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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.