Posted on

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!

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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!

summerbodies-healthy-dexascanning-bodymeasure-sydney-crowsnest-bodyfat

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.

strength-fit-bodymeasure-dexascanning-dexascan-sydney-crowsnest

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!

Posted on 1 Comment

Are you hitting your protein sweet-spot?

protein-bodymeasure-dexascan-sydney

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.

almonds-protein-dexascan-sydney-bodymeasure-crowsnest.

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?

protein-steak-dexa-bodymeasure-crowsnest-dexascan.

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!