Tag: lean muscle

Analysis of Skinfolds

As fitness professionals, we are often approached with the question of what is the best, most efficient way of analyzing body fat. There are only a few methods that are applicable in a gym setting: circumference measurement, electrical impedance, and skinfold analysis. Both circumference and electrical impedance have a larger percentage of error, so the blog will compare the accuracies of the Durnin-Womersley four-site skinfold and the Jackson-Pollock seven-site skinfold. While other methods for skinfold measurement exist, these are the two most commonly used.

For our research, we will use six individuals of varying gender, body size, age, and shape to compare the different methods. According to our anthropometric findings, the variation between the four and seven-site, is greatest in females and the largest differential occurs with age. The four-site has a larger fluctuation with older females and this is supposed to account for lower body density resulting in more visceral fat accumulation. Fifty to Seventy five percent of fat is subcutaneous, thus the difference in estimate between methods can only be proportional to the remaining body weight.

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, select skinfold equations can have a marked overestimation of body fatness. The Jackson-Pollock seven-site skinfold test is known to be more accurate because of the formulation, variation, and quantity of sites being used having a relatively low margin of error in comparison to hydrostatic weight of only 3.3% inaccuracy. A lot of individuals have differing shapes in the lower body region, and none are included in the Durnin-Womersley skinfold test, making it more reliant on estimation.

Regardless, periodic skinfold measurements will give a reflection of change despite the estimate of body fat percent. In other words, doing regular skinfold measurements will still show changes that are occurring.

If you would like to check body fat measurements or have further questions, please contact either Amber Gruger or Amber Walz.

Say what? Put on weight?

Say what? Put on weight? That’s rarely the goal. Well I’m here to tell you perhaps it should be more of a goal than you think. I mean, let’s lift some heavy weights! Add an extra 5lbs to the bar, go up 10lbs in your dumbbells, push yourself and let’s move something heavy!
Why? Why not!

Lifting heavy (I don’t mean that if you are shoulder pressing 8lbs right now that you should try and press 45lbs the next go around), or what you would consider “heavy” will really help you gain strength quickly and efficiently. Usually when I tell people to move heavy weight, esp women, the first thing i hear is, “But I don’t want to bulk up.” Oh my Lord, if ever there was a misconception! The “bulking” that most people think of when lifting weight comes from many hours in the gym, a high protein diet, heavy heavy weights, and some good genes! To become The Hulk you would really have to put in serious amounts of time and effort. This will not be happening to your average gym goer. But still I hear some people say, “When I’ve lifted heavy before I did seem to get bulkier.” This would come from a lack of fat loss, a lack of a decent diet, and a misconception about what is “bulking.” My guess is the 2 times a week you lifted “heavy” did not in fact give you raging thighs, instead it was the other things you were or were not doing outside of your exercise.

Why lift heavy? There are a multitude of reasons why pushing yourself with the amount of weights you lift is a good idea….

  1. Increase lean muscle mass which = a higher metabolism. The more lean muscle mass in your body the more calories your body burns every day. Unlike cardio, lifting weights and stressing your muscles will burn calories for you while you are doing the exercises, for an hour after, and the many hours after that. While cardio may burn 400 calories in the hour you are doing your running your body soon loses that spike in metabolism and ends an hour after you finish. So while the number may look good on the machine, if you had lifted you would have burned nearly (if not in some cases more) that many calories in 45 minutes and will continue to burn more throughout the day. Muscles need fuel and worked muscles need extra fuel to repair and grow.
  2. Increased strength quickly and effciently. Squatting with the 10lb dumbbells in your hands 20 times might make you feel like you have gotten a lot done in a short amount of time but in fact we’ve done just the opposite. If burning calories, increasing your strength, and spiking your heart rate is your goal you need to cut the high reps and increase your weight. The heavier weight will push your muscles more (gaining strength), push your heart rate higher (to pump more blood to your strained muscles), and give you much more benifits in half the time (think 5-10 reps instead of 15-20). Your calorie burning will shoot much higher and your body will work much harder in half the reps!
  3. Increasing your mental toughness. It’s hard to lift heavy, not just for your muscles but also for your mind. Telling yourself to try something new, pushing yourself to move up in weight, pushing yourself to keep going even though the back of your mind is telling you it’s too heavy, is so much about mental strength. It’s the old saying, “If I can do this I can do anything” kind of mentality. Work your mind and your body and finally be proud and impressed with what you can do!
  4. So helpful in the real world. I don’t know about you but I have yet to find the 5lb bag of bark/cement mix/bricks at Home Depot. If you can lift it in the gym, when you go to tackle that new retaining wall in your back yard it will be no problem! Long gone are the days of waiting for your husband to come home to move the couch/washing machine/lawn mower/etc, your a strong lady, do it yourself!
  5. It’s fun, it’s hard, it’s mental, it’s a huge accomplishment. I realize it’s not everyone’s goal to deadlift one and a half times their body weight but it should be your goal to be strong, efficient, fit and healthy. Lifting heavy is one of the best ways to accomplish all of those things!

The only draw back to lifting heavy? It’s hard to do if you aren’t sure about your form. It’s hard to do if you aren’t sure about how much you should move up in weight. It’s hard to do some of your exercises without a spotter. My advice? Grab a trainer, ask some questions, get a session, join a weight lifting class. If you aren’t comfortable on your own get some help or free advice, that’s what we are here for! The best way to start is move up 2.5-5lbs in the exercises you normally do (lat pull down, dumbbell bench press, lunges, etc) and cut your reps. If that seems to easy for a set of 10, go up another 10lbs. The goal should be to use heavy enough weight that by the time you get to 10 reps you shouldn’t be able to do another. If you aren’t stressing yourself you aren’t lifting heavy enough. This is hard work. It will make you wish you were downstairs running endlessly on the treadmill! Eww.

Have questions? Looking for a good way to get started on strength training? Contact Personal Fitness Trainer Adriana Brown

Summer Goals! Are You Ready to Take Your Fitness to the Next Level?

So you made all these great goals months ago. When was the last time you really checking in with yourself and made yourself accountable for the goals you have set? Are you on track, are you accomplishing the small goals you set for yourself to reach the bigger one? It’s time to stand back and reassess. Remember what you were like 5 months ago when you set these goals for yourself…

“This is my year, I really want to change my life and live better. I am so motivated right now; I know I can do this. I’ve set a plan; I have step by step directions for myself, a sure plan. I’ve involved my wife and my best friend at work, they know what my goals are and they are going to help me stay on track. I’ve given myself adequate time to achieve these things and little successes along the way will really help me get where I want to go. I’m pumped, let’s do this!” Now it’s 5 months later. All those Yoga classes you meant to attend (just one day a week, I can do that) have gone by the way side. You meant to drink 8 glasses of water a day, you were really good about it until March came along and you started traveling for work. Now somehow you only manage 8 glasses once or twice a week. You told yourself that by your 6 month mark you would be down 10lbs. When you set that goal you thought, “10 lbs in 6 months, that’s stupid easy, I should be able to do twice that no problem.” Now the scale shows you are down 4.5 lbs and you only have one more month to get to that -10lbs you told yourself would be no problem. It’s really getting down to crunch time and you are starting to sweat. Part of you thinks, “Who cares, this is stupid, I won’t die if I eat a plate of spaghetti the size of my head, maybe next year….”

Get a grip! So maybe you haven’t been a good as you could have. Maybe your wife tried to get you to go to Yoga with her every week for a month and she got tired of begging and dragging you. Maybe the 5 mile runs turned into weekend walks to breakfast. Maybe that triathlon you signed up for has come and gone and you never even got in a pool to really train let alone in a wetsuit to actually participate. Take a moment, put yourself back in the shoes you wore 5 months ago when you made these goals. You had a great plan, you had all the intentions in the world, you were ready, you were tired of not moving forward. You decided, (YOU, not your wife, not your co-workers, not your dog, YOU) YOU wanted to do this. Re-visit those goals. See how well you were doing, look at how motivated you were, and remember why these things were important to you in the first place. If you really want this, get back on the horse as they say. I say, stop being such a girlie man and do what you’ve set out to do. Don’t give up. It’s not always perfect and sometimes you’ll fail but that just makes success all the more worth while. No time like the now to change your life. If you need to make new goals, make new ones. If you need to tell your favorite barista about your goals, tell her (although don’t be offended if she doesn’t care or thinks your totally weird). Do what you think you have to do to make a better you.

Remember this is your life we are talking about. You can do anything you set your mind to, really, anything. It takes effort, it takes will power, it takes some sweat (and maybe a few tears). But I know you can do this, the time is now!