By Ray Peleckas
What if I told you that in 8 weeks you could lose 5 lbs? Lame and disappointing, right?
What if I told you that in 8 weeks you could lose 15 lbs of fat and gain 10lbs of muscle? Exciting and encouraging, right?
Both scenarios represent a 5 lb loss on the scale. In scenario 1, we have no clue what that 5 lbs consists of and in scenario 2, we know what the weight consists of.
Well, that is exactly what happened to one of our female members. Before I get into that let me tell you a little back story....
I have been involved with fitness since I was 12 years old. As a matter of fact, that Christmas all I asked for was a weight bench and Santa brought it to me, btw :)
I began designing workout programs for people when I was a sophomore in high school. Throughout high school, college and the years after graduating, I was training people without even realizing it. Back then we called it working out together. When I was 28 I helped a good friend lose 50 lbs as he was very overweight. That experience inspired me to ditch the hard hat and hammer for sneakers and gym shorts. I became a certified personal trainer a few months later and began working in a big box gym and 80% of my clients were women.
Before training anyone we would have a consultation and my first question was always "what are you trying to accomplish?" What do you think the answer was for 99% of women? Yup, weight loss. Mostly all women wanted to lose "weight" regardless of their body type. What I didn't understand is why a women who was 120 lbs wants to lose "weight". So I started to do a bit more research about body composition and realized there is a huge difference between losing "weight" and losing fat. At that moment, I made the connection that what these women really need is to lose fat and gain muscle in order to change their body composition - in other worlds, tighten and tone.
So now I have a little ammunition of information in my chamber. From then on when a women said she wanted to lose "weight" I would always ask "would you rather lose weight or tighten and tone your body?" Obviously, their answer was the latter. During this time, I began taking measurements and tracking progress for my clients. I would use the 7 point skinfold test with calipers to measure body fat and lean body weight. Here is why that is important - fat and muscle weigh the same, 5 lbs of fat weighs the same as 5 lbs of muscle. They're both 5 lbs. The difference lies within their density. Muscle is more dense than fat meaning 5 lbs of muscle takes up less space than 5 lbs of fat.
Now that you know the difference between fat and muscle density let's talk about the scale. If we lose 5 lbs of fat and gain 5 lbs of muscle, what happens to the scale? You guessed it, nothing! We remove 5 lbs and we bring in 5 lbs. BUT, the 5 lbs that we bring in takes up less surface area then the 5 lbs we removed which is why the scale didn't move but your clothes may be fitting better and your body looks different.
Another reason we want to focus on losing fat and not weight is to make sure we are not losing muscle. The resting metabolic rate (RMR) is how many calories your body burns throughout the day just to live and this number is directly related to fat free mass or "muscle". Is it safe to say that you want your resting metabolic rate to be as high as possible? Good, I thought so! To increase RMR we need to increase muscle! If we decrease muscle then we are decreasing RMR which is not good!
Back to the Bod Pod - finally! :)
The Pod provides us with extremely accurate metrics like fat mass, muscle mass and resting metabolic rate (amongst other metrics). The bod pod is accurate to within 2% which is why it's trusted by professional sport teams, medical facilities and universities. In a nutshell, you sit inside an egg shaped capsule for 40 seconds and through air displacement technology this machine calculates the metrics. It's non invasive and super quick. In a matter of moments, we have gathered some very accurate baseline information to not only track true progress but to develop a nutritional plan of attack. Since we know your RMR, we know around how many calories you should be consuming each day. More importantly, we know what your lean body mass number is so we know what your minimum daily protein intake should be. To sustain or increase muscle the body needs 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass every day. Most women are falling well short of this number which is why RMR decreases and they remain "skinny fat".
Ladies - the first step in changing your composition is to know your composition. Step inside the bod pod and let us do the rest.