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Why improving body composition should be your goal and not weight loss

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Justin Moran

Having worked as a personal trainer for more than 25 years, I have seen and heard it all when it comes to people wanting to lose weight, improve their body shape, look good on their wedding day and even the need to lose weight to save a marriage.

No matter what the reason, there is a distinct lack of education when it comes to weight loss. Some think it is simply cutting out carbs, others focus on quick fix diets; sit-ups will make your abdominal fat disappear … the list goes on.

Now don’t get me wrong, as I have little idea about algebra, calculus and global warming but the area of health, fitness, nutrition and wellness are my bread and butter! In fact, I could talk about it until the cows come home. But it is a constant source of frustration to see people led up a garden path from “social media influencers” and a myriad of misinformation, so I am here to try and lead you to a better understanding and focus if weight or fat loss are your goal.

Now first I will take you to the point about weight and scales. You could drink a litre of water and you will then weigh more on the scales. Equally, you could empty your bowels and lose weight on the scales. In any instance did you put on or lose body fat in the process?

No! You see muscle and fat are two completely different tissues. Read that line again.

Muscle through lack of use does not then turn into fat. If exercising or eating well, fat cannot turn into muscle. They are two separate entities and as such you should have two focus areas when wanting to lose “weight”. Instead aim to reduce fat and gain muscle.

How do we do this? To improve body composition, we will result in a better body shape and weight may reduce. But more importantly, you can have a positive body composition change and increase your metabolism in the process!

So, you may have heard of the term “calorie deficit”? If you haven’t, it is when we use or burn more calories than we eat or consume. Now to achieve calorie deficit we can do this by aerobic/anaerobic exercise (lower intensity for longer time or higher intensity for shorter time), resistance training and by reducing the number of calories that we consume.

Combine these three things are in turn you will improve your body composition. As you do more and more exercise as a whole, you will need to increase your protein intake.

Now rather than focus on any fad diet, please just focus on plentiful fruits and vegetables matched with healthy protein sources and view the process as a marathon rather than a sprint. Create good daily habits that will lead to positive behaviour change and then your results will be long-lasting, sustainable and will be with you for years to come.

Weight loss as the focus and if combined with daily scale use can set up negative feelings which alter your mindset and affect all that I have outlined above. For example, we use OMRON body composition scales with our clients and we measure in weekly. Sure, it tells you weight but more importantly it gives a body fat and a muscle percentage and it then gives a sharper focus and if we focus on these, the weight will look after itself!

Remember that muscle burns more calories on a daily basis (during and for hours after a resistance training workout) and fat stores require very little energy to fuel. Add some resistance exercises daily and it is a little like adding a few dollars every day to your bank account and provides compounding interest!

Forget about weight and shift your focus and you will be the one that feels better about yourself and the results will look after themselves!

For more information, exercise guidance or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me by heading to – justintimept.com

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