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Where Are Fit Bodies Made?

By: Damion Hackett

You are at home watching TV when you see the infomercial that says, "Just 10 mins per day and you too will look like this" as the camera shows the athletic individual with a ripped six pack.  You like the sound of that right?  After all, you were probably sitting on the couch being a couch potato anyway.  Let's be honest, who would not want the body of the individual on the infomercial you watched?  However, the workout is not the sole solution to your problem.  The solution is what you put in your mouth .  More importantly, what you cook in your kitchen will take you further to your goal versus working out 10 mins, 60 mins, or 2 hours. Yeah! It is that easy!   

The saying goes “Fit bodies are made in the kitchen, not in the gym”. Is that true? Whatever goals you have chosen for yourself, whether it is trying to build mass or lose weight, there are some nutritional things that you want to keep in mind.

Let’s Start With The Basics!

Your main macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fats. Each one of these carries calories. Protein is 4 calories per gram. Carbohydrates are also 4 calories per gram. Fats are a little different and carry more weight so they’re 9 calories per gram. Alcohol is not a macronutrient but I am going to include it because most people like the occasional adult beverage. What usually happens is that they don’t log or keep track of their alcohol consumption. Alcohol is 7 calories per gram and that can add up quickly during a night out on the town.

Reducing Calories Because A Calorie is A Calorie....Or is it?

Here are some things to take into consideration. It takes 3,500 calories to lose a pound and that has always been the rule of thumb. However, this 3,500 calories figure goes back to research which assumed that all the weight lost would be adipose tissue (fat) and that is almost impossible to do. You also have to remember that you will lose some lean muscle mass too. The amount of lean body mass lost is based on initial body fat level and size of the calorie deficit. Lean people tend to lose more lean body mass and retain more fat. Fat people tend to lose more body fat and retain more lean tissue revealing why obese people can tolerate aggressive low calorie diets better than lean people. Very aggressive low calorie diets tend to erode lean body mass to a greater degree than more conservative diets. A few things to keep in mind when reducing your calories:

1) Do not reduce your calories by cutting them "cold turkey"

2) Use moderation when reducing calories per week, i.e., 5% or 250 calories 

3) Have a starting point so you know how much and how often to reduce calories

4) Use the scale as a guide not as the answer

5) Reduction of more than 1-2 lbs of weight loss means you are compromising lean body mass aka muscle

Whether the weight loss is lean or fat gives you the real answer of what is the required energy deficit per unit of weight loss. The metabolizable energy in fat is different than the metabolizable energy in muscle tissue. A pound of muscle is not 3,500 calories. A pound of muscle yields about 600 calories. If you lose lean body mass, then you lose more weight than if you lose fat. If you have a high initial body fat percentage, then you are going to lose more fat relative to lean muscle, so you may need a larger deficit to lose the same amount of weight as compared to a lean person. Progressive resistance training and/or high protein diets can modify the proportion of weight lost from body fat versus lean tissue which is why weight training and sufficient protein while on calorie restricted diets are absolute musts. Proper supplementation can also help with your weight loss goal as well.

Putting all this information to use can help people with their weight loss or muscle gain. One thing to remember is that you will put on fat along with your muscle. It is very hard to just put on strictly muscle. In order to put on muscle you need to be in a caloric surplus but keep it a small surplus or you could really pack on the fat.

Additional Rules To Follow

To really get all the benefits and create the fit body you want you have to eat more meat! The more protein your body stores is a process called protein synthesis which helps your muscles grow. Your body is constantly draining its protein reserves for other uses like hormone production. The result is less protein available for muscle building. To counteract that, you need to build and store new proteins faster than your body breaks down old proteins. I recommend setting a goal for about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, which is roughly the maximum amount your body can use in a day. For example, a 160-pound man should consume 160 grams of protein a day. Split the rest of your daily calories equally between carbohydrates and fats.  Splitting your caloric intake will help you stay full all day which will lead to less binge eating.  You have to eat plenty to be able to build muscle.  So what muscles you work are important.  

Work Your Biggest Muscles! If you're a beginner, just about any workout will be intense enough to increase protein synthesis. However, if you've been lifting for a while, you'll build the most muscle if you focus on the large muscle groups, like chest, back and legs. Add squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, bent-over rows, bench presses, dips, and military presses to your workout. Do 2 or 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, with about 60 seconds rest between sets.

If you’re looking to add muscle, lose fat, or gain strength; diet and exercise play very important roles. Eating the right foods in the right proportion is just as important as doing the right exercises. The saying “Fit bodies are made in the kitchen, not in the gym” is not a myth.  Now that the myth is laid to rest, it is time for you to go and make it happen!



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