You obviously want to look your best. You would not be here if you did not. You must be here because you are looking for a helping hand in achieving that goal, right? Well that is our job after all. We are here to help you reach your fitness goals!
Everyone is different and that means that their goals are different too. Maybe you are trying to bulk up with building more muscle. Maybe you are trying to achieve your weight loss goals by shedding pounds.
Maybe you are out to achieve both of those. Regardless of what your goals are, you must be prepared to spend the time, put in the work, and make sure you are following the right program for your goals and your body type. If you do that, your goals can most definitely be achieved over time.
While other programs might make things complicated and even waste your time, we are going to go over the basics and give you tips on how to get started and how to reach the best composition for your body type!
But wait…What Exactly Does it Mean to Have the Healthiest Body Composition?
Well, to make things simple, your body composition is the amount of body fat to fat free mass. Keep in mind that your overall weight is not only the amount of fat on your body. It is considered fat free mass and refers to the weight of your muscles, water, bones and other tissues.
While many people are under the impression that having any trace of fat is a bad thing, that is not necessarily true. You need fat on your body to help protect your organs, assist in regulating your hormones and to provide energy.
However, the amount of fat stored on your body does make a difference.
What Are the Risks of Having Too Much or Too Little Body Fat?
If you have too much body fat, you are opening the door to many different problems. Too much body fat can lead to a number of health problems, including heart diseases, complications with pregnancy, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breathing problems. Along with that, having too much body fat can also put you at a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and even certain forms of cancer.
Being overweight can also lead to joint pain and muscle aches, due to the added pressure to your joints and muscles. Walking may become difficult. Walking up stairs, getting out of bed, and other simple tasks may also become too much for you to be able to do without pain.
On the flip side, having too little body fat can also be detrimental to your health. Having too little body fat can take a toll on your cardiovascular system. This means that your heart may not work properly. Having too little body fat can also lead to you feeling more tired due to lacking the fat necessary for proper energy levels.
Without having fat reserves, your body will not be able to turn fat into energy. This means that you wont be able to keep up like you did when you had the right amount of fat on your body.
Having too little body fat can also lead to you feeling cold, having dry skin, having brittle bones and loss of muscle tissue. But that is not it. Having too little body fat can also lead to you having a slower heart rate, cause damage to your nervous system, and cause your organs to shrink in size.
In short, having too much body fat or having too little body fat are both equally harmful to your overall health. That is why it is crucial to make sure that no matter what your fitness goals are, you keep in mind the ideal amount of body fat for your gender, age, and body type.
But What Is The Right Amount of Body Fat?
The ideal amount of body fat depends on several variables. First off, men and woman need different amounts of fat. The same goes for your age group. For an adult man, the ideal amount of body fat is between 15 and 20 percent. For an adult woman, the ideal amount of body fat is between 20 and 25 percent.
While having a little more or a little less than those amounts is not necessarily an issue, if you are an adult male, having over 25 percent and if you are an adult woman, having above 32 percent is when it becomes an issue. Having above the suggested amount can lead to several health risks that we covered earlier.
On the opposite side of that, it is not good for adult males to go any lower than 3 percent body fat and it is not good for woman to go any lower than 13 percent body fat. While it is up to you to go between those numbers, going too high or too low can definitely take a toll on your health and lead to a lot of health problems along the way.
There Are Several Methods To Help You Measure The Amount of Fat On Your Body
There are several ways to measure the amount of fat on your body. Some are easy that you can do yourself, others are a little more difficult and require assistance.
- Skinfold Caliper – This method is quite commonly used. It requires you to pinch your skin with two fingers at specific points on your body. When doing so, the right side is generally preferred for this method. You should pinch your mid-thigh, biceps, chest and stomach. After that, you would use the body fat caliper to measure how thick the skin folds are.
- Bioelectric Impedance Analysis – This method is more commonly known as BIA. This method uses weak electric currents sent through the body and measures the opposition of the current to measure the amount of fat on your body.
- Hydrostatic Weighing – This method requires you to be lowered into a pool of water and set onto a specific scale. You then have to exhale completely, go under the water, and then the scale will take your weight while you are under water and compare it to what you weigh on land. It then does a few calculations and your body fat percentage is calculated.
- Body Composition Scales – You can purchase these in countless stores around you. While it works in the same way that bioelectric impedance analysis does, many believe that it is not nearly as accurate.
- DEXA Scan – While the DEXA scan is more commonly used to measure bone density, it can also be used to measure how much fat is on your body. It does so by sending x-rays through your body then measuring the different amounts of energy that is sent throughout your body. Many believe that this is the most reliable way to measure exactly how much fat is on your body.
Now that you know how to measure the amount of fat on your body, know the right amounts for your gender, and know the risks of having too much or too little body fat, we can move onto just how exactly you can achieve your fitness goals.
Measure The Amount of Fat On Your Body
Before anything else, you should measure the amount of fat on your body. Write it down and put your starting date next to it. This is your basis, your beginning, your start point. Keeping track of the amount of fat on your body for the next few weeks is very important because it will tell you how much your body is changing and how quickly you are losing body fat. Not only can this be very motivating, it can prevent you from losing too much body fat and can help you feel more confident than stepping on a scale alone will.
Remember That Muscle Does Not Weigh More Than Fat Does
What this really means is that a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle. A pound is a pound no matter what it is. However, muscle is far denser than fat, which makes muscle weigh more than fat overall. The fibers in muscle is very tightly twisted together, which means it takes up far less space than fat does. Fat, on the other hand, is made of large, fluffy cells. It is lighter and far less dense.
Why is this important to remember? If you step on a scale and wonder why your weight has not gone down, or worse, you have seemed to gain weight, before you panic and feel like a failure, go stand in front of the mirror. Are you leaner? Are you thinner, but more muscular? Well there is your answer. If you notice the pudge shedding away, but your number on the scale has not gone down, odds are you are building and gaining more muscle and burning off more fat than you think.
Set Your Goals – Remember To Be Realistic
This step is very important to your ability to achieve your fitness goals. By setting goals, you are able to keep track of your progress easier. Write down what your goals are. Maybe you want to tone your belly and drop the excess baby weight. Maybe you want to lose the beer gut and bulk up your muscle mass. No matter what your goals are, you want them to be realistic.
If you want to succeed, you may want to consider starting with smaller, easier to achieve goals. For example, make it your goal to lose five pounds of fat in a month. That is a goal that is very easily achieved. If you set a goal such as losing 50 pounds in a month, you are setting yourself up for failure. Losing 50 pounds in a month is not healthy, nor is it really possible.
Do not set yourself up to fail. Remember, getting fit takes time, patience and determination. You can do this!
Add Branched-Chain Amino Acids In The Middle of Your Workout
Since we already know that it is important to add BCAAs prior to and following a work out, adding them into the middle of your workout may be the right step to help you achieve your goals. Since BCAAs work better than protein alone, they can help to give you a boost of energy and help to improve your overall performance. This means you will be able to go harder for a longer period of time and that means you can get more of the benefits out of your workout.
Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals Before Your Muscle Goals
Losing the amount of weight you wish to lose first, before you try to gain muscle mass is your best option. Considering you will actually gain muscle along the way if you are exercising properly and eating right. It helps to work on one goal at a time, this way you do not become overwhelmed and you are able to focus your time on achieving one goal at a time.
If you cut out the junk food and pick up healthy eating habits, do strength training and cardio, odds are you will not only shed the weight you were looking to lose, but gain muscles along the way. That is why it is ideal to lose the weight first. The muscle gain will come in good time.
Add High Intensity Interval Training Into Your Routine
High intensity interval training is one of the best ways to change the overall composition of your body. If you do high intensity interval training at least three times a week, you are going to see huge changes in just a few weeks times.
This workout routine is best for burning fat while gaining and maintaining lean muscles. Even better, this routine lasts only about 20 minutes. Now, naturally, it is an intense, painful workout that will make you want to give up, but if you stick with it, the results are totally worth it.
Because it keeps your heart rate steady, you are able to build muscles. It is the right intensity to use up all your carbohydrates without going into your protein stores, which would lead to muscle waste.
What makes high intensity interval training even more beneficial is that due to the amount of oxygen consumed during the workout, it takes your body about a whole day to go back to its normal state, and that means that all the energy your body uses when it is getting back into its resting state is used to burn fat. So in theory, you will be burning fat while doing the routine, and you will continue to burn fat for a day or so afterwards! Pretty cool, huh?
Be Ready To Change Your Eating Habits
If you are like many people, eating the same thing every day gets rather boring pretty quickly. There are plenty of ways you can get the nutrients you are currently consuming, from different foods.
One way to do this is to switch up your macro intake. If you are trying to gain muscle, eat more protein, more carbohydrates and fewer fats. If you are looking to lose weight, you should consume more protein, less carbohydrates, and very little fat.
When you change things up a little bit, you may be surprised at how big the pay off is. As an added benefit, when you add new goods into your diet, you are adding new good bacteria into your gut. Which is great for your digestive and overall health!
Change Your Routine
Are you tired of doing the same routine day in and day out? Maybe it is time to change things up! Your body will become used to the same routine week after week and eventually, that will not only slow down your progress, but it can even lead to you hitting a plateau. To prevent this from happening, change your routine up every now and then.
There are so many great ways you can do this too. Add a new, difficult exercise. Change how fast or how slowly you do each rep. Explore more and more exercise options and then, enjoy the combinations you can come up with.
Not only will this make each work out more beneficial, but it will also give you a good boost of motivation. This is especially true if routine bores you!
Remember, the goal is to challenge yourself. That is how you are going to achieve the body of your dreams!
Make Your Workout More Intense
Regardless of what method you choose to use to exercise, make sure you make it intense. It is so important to remember this one. You know the saying “go hard or go home”? Well it definitely applies here. If you push yourself and have an intense workout, you are definitely going to see the changes you are looking for.
You will be getting more benefits when your muscles burn than you will when they do not. Keep that in mind the next time you want to stop running as soon as your muscles ache. Enjoy the burn, it means you are getting closer to your goals!
Remember, Patience Is Key
This one is probably the most important tip we can give you. Changing the composition of your body is not easy and it definitely will not happen overnight. Considering it takes time to gain weight, it definitely is going to take time to lose it.
As long as you keep at it, stay determined, eat right and work hard, you will see results. Small milestones are huge accomplishments. Keep at it and do not give up.
Keep in mind that small changes make all the difference. You can do this.
Body Composition Conclusion
There are many ways you can achieve the fitness goals you have set. By eating right, exercising, keeping up with intense workouts, making small changes, and staying motivated and patient are all great places to start.
While it will not happen overnight, you will reach your goals. Stay calm, work hard, and celebrate the little things. Before you know it, you will have the body you have dreamed of. All you have to do is put in the hard work and dedication that comes along with that body.
Bear in mind that too little body fat is just as dangerous as too much. And steer clear of crash diets and insane workouts. And before starting any weight loss regime, be sure to consult your primary care physician or dietician as they will be able to point you in the right direction for your personal needs.
Good luck, and remember, you can do this!