Body Composition (Fat vs Muscle)
As athletes we are constantly evaluating our body composition. Of all the physical attributes that can be modified, body composition is of paramount importance to most athletes regardless of the sport they participate in or their gender.
Bodybuilders, Fitness and Figure athlete’s body composition is extremely important and usually there is a constant effort it attempting to balance one of two goals:
- Increase lean tissue (muscle)
- Decrease fat mass
A desire to improve body composition may be due to a wish to improve athletic performance; however, many athletes and fitness enthusiasts seek to improve body composition for aesthetic reasons alone. In addition, to performance and cosmetic issues, excessive body fat, particularly visceral (abdominal) fat can lead to health issues such as heart disease, insulin resistance, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, sleep apnea, certain cancers and osteoarthritis (World Health Organization 2000.
Tips to Decrease Body Fat:
- If possible, attempt to reduce body fat in the off-season or pre-season not just contest season
- Keep a record of all food and drink intake (record the amount of type of food consumed and feelings, times, and placesassociated with food intake.
- The easiest way to decrease body fat is to alter your energy balance equation (create a negative energy balance).
- For most athletes, reduce calories by approximately 500 calories per day
- Reduce caloric intake by reducing the amount of calories you derived from fat in your diet. Maintain or slightly increase protein intake (protein recommendations are 1.5 to 2.0 g/kg of body weight per day when following a hypocaloric diet.
- Include a thermogenic supplement in your diet such as Dynamis IGNITION-xT
- Assess body composition frequently to confirm that weight loss is coming from stored body fat and not lean muscle mass.
- Make weight loss very gradual to ensure maximum fat loss and the preservation of lean tissue. For most athletes, a loss of one pound per week is best.
Tips to Increase Lean Body Mass:
- Consume a hypercaloric diet, approximately 10% to 15% above what is needed to maintain existing body weight
- Spread out your daily caloric intake over five or six meals.
- Engage in a periodized resistance training program
- Consume around 40% to 50% complex carbohydrates, around 30% protein and around 20% fat. For additional kcals, consume high protein, high fat foods.
- Consume adequate protein everyday day (approximately 1.5 – 2.0 g/kg per day
- Regularly consume whey isolate protein, various amino acids (such as branched chain amino acids), casein protein, and carbohydrates particularly timed around your workouts (ie pre, during and post workout meals)
- Consider supplementing with creatine – Dynamis FUEL-XRM is an excellent pre-workout supplement which includes two types of Creatine (Creatine-AKG, and Creatine-Taurinate).