Considering most people these days are watching their waistline, fat often becomes a villain, a ‘bad’ thing that should be avoided at all times.
Fat however, is an essential element in creating optimal health & fitness. The more you understand how the body uses fat the better results you will get from your efforts.
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Scientific reasons why you need fat…
According scientific research gathered & reported by Bupa.co.uk, dietary fats are vital to providing your body the energy it needs to support cell growth. Fat is also important for helping to protect organs, keeping the body warm & helping the body to absorb nutrients & produce hormones.
For women fat is also an integral part of their reproductive system. Fat is necessary in order to have a healthy monthly cycle & in bearing children.
Subcutaneous & Visceral Fat…
Not all fat is created equal. According to scienceblog.com there is a scarcity of information about the differences between fat types:
This is the fat found just below the outermost layer of skin. This is the type of fat that you can grab on any part of your body including the mid-section. It is the protective wrap over the body, helping to protect the rest of the tissues below. Subcutaneous fat can be measured with body fat calipers which are used to assess an estimation of total body adiposity.
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Visceral fat is also known as ‘organ fat’ & is the more dangerous of the two types of fat. This fat develops inside the peritoneal cavity. In other words, the visceral fat is located between the organs & is what develops into ‘belly fat’.
Visceral fat has been linked to:
- Insulin Resistance
- Glucose Intolerance
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Elevated Triglyceride Levels
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Optimal Body Fat for Men & Women…
At the end of the day, there is a basic level of fat that the body needs to survive. These levels are different for men & women.
Below is one view on average body fat percentages for typical male & female body types:
In my practice I use these criteria as healthy functional ranges:
Men: Below 14%
Keeping yourself within these ranges ensures that you are not carrying around excess weight that is essentially holding you back & blocking your access to optimal health & fitness.
How Quick Can You Drop BodyFat…
Losing weight on the scales is all about creating a calorie deficit each day. Larger deficits lead to faster weight loss. However, if deficits are too large then you may begin to lose muscle mass rather than fat – Not Good.
Also, the leaner you get the more your body will try to conserve its smaller fat stores so the slower the fat loss will be.
Use the following as a general rule of thumb for rate of fat loss:
|Body Fat Level
||Rate of Fat Loss
|Men: <15% Women: <24%
||<0.5-1.5 lb per week, or; 0.25-0.75% of bodyweight per week.
|Men: 16-25% Women: 25-34%
||1-2 lb per week, or; 0.75-1.5% of bodyweight per week.
|Men: 26+% Women: 35+%
||1.5-3.5 lb per week, or; 1.0-1.5% of bodyweight per week.
Ultimately though, remember, instead of fixating on a rate of loss it is better to determine an optimal calorie deficit for your body. Factors to consider include gender, age, weight, height, activity level & end goal.
Importantly, I suggest you focus your efforts around bodyfat % rather than weight on the scales.
Reason being, that if I train you to increase your lean muscle mass & eat in a way that stimulates fat burn then you may actually show no change on the scale (remain the same weight) – however your body composition would have improved.
You’ve decreased body-fat & increased muscle – this is a healthy tipping point as the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn, not to mention how much better you will look in the mirror!
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Remember, you’re always at risk of gaining excess fat if you are not closely monitoring your diet & exercise routine.
To reduce your risk of excess fat, eat a healthy diet rich in green vegetables, organic humanly farmed meats & a sprinkle of fruits.
Also remember to exercise daily. Strength training is a great way to reach & remain in optimal shape, as mentioned above muscle increases calorie burn & thus helps to eliminate fat stores.
The Bottom Line:
If you want the absolute bear essential requirements, here they are. Follow these three guidelines & your bodyfat will not go wayward on you:
- Exercise Daily: Train with weights
- Eat a diet rich in green veg & quality protein plus eliminate sugars & refined processed foods
- Get to Bed early every night.
To Your Best Health,
ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant
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