The world of health and fitness can be a confusing place, but like any new challenge, knowledge is power and the more you can learn and understand; the better equip you are to succeed in reaching your goal.
Body fat is essentially your body's secondary energy store, the first energy store is the food we eat, a majority of this energy is taken from the carbohydrates we eat which are converted into glucose, our simplest and most immediate energy source.
DID YOU KNOW?
The word "carbohydrate" stems from glucose being made up of carbon and water.
Of course fats and proteins are also used as an energy source and play different roles within the body.
Protein is made up of any chain of amino acids, these amino acids provide the bricks and mortar your body needs to repair and grow, working with carbohydrates which provide the energy.
Fats are our bodies second energy source, they assist the absorption of many vitamins. Fats often get a bad rap in the world of dieting, because they are twice as calorific per gram in comparison to carbohydrates and proteins, but are actually a great energy source, and are compulsory in the production and regulation of hormones.
DID YOU KNOW?
Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature and unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature!
Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins all come together to make up our total daily calorie intake and are ALL necessary for optimum health!
Everything you eat contains calories, even those 'zero' and 'low' calorie 'foods', if we consume more calories that we burn off, the excess calories will be put to one side and stored in the energy bank.
If you continue to eat more calories than you burn off, all that extra energy will be stored into, what I like to think of as an energy savings account and that savings account turns to body fat when left to build up over time.
Like your savings account, the more you fill it up, the bigger it grows. However, unlike your bank balance, body fat can't appear, or disappear overnight.
It's also good to acknowledge that as a healthy functioning human, you do need a certain amount of body fat, our 'essential fats'; around 10-12% for women and 3-4% for men (based on people aged 18-25 years old. These average figures can vary slightly throughout the world).
Women need a higher level of essential fats due to hormone production, this can be negatively affected by extremely high, or extremely low levels of body fat, causing things like irregular periods and fertility issues.
The body needs energy and therefore calories for every day to day activity, things that we don't even have to think about; breathing, sleeping, eating, digestion, our heart beating, light activity like walking.
All these factors come together to give you a 'BMR' or Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the accumulation of all those factors and how many calories our body needs for them, without exercise.
Around 50-80% of our daily caloric intake required is for our BMR!
Not all BMR's are created equal; genetics, gender, age, height and weight can play all part in your BMR. If you have a higher muscle mass, your bodies BMR will be higher than that of someone who has less muscle mass.
As you age your BMR naturally decreases in relation to the decrease of muscle mass. This is thought to be caused by the reduced production of the hormone Testosterone (which aids in muscle building) and other factors such as increased physical inactivity.
However, losing muscle does not mean it has gone forever, if we continue to stimulate the muscles through exercise and strength training, it can be maintained, and even increased with a structured training programme and correct nutrition.
We hope this has helped you understand your body fat, why we have it and how to approach reducing it!
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