What's a healthy weight? What's attractive? What's a better gauge of weight loss progression? These are common questions. And most of it relates to body fat...
1) Body fat is vital.We can not live on lean weight alone.
Minimum body fat percentage for men is 5% and for women, 12%.
2) Minimum body fat is NOT a healthy goal.
In fact, sports medicine experts say that there is no evidence of benefit for men dropping their body fat percentage beyond 8%, and for women, below 14%.
3) Too much body fat is risky. Too much body fat increases the risk for disease and inevitably, premature death. For men (depending on age) 20-25% is considered obese. For women (depending on age), it's between 33-36%.
4) There is no exact "ideal" body fat percentage. There are categories--generalizations, but I'm not bothering posting this information. Why? Not only is there a difference between men and women, there's just a big difference between individuals, body types, body shapes, etc. A healthy body fat percentage should feel good--not restricted and not overindulged.
5) Body fat distribution is an important predictor of adverse health consequences. Unless you have very little body fat, it is easy to see where your body fat is distributed. Often, your body shape will tell you. For example, apple shapes collect a lot of fat around the abdomen or belly. This puts the person at risk for certain diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. For those who collect more fat in the bottom half, adverse health consequences are often bone and joint related problems. (But not necessarily limited to.)
6) Lowering your body fat through exercise and weight loss improves physical functioning. In other words, the overweight person who exercises (but does not lose weight) will not reap the full benefits of physical exercise.
7) Lowering your body fat will give the body a "shredded" or "ripped" appearance. Professional body builders drop their body fat pre-contest to get the look you see in magazines and on television, but it is risky business--they know what they're doing usually, and they have spent a great deal of energy focusing on building muscle first. Also, the drastic reduction of body fat is for short periods only.
8) For women, lowering your body fat to an athletic or competitive body fat percentage results in loss of certain feminine appeal. The breasts consists mostly of adipose tissue--fat tissue. When the body fat drops, the bra size changes. It's normal. Some women choose breast augmentation, others choose to enjoy their fit body as is--healthy and natural.
Note: Irregular menstruation and lack of menstruation is thought to be related to low body fat, but studies have not proven a direct link. It may relate more directly to those with eating disorders and extreme weight loss.
9) Reduction in body fat is a better indicator of healthy weight loss than the scale. Many times weight loss as seen on the scale, especially rapid weight loss, is simply loss of water or in cases of calorie restriction, loss of muscle mass. In a healthy fitness and nutrition program designed to help you lose weight, you will more quickly note healthy change by monitoring body fat percentage.
Best body fat advice? Grow your muscles! Women, did you know that after turning 30 years old you lose 1% of your muscle tissue each year unless you're undergoing some sort of resistance training? Our muscles affect our metabolism. Keep them stimulated. Don't waste away. (And men, what you don't use, you can lose too.)
If you're on a mission to lower body fat sensibly, what are you waiting for? Contact me, and we can discuss the options. Whether it's a one-on-one personal training session, outdoor group training or an intense fat-burning kickboxing class, I will help you succeed.
Despite the cool new moves in the most current body building books and magazines, there are some things that don't change. I'll let you in on the basics of bodybuilding, month by month. If you want to transform your body into a calorie-burning, sculpted machine, pay attention.
This month's spotlight? ABS!
My big 3 for the ABS are: THE BICYCLE, HANGING LEG RAISES, & EXERCISE BALL CRUNCH And, if you don't have a power tower or captain's chair for the hanging leg raises, throw in the VERTICAL LEG CRUNCH.
*A note with exercise ball crunches, recent studies using electromyogram (EMG) to measure muscle activity found that these crunches are superior to the floor crunch only if the ball is nestled in the lower back area. It is actually inferior to the floor crunch when the ball is placed beneath the shoulders and upper back region.
That's it for this month... Stay fit 'n healthy! And remember, FREE INITIAL FITNESS CONSULTATIONS! Ask me about it.