What in the world is Skinny Fat? I first heard the term in 2006, at the time I didn't realize that it represented me and many other middle aged women. On the surface skinny fat is a person that looks skinny. They have maintained the same weight for 15 years or more while wearing the same size clothes. Although, they may look the same on the outside, the reality, is that their body composition has changed. This is what has happened inside their bodies over the years. Due to inactivity and aging, 8 lbs of muscle have been lost while gaining 8 lbs of body fat. How did that happen? As you lose muscle your metabolism is reduced, so, you're body know longer requires the same amount of calories to maintain normal body functions. The result is that you are now consuming extra calories which your body will efficiently store as fat for future use.
Gaining and losing equal amounts of fat and muscle leaves you with a false sense that your body hasn't changed. You may look good in those jeans, but lets be honest, your lean muscular legs have been replaced with cellulite and dimpled buttocks. That size 5 you've worn for years is just alittle snug now, but not too tight.
A sedentary skinny fat individual has the same health risks as an obese individual. The only way to reverse muscle loss and improve your health is with a well constructed exercise program. Your main goal should be to build muscle. Just remember, skinny doesn't mean healthy! Invest in yourself, hire a professional personal trainer to get you started in the right direction.
Did you know that water affects your ability to exercise more than any other nutrient? We can survive without food for 30 days but only 4 to 10 days without water. Why? Because every cellular function in our body depends on water. It is important to consume adequate fluids before, during, and after exercise for optimal resistance training and aerobic endurance exercise. The Food and Nutrition Board suggest that women consume 2.7L of fluids a day, respectively. But if your exercise intensity is high, plus you sweat excessively you will need to consume more.
A good habit to start is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. The weight difference is water loss. Each pound lost represents 1 pint of fluid.
*Before exercise drink 16 fluid ounces 2 hours before.
*During exercise drink 6 to 8 fluid ounces every 15 minutes.
*After exercise drink 1 pint for every pound lost.
To ensure that I get enough water daily I fill a 2L pitcher with water each morning. I drink 1 to 2 cups with every meal and 1 cup between meals. My goal is to have the pitcher empty before 8pm. When eating out I always order water! Not only does it reduce my calories it also adds to my daily 2L intake.
Exercising at Home
When working out at home it's very important to set a time in the day that is for your workout. When I used to workout at the gym, I faithfully woke up every morning and got there by 6am. Now that I've given up my gym membership and working out at home I have to avoid distractions like getting on the computer, talking on the phone...to my mother, going shopping, cleaning the house, or just sitting back to watch the news while I eat breakfast.
Treat your at home workout as though you were spending money for a gym membership. Be faithful to the time you've set aside to exercise at home and don't let anyone or thing distract you! Commitment to time management is key to your success!
GymBoss Interval Timer
Gymboss is the only timer you will ever need while doing your workouts. I always use one during my weightlifting and interval training. The gymboss allows me to control my intervals for HIIT and the rest periods between weightlifting sets. The greatest thing about this device is that I don't have to look at a clock while exercising. I can set the timer to beep, vibrate, or both when my session is over. I also like that I can set my own interval times. I purchased it online for $26 from the manufacturer. I received great customer service!
Before & After
America is obsessed with how to get rid of belly fat. The truth is, you can't spot reduce fat stores, unless you get liposuction. Women have 9 sites of fat storage on their body! But we only seem to notice the belly. There are no pills, foods, or exercises that will target one specific area of fat storage. While we are resting and performing endurance aerobic exercise, our muscles use fat for fuel. We can't control where the fat is released. The key to increased overall fat burning is to build muscle, eat a healthy diet, and exercise! I know that's not what you want to read, but that is the only safe way to rid your body of excess body fat.
Body Weight Exercises
Believe it or not, you don't need to start a workout program with weights. A well designed exercise program that incorporates plyometrics and body weight exercises, also known as calisthenics, is an inexpensive start up for beginners. The best thing about it is that you don't need to purchase equipment. There are plenty of upper body and abdominal exercise that we are all aware of. But, many of us have know clue of exercises for our legs. Walking doesn't build muscle, for that you've got to add resistance that your legs aren't used to supporting everyday. I've found that doing single leg exercises with your body weight is great. I find these more challenging than push ups!
The nice thing about this form of exercise (calisthenics) is that you are lifting your own weight. For example I weigh 115 lbs, now that's a lot of weight for me to be squating on one leg! But it's a challenge to get to a point in my training when I can do the exercise effortlessly.
If your interested in using your own body weight for exercise check out this web site it will set you in the right direction.
No Pain, No Gain...Not
We've all heard this motto, no pain, no gain! If your trainer ever tells you that while you are in pain, fire them! A true professional will not push you to the point of injury. The only thing you should feel while exercising is muscle fatigue! Afterwards you will feel muscle soreness, that is normal. But pain, that is your body telling you to stop before you cause sever injury. Injury will cause you to delay further exercise sessions and we know how hard it can be to start back after you've healed. So, learn the difference between muscle fatigue and pain. And don't let anyone push you to workout when you are in Pain!
Bicep & Tricep Balance
Too often I've focused on building my biceps, but didn't give equal attention to my triceps. I didn't know about the rule of muscle balance, which is to create a proper ratio of strength of one muscle or muscle group relative to another muscle or muscle group. In other words if you exercise your biceps you must do the same for your triceps. An imbalance of strength results in the opposite side of the limb being weaker. This condition can cause complications such as aches and pains while doing normal activities such as sitting in a chair, lifting heavy items or just walking up stairs. Another thing to consider is the aesthetics, you may have a well developed bicep and a flabby tricep! So, give equal attention to all muscle groups as you exercise.
Body Fat Percent
Many women have become slaves to the bathroom scale. But the truth is, the scale only displays your overall weight. It does'nt define how much of the weight is bone, fat, or muscle. Water is the largest component of the body representing from 45% to 70% of our body weight! With that knowledge, why would we put our total trust in a scale? The solution is to know your body fat percent. This measurement actually defines how much of your weight is fat and muscle. The advantage is that you can determine if your weight loss is the result of fat or muscle. For example, if you go on a crash diet it is most certain that the weight lost is fat and muscle. You never want to lose muscle while dieting. But if you go on a sensible diet and exercise program you can increase fat loss while preserving muscle.
You could actually lose 8lbs of fat and gain 5lbs of muscle with proper exercise and diet. This would only result in a 3lb difference on the scale!
You can get your body fat percent checked by a personal trainer or you can purchase your own skinfold calliper (online) and teach yourself how to perform the test. Don't get me wrong the scale is useful to a point, but it shouldn't be the final result of weight loss success.