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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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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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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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Visceral Fat and trying to lose weight!

Did you know that having visceral fat can make losing body fat even harder?Man and woman body fat

Although almost everyone has visceral fat in their body, some individuals have a lot more than others.  By eating foods that are filled with fatty or sugar based substances, the visceral fat in your system will promote weight gain.

Visceral fat, is the bad fat around the organs of your stomach and can lead to problematic issues like diabetes and heart disease. So right there is a good reason to change your body composition and lose this bad fat.

But visceral fat is also a major player in weight gain.  Unlike other types of body fat, visceral fat alters the way that our body divides food and then stores fat cells. So that you metabolism is geared toward storing fat, rather than using it as a fuel source.  Additionally, this specific type of fat is one of the main causes of insulin resistance, which directly results in extra weight gain.

Luckily, there are many different ways for you to lose visceral fat and avoid weight gain all together.  Whether it’s through nutritional supplements like vitamins and supplements, regular exercise or a healthy diet, visceral fat can be reduced to healthy levels.

But, what if you don’t even know if you have visceral fat in your body?  The answer is much easier to find than you might think; especially with one quick and simple visit to Body Measure in Crow’s Nest, Sydney. Body Measure are Sydney’s leading experts in body composition.

The most exact way to get instant visceral fat results is by getting it measured with a Dexa Scan.

One of the most advanced measuring systems in the world, a Dexa Scan will provide you with tangible results.  Body Measure dexa Scan is the only machine in the word that can visualize the visceral fat in your body.

This state of the art body composition analysis only takes 5 minutes.

We will explain your results on the day and give you an in-depth review of the final outcome.