Muscle vs. Fat?

Muscle is a metabolically active tissue. It requires high energy requirements in order to sustain itself. Here is what to focus on… The more muscle you have the more calories your body burns, even when you’re just sitting around. That’s one reason why a fit, active person is able to eat considerably more food than the dieter who is unwittingly destroying muscle tissue.  What a great problem to have!  A great example would be a Professional Body Builder.  Do they look fat? NO! Are they eating massive amounts of food? YES! Just look at their muscle mass.

Crash Dieting:

If you are losing weight by crash dieting and not exercising, you are therefore sacrificing muscle tissue.  You will not get the body transformation results you desire by crash dieting. You will temporarily lose weight and become fatter. Not good…Not healthy…and Not smart.

Extreme Low Calorie Diets:

  • Is this healthy? Does the weight stay off? Is it a good idea? NO!
  • Is your body in starvation mode? Are you slowing down your metabolism? YES!

Let’s talk about these super low-calorie diets.  We all know someone that has lost 10 plus pounds following one… How exciting and healthy that must be!!! (Please tell me you can pick up on my sarcasm).  But do the pounds stay off? NO!  Here is why…
So when you follow a severely low calorie diet that causes your weight to drop 10 pounds in 7 days, it’s physically impossible for all of that to be fat. What you’re really losing is water, glycogen, and muscle.  So the numbers on the scale are going down for that period of time but they certainly will not stay down once you get back into eating the right amount of quality foods, which will have to happen eventually. So, if you are losing weight by crash dieting and not exercising and therefore destroying muscle tissue, you are making it so much harder than it has to be and you still will not get the results you are after.

Now some fat is necessary for overall health–we want some healthy fat. Why? It helps protect internal organs, provides energy, regulates hormones, and the right amount gives a general appearance of health. You do NOT want a fat-free, muscle-free body, it is not cute.  What is cute and hot is a lean and healthy body with the right amount of body fat and muscle.
For example, consider a 114-pound woman who is 24% fat (27 pounds fat weight, 87 pounds lean weight). If she loses 4 pounds of fat and adds 4 pounds of muscle she will still weigh 114 pounds but will only be 20 % fat (23 pounds fat weight, 91 pounds lean weight). Although her body weight remains the same, she has less fat and more muscle for a leaner, firmer, and fitter appearance.??Being a Personal Trainer, I’m fascinated by the human body and the technology today that enables us to “see inside” our bodies. Check out this image for a great visual. The body fat is cream colored. Note in the image on the left that there is excess fat around the heart and especially inside and around the abdomen. Wow, right. This is the Majority of AMERICA!??  ??You might not know that body fat includes essential fats, and these make up around five percent of total body weight for men, and up to 12 percent for women. This is the fat that helps protect internal organs, provides energy, and regulates hormones (that’s why women store more fat–those darn hormones!)
Nonessential fat is found mainly within fat cells and adipose tissue, below the skin and extra fat surrounding organs. Everyone is different when it comes to the amount stored in the body, and depends on factors such as age, genetics, gender, and diet. ??The biggest contributor to excess fat (no surprise here): consuming more food (calories) than what is burned through resting metabolism and exercise/activity. Body fat percentage is the percentage of total body weight that is comprised of essential and non-essential fat. Here are the average, healthy body fat percentages of men and woman:

HEALTHY BODY FAT % FOR MEN:

14-17%

HEALTHY BODY FAT % FOR WOMAN:

21-24%

Here are the top 7 tips to help you keep the muscle and burn the fat:

  1. Keep well hydrated (drink lots of water). Try for a half gallon a day.
  2. Find an eating plan that works for you.  Don’t skip meals, which can slow your metabolism.
  3. Eat complex carbs, ones high in fiber (about 50-60% of daily calories) unless you are extremely physically active, this will need to be adjusted to around 65% or more.
  4. Eat an adequate amount of lean protein to help build/keep muscle, about 15-30% of total daily calories. (This may also need to be slightly more depending on how active your muscles are.)
  5. Eat healthy fats, about 20-30% of your daily calories.
  6. Balance workouts. Cardio intervals for fat burning and high-intensity strength training for building muscle and keeping your metabolism revved up.
  7. BE HONEST TO YOURSELF AND HONOR YOUR BODY. AFTER ALL, YOU ONLY GET ONE!? ? ? FEED THE MUSCLE AND STARVE THE FAT!
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