Many people come to me looking for weight loss, meaning fat reduction and, essentially as well, an increase in their lean body mass. I found these guidelines in my CPT study and thought it would benefit you that I share. Enjoy!
Guidelines for Altering Body Composition
- For Fat Loss:
- Make small decreases in food and beverage calories and increase physical activity
- Distribute protein, carbohydrate, and fat throughout the day and at each meal
- Consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fat
- Choose whole grains and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables over refined grains and simple sugars (as the fiber and complexity of the starch will aid in hunger control)
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Schedule no fewer than 4 and as many as 6 meals a day. This helps to control hunger, minimize blood sugar fluctuations, and increase energy levels throughout the day
- Avoid empty calories and highly processed foods, which contain many calories but do little to provide satiety
- Drink plenty of water (minimum 9-13 cups/day)
- Have clients weigh and measure food for at least 1 week. This will make them more aware of caloric values and serving sizes, as well as decrease the likelihood of underreporting calories
- For Lean Body Mass Gain:
- Eat 4 to 6 meals/day. Insulin response to a meal stimulates protein synthesis
- Spread protein intake throughout the day to take advantage of the previous tip
- Keep in mind the post workout window of opportunity. Ingestion of protein and carbohydrate within 90 min of a workout will increase recovery and protein synthesis, maximizing gains. This may be most easily accomplished with a liquid meal-replacement formula that can be absorbed quickly owing to being predigested. Food may take several hours to digest and absorb, missing the window.
- Do not neglect the importance of carbohydrate and fat. It takes more than protein to increase lean body mass.
Risks of Very Low Calorie Diets:
- Increased risk of malnutrition
- Poor energy and inability to complete the essential fitness program
- A behavioral “pendulum” swing – an inability to reintroduce “forbidden foods” ina moderate manner
- Many patients on a VLCD for 4 to 16 weeks report minor side effects such as fatigue, constipation, nausea, or diarrhea. The most common serious side effect is gallstone formation. People who are obese, especially women, are at a higher risk of getting gallstones, and they are even more common during rapid weight loss.
Calorie Count for Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats
- Protein = 4 cal/g
- Carbohydrates = 4 cal/g
- Fat = 4 cal/g
- Alcohol = 7 cal/g
Source: NASM, Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, 4th Edition, Revised