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&how much is “too much fat”

One of the most annoying things people can say is “why are you exercising when you don’t have any weight to lose?” being healthy, feeling good and looking good don’t always go hand in hand.                                                                                                                                                                                       We see  thin people have heart attacks and “fat” people  run marathons so what is going on in our bodies that we need to know about and how do we know how much “fat” is too much and how do we measure it.

Well a visit to your doctor is always advisable when we are talking about our health, in the mean time there are a few things that a fitness instructor could do to measure your “body fat %” and overall fitness levels.                                                                                                                                                    As we are talking about “fat” in this article we will stick to the ways to measure this. An Electronic Scales can be set with your specific details, age height etc this can then tell from your weight how much is muscle, fat & bone. A Skinfold Calapers can also be used (this looks like a large plastic tweezers), it measures the physical body in 4 specific areas and a body fat percentage can be taken from this, a more high tech method would be “hydrostatic weighing” which is done in water under lab conditions.

Men should have no more than 25% body fat no lower than 7%

Women should have no more than 30% body fat no lower than 11%

This can vary slightly with age

What we learn from the results-“It’s all about balance”

If someone who looks physically thin yet turns out to have a high BF% this usually is a result of muscle wastage, as they’ve not been used the muscles(very little/no physical activity) become less dense and is generally of poor quality.                                                                                                                                                 The body requires fat as storage in order to protect vital organs and to use in times of food shortage (long periods without eating) or high volume of exertion. This person needs to increase their physical activity and insure they’ve a healthy balanced diet to feed their muscles as they become stronger, remember much of our organs are made up of muscle tissue, too little fat stored means the body will use these organs as a fuel source leading to very serious and life threatening health problems.

A person who may look overweight, ie. have a large stomach or rear,  can often be quite fit as exercising has helped there heart and lungs get stronger they’ve increased their fitness levels while still remaining on the upper level of body fat percentages. This is usually caused by the calorie intake V’s calories used, as people may attend classes/gym work very hard yet still have a diet not properly balanced, too much fat/sugar, therefore the body has a lot more stored than it can burn off leaving that surplus sitting on those hips/ tummy areas.

Recent studies have shown that having a larger waist circumference is more dangerous than carrying fat in other areas of the body as it puts undue pressure on the body’s vital organs and an increase in the possibility of heart disease.  A way to measure how “safe”yours is MEN-AROUND THE BELLY BUTTON NO MORE THAN 40inches.                                                                    WOMEN –AROUND THE BELLY BUTTON NO MORE THAN 35inches.

As for losing weight from a specific area by doing certain exercise, unfortunately our bodies don’t work like that and our general body shape-APPLE (small bum/legs wider shoulders bigger tummy) or PEAR (larger hips, bum and thighs) is from our genes (blame mom or dad). We can tone up the muscles but until we lose the weight (fat) showing the toned muscle beneath it can be difficult to see but persevere as the muscles get stronger ( they burn more calories) you will feel the difference in size(reduced inches) and posture.

When one loses weight or inches or puts weight on it is good to know whether we are gaining muscle, fat or even water weight. This is why when working with a good trainer he/she should not just look at your weight on the scales as a measure of progress but should analyse this with your overall body mass in mind. Gaining muscle takes a long time and a lot of effort more so for woman (as discussed in a previous article) so knowing it is actual fat you are losing or muscle you are gaining is vital in ensuring your overall body health.

As with all my hints/tips I am very happy to receive feedback either below on this page, on facebook “CARMEL O REGAN FITNESS” OR AT 086-8966102. Looking forward to hearing from you and be sure to let me know if there is a topic you’d like covered.

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