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Better Body Composition Tips

To go into more detail on the original post on Facebook, what is perceived as optimum training, nutrition and supplements?

All goals are relative and individuals starting level of fitness, bio mechanical structure and body composition all differ dramatically. The upcoming mentioned basics are what generally suit clients when starting a body composition goal. A lot of clients sign up with the intention to lose weight only to fall short of realising what they actually want. Client perception of themselves more often than not involves believing they have too many “jiggly bits” or that a item of clothing doesn’t fit like it used to. When in further thought this often means it is not a weight loss goal it is a fat loss goal. The two are vastly different and really a weight loss goal is far more suited to overweight individuals that need to lose weight due to health reasons. Losing fat for aesthetic reasons is for improving one’s self esteem. Therefore for the latter the following applies:

Resistance training 3x a week – resistance training generates greater fat loss than cardio. A common mistake is that clients think cardio is king which is wrong, calories burnt in a session doing cardio are all well and good but the greater post EPOC you get from resistance training is far superior. By having your metabolic rate increased through resistance training you are then burning more calories even when seated in comparison to sitting if you just performed cardio. It is important to ensure you are performing a well structured programme and enough intensity to get the maximum benefit. Many factors apply here some to name a few bio mechanics and ability to perform certain exercises, load, tempo and TUT some of which has been mentioned on our Facebook before.

Correct nutrition – this is such a broad term but this is why no “diet” will ever be “the one”. Without getting to know the individuals’ habits, likes and the benefits a face to face consultation brings to see where fat is being deposited from a general looking over you cannot get a generic one size fits all diet. Everyone processes their macronutrients differently and often don’t know the difference between a good fat and a bad fat. As a society we have been bombarded with low fat or low carb diets in the idea that this is healthy and the best way for weight loss. Indeed it can lead to some loss but it isn’t an effective long term solution. Causing a deficit through under eating forces the body to go into survival mode, in this state you are likely losing muscle (which from above we know muscle is far more important and metabolically more active) and actually retaining the fat you are so desperate to be rid of. Appropriate nutrition relies on different ratios, eliminating nutritionally invaluable foods and getting your timings of the very best nutrients. Again the expertise of someone that knows is needed or a lot of research done yourself if you can be bothered. The biggest MUST here is to listen to your trainer and follow their recommendations to a tee if you want speedy results as this is where majority of clients fall down.

Supplements – if the training is right, the nutrition is right think of supplements as your insurance policies and extra push when your car is stuck in the snow.

Multivitamins – Something that isn’t a replacement for a bad diet but will help fill in the gaps. Deficiencies in vitamins can cause mood swings, depression, lethargy and exhaustion. There is evidence that they can help you recover from a hard workout too. Normally taken according to the label but it is said to take it before a meal with water to aid absorption of the micronutrients.

Fish oils – Having omega 3 fats in your diet is important for health. Supplementation helps you maintain a good ratio of omega 3 and 6. Modern humans consume far too much omega 6 more specifically studies have shown that supplementation results in decreased body fat and reduced inflammation. It has also been linked to an increase in serotonin levels, greater focus in training, lower stress and resistance to illness including Crohn’s disease and some cancers. Sufficient levels of EPA (2g) and DHA (1.5g) from research this is the ideal amount. If you want to read a detailed blog analysing the research the following is a great read and contributes to my belief in the levels for ideal consumption:

http://www.leangains.com/2011/05/omega-3-fatty-acids-for-muscle-growth.html

Zinc – is necessary for your health and immune system. Our bodies are unable to store it hence the reason to take it. Best taken with a form of animal protein to promote absorption and avoid taking with coffee or foods containing phytates such as whole grains. You should take no more than 40mg and recommended for males is 11mg. An essential mineral that is required for the function 100 different enzymes, including protein synthesis which is important for that leaner less fat carried look. It helps to maintain normal immune function; it also plays a critical role in the production of various hormones in the body. A deficiency in zinc can cause a decline in testosterone levels.

Magnesium – Every organ needs magnesium, especially heart, muscles and kidneys. Skimping on this vital mineral can contribute towards anxiety, sleep problems and irritability. It also helps to maintain a normal heart rhythm, as well as aiding the body’s energy production. Without stating the obvious, energy levels, muscles and sleep are all key ingredients for effective fat reduction and body composition changes. An essential mineral required as a cofactor for hundreds of enzymes within the body. Magnesium plays a key role in bone and muscle health, maintaining insulin sensitivity and nerve impulse transmission. Insulin being the master hormone and being the factor for your body storing fat means that magnesium’s role is important for us to lose fat.

Protein shakes – a simple addition to your workout regime but easily thought is the be all and end all. Many an avid gym goer can buy a shed load of supplements including whey thinking it will build the muscle and help burn fat. Before even recommending to a client the real start point is ensuring this is an extra not a replacement. At the end of the day it is a supplement but often mistaken as better nutrition and substituted in place of whole foods. It is essential you replace muscle glycogen and stimulate repair post workout. Within 20 minutes of an appropriate intensity resistance training is a real results booster and the ratio of carbohydrates and protein is vital to stimulate an insulin surge. One of the few times you want an insulin spike by the way.

References – mostly self written with references and adapted from Men’s Fitness and linked blogs within this post.