Weight or Body-Composition For Peak Fitness

Healthy Person

As a Los Angeles Personal Trainer i can ascertain that although widely thought the way a person looks is not always the way they feel, or a true barometer of their health.

Weight and body composition are widely misunderstood, as one is not automatically an indication of the other. A person can look ‘slim’ but have an unhealthful amount of subcutaneous body-fat, and similarly a person can look ‘overweight’, and have less potentially unhealthful deposits of adipose body-fat. It’s not how much you weigh, but what you have that weighs!!

As people age they may stay the same body weight on the scale thinking that they are in ‘good shape’, but in reality they are losing lean muscle tissue and gaining fat, a condition known as Sarcopenia in older people.

This kind of change in your composition may indicate a decline in health, especially if you are piling up visceral fat around the abdominal organs.

People with Visceral fat have been shown to have an increased risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

In fact, a recent report disclosed that women who have two or more sugar-sweetened drinks per day are more likely to develop high triglyceride levels and visceral fat accumulation – even if they did not gain weight in general.

In fact the study concluded as follows

“It’s entirely possible for someone to be a ‘healthy’ weight, and have biochemical and physiological evidence of enhanced risk of disease.”

Can A Person Be ‘Slim’ and not be in peak health? Yes…

I’m sure that you’ve heard of the term ‘skinny-fat’. However, If you want to work off the basis of a generalization, it is true that overweight or very overweight people are more likely to be headed, or already in ill health.

This is as a direct result of the damage that over weight people have done to their body’s internal appetite messaging system, controlled by the hormones Leptin, Gherlin and Insulin, the body’s own ‘Natural Appetite Regulating Computer’. To put it in simple terms when we eat the ‘Modern’ diet of high glycemic carbohydrates we cause our body to produce an unhealthful amount of Insulin through the pancreas, and that causes a person’s body to become insulin and leptin resistant, which results in them craving more and more of those same carbohydrates, in the body’s desperate attempt to balance blood sugar levels. The result in extreme cases leads to obesity, with all the associated health risks, such as high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes to mention but a few.

But even if you are ‘slim’, keeping an eye on insulin, leptin and cholesterol levels will give you a good barometer of the health of your body’s metabolic mechanism, or if you are at an increased risk for chronic illness, notwithstanding your appearance.

The human body is at is premium when it carries the minimum amount of adipose fat. The more excess weight a person carries, the more likely they are to develop a wide variety of chronic diseases. This is exampled in most advanced industrial countries, where these diseases have skyrocketed over the past few decades.

Assessing Body Composition

The mainstream body composition guides (BMI) that are used by the medical profession, are based on a height to weight ratio, that is so generalized that it is misleading, as athletic people with considerable muscle tissue would be classified as overweight or obese, as they would be shown to be too heavy for their height, even though they may have 5% body-fat. The other factors that (BMIs) do not indicate are the areas that a person’s body-fat is distributed, as visceral fat, or adipose fat around the abdominal region which are proved to be linked to increased risks for cardiac disease.

The most effective gauge for most lay-folk to assess potential for ill health is their pant size. Research has linked abdominal fat and a larger waistline to higher risks of heart disease than a body mass index. A distended belly is also a sign of insulin sensitivity, and proven to predict pre-diabetic or Type 2 Diabetic conditions. Abdominal distention is usually a sign that a person eats a diet of foods with a high glycemic value, releasing high rates of insulin through the pancreas which in turn causes the distention.

Research shows the following:

For men, aged between 37 and 40 inches is classified as overweight and obese over 40-inches.
For women, the overweight and obese standards are from 31.5 to 34.6 inches, and 34.6 inches respectively.

There are a number of methods to measure body-fat composition, such as calipers that are placed at usually (3) different points, upper/middle torso and lower body, with an aggregate figure calculated. For more accuracy there is sub-aquatic or hydrostatic weighing. This method involves being fully submerged under water to measure body density, from which it is then possible to calculate lean muscle mass/ body fat ratio.The drawback with this method can be if a person does not fully expel all the air out of their lungs, an inaccurate reading may occur.

Things To Know About Your Weight

A related article by Prevent Disease listed 10 things you may not know about your weight, but really should. Here are some of them.

You can change your metabolism:
A study found that overweight people because of metabolic changes in their body have a greater challenge losing weight. A regular structured exercise program can reverse this condition.

Stress can make you fat:
Stress hormones (Cortisol) which become raised during periods of stress also increase fat storage.This is mainly because when our Cortisol levels are increased we often develop carbohydrate cravings, most usually the high glycemic variety.

Sleep more to promote weight loss:
Sleep deprivation alters the hormonal balance, causing a decrease in leptin (a hormone that helps you feel full) and increased ghrelin (a hormone that triggers hunger).

Sugar is addictive:
Research has determined that the foods that people crave trigger the same parts of the brain that are activated in people with other addictions.

Antioxidants are also anti-fat:
Free radicals damage the cells that tell you that you are full. You can limit them by eating a wide variety of vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, such as dandelion, kale, collard greens to mention but a few. I also recommend a supplement SOD3 (Superoxide Dismutase) which aids in reducing free radicals in the body, is an antioxidant, and effective in reducing joint and tendon pain.

If You Had To Make A Choice Between Diet or Exercise?

The answer would be diet, as it actually has a much larger impact on the maintenance of lean body mass and that of general good health. Although nutrition accounts for about 70% of health in a medical context, it is not possible to overlook a regular exercise routine for optimum health and fitness. Many people hold the misconception that if they train hard they can eat anything and still be ‘super’ fit,… wrong, very few can unless they are genetically gifted athletes, and most of us are not Usain Bolt or Aaron Brooks. Balanced nutrition and exercise are the key to optimizing your health and wellness.

Cut out sugars
If you want to lose weigh it is imperative to reduce, or quite simply cut out fruit (fructose) and high glycemic carbohydrates such as white flour products, potatoes, pasta, cookies, candy, muffins and dairy products from your daily diet. Fructose and high glycemic carbohydrate intake leads to:

The scrambling of your body’s internal appetite regulating mechanism through unbalancing Leptin ( the satiety hormone), Gherlin (the hunger hormone). This creates an Insulin chaos for your body, with the pancreas working twice as hard to deal with the increased insulin. This ‘hormonal imbalance is what causes compulsive overeating, that leads to weight gain,and in extreme cases obesity.

  • High blood pressure.
  • High levels of triglycerides and LDL levels.
  • Various chronic diseases, such as cardiac problems, liver disease, and forms of cancer, to mention but a few.

Sugar limit parameters
Try and limit the intake of fructose to about 15 to 20 grams per day. If you go over this level on a regular basis you will increase your Cortisol levels which in turn will bring down your Serotonin, which can turn to carbohydrate cravings in an attempt for the body to balance it’s blood sugar (energy) levels. When your Serotonin levels drop, so does your energy, causing you to crave carbohydrate to balance this , and what’s worse high glycemic carbohydrates. This is a vicious cycle that can lead to considerable weight gain.

This causes biochemical genes that accumulate fat. This is where we need to make a conscious effort to avoid eating the convenient fast foods that are available at every corner in our fast paced life’s. This is not healthy as in our current environment where we have access to fast food 24 hours a day there is a widespread tendency to overeat.

It is imperative for people with Type 2 diabetes, cardiac disease, or with excess weight to make a real effort to keep all sugar consumption down below 15 grams. Don’t be under the common misunderstanding that you can eat liberal amounts of fruit, as fruit is fructose and that is sugar. So eat sparingly.

Fructose is turned into usable energy in the body (Glycogen) through the liver, as muscle does not have the sufficient enzymatic make-up to perform that function. However, once the liver Glycogen stores are full any excess glucose is converted to fatty acids which is then stored as adipose body fat. It is always better to utilize complex low glycemic carbohydrates to replenish energy stores, as they will store as muscle glycogen and as such are less likely to be as readily stored as fat by the body.

Increased uric acid in your blood can contribute to high blood pressure, increased insulin production and kidney disease.

Foods that are high in purines increase your uric acid levels which occur naturally in the body. It is good to reduce the consumption of certain foods, such as white rice and flour products as they increase your purine levels, and in place have oatmeal, brown rice and sweet potatoes as they contain higher fiber and do not raise your purine levels as much, hence will also keep your uric acid levels down. The benefit is that the lower your uric acid the less sensitive you are to fructose.

To further reduce uric acid levels make sure to drink 100 -150 oz of water per day.

Principles for optimum weight and health

Regardless of your current weight and health status, know that there are certain basic principles for optimal health and maintaining a healthy weight that will always act as a standard. The following guidelines are the foundation of a long and healthy life, and as a result will automatically help you to achieve your ideal weight, whatever that may be.

  • Eat a healthy diet that consists mainly of, all fresh foods, preferably organic and grown locally. Aim for at least a third of your food to be raw.
  • Drastically limit or eliminate sugar, especially fructose, and grains in the diet to optimize the stability of your insulin and leptin levels.
  • Drink plenty of clean water and aim for 100oz per day.
  • Manage your stress and control it and not let it control you.
  • Begin an exercise program with an expert Los Angeles Personal Trainer that includes a wide range of exercise modals including: High-intensity interval training, resistance training, core/functional exercises, and stretching.
  • Get on a comprehensive supplement program that will give you all you need to compliment a fitness lifestyle, and aid you to live and stay at your fullest genetic potential.
  • Limit your exposure to toxins
  • Eat healthy fats containing omega-3s, mostly found in certain fish and nuts.
  • Get enough sleep and rest

The key to optimum wellness and staying healthy for life and not just looking good for the pool, or other extrinsic reasons is to have a balanced approach of exercise to stay toned and maintain muscle mass, sound nutrition of eating what you need for your lifestyle, and a healthy, open mindset. The mind is the force that drives you, your choices and the quality of life that you ultimately will lead. We cannot do anything about yesterday but can change from today onwards. You only come around once so make a choice today that will allow you to live to the full today and therefore tomorrow.

If you are in the Los Angeles area and you would like a complimentary one-on-one assessment with Personal Trainer in L.A. Nicholas Barrett, please don't hesitate to get in touch! Personal trainer Los Angeles. Los Angeles personal trainer. Personal trainer marina del rey.

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