Achieving the desired body… A brief intro into body composition.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” Even though this concept of a clean diet is very applicable in achieving the desired ‘six-pack abs’, it is however, a little more complex than that.
Like anything worth achieving in life, getting a six-pack takes work. Doing 1000 crunches a day won’t help you see your abs any faster if you don’t make the right changes to your diet.
This reference to “spot reduction” is an awful myth that continues to plague the fitness industry solely due to the industry taking advantage of the lack of knowledge of the general public. Examples- fat wraps, waist trainers, topical gels/ointments, ETC. that spot reduce fat in the specified target areas. Sorry everyone, hate to break it to you…but, IT DOESN’T WORK. You can target your abs and core with certain exercises that help with the muscles in that area, but you also need to lose overall body fat to see the definition in those abdominal muscles-- and that requires a COMBINATION of diet and exercise.
Now before you start cooking food and training hard, take a second to analyze yourself and determine your body composition goals. If your goal is to solely lose fat and gain more definition, then you’re going to have to eat at a caloric deficit. If your goal is to increase lean body mass and lose fat, then your diet and exercise regimen will more than likely look much different.
In a 2015 review published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, researchers analyzed 66 clinical studies and came to the following conclusions:
- Exercise in combination withdiet led to the most significant changes in body composition.
- The combination of resistance training and dietwas more effective than endurance training or a combination of endurance and resistance training at altering body composition measures (reduction of body mass and fat mass).
When it’s all said and done, the best exercise/diet regimen is the one you can stick with and creates a physique you feel confident and comfortable with. This (unfortunately and truthfully) takes trial and error because we are all different in terms of genetics, predispositions to fat loss/gain, demands of daily life, overall standards, etc… but once you find the right approach for you, you can make it a lifelong habit and enjoy the body composition you deserve.
Our Top 3 Tips to helping you achieve your goal of improving body composition:
- Change your eating habits.
Just like your exercise routine, we can get tired of eating the same food over and over again each and every day. If you’re getting bored with the foods you’re eating, find something different. Herbs and spices can be added to foods to change the taste, if you’re tired of grilled chicken, try extra lean ground beef (93/7% or better). Don’t just stick to the boring chicken and rice for every meal. Eating a variety of foods is a great way to avoid getting bored and it’s also a great way of introducing new beneficial bacteria to your gut.
Big changes happen when you make small changes. Change up your macro content to see what diet strategy works best for you.
- Do HIIT Training
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) has been shown to help dramatically improve body composition. HIIT is a training technique in which you give all-out effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, rest periods. This type of training will allow you to really spike your heart rate and burn more fat in less time. HIIT will also allow you to burn more fat while preserving muscle. The reason HIIT works this way is because it allows for the depletion of carbs (muscle glycogen) without dipping into your protein stores and risking muscle waste.
Example HITT Workout: Walk and Sprint
30 second walk, followed by a 30 second max effort sprint. Repeat this 8-10 times. By rep 4 you should begin to feel like death, push through this period and you’ll be reaping the benefits later!
- Be Patient
Changing your body composition is no easy task and it takes time. You will be frustrated and feel like nothing is working, but stay with the process, make tweaks in your training and diet and you will get results.