April 8, 2020
We all have bodyfat. This is a good thing, and it’s very important to have a healthy amount of bodyfat. Many people see bodybuilders on stage and think that that is the peak condition of a healthy body when, in reality, it is very unhealthy to be that lean and dehydrated. Our body needs a certain amount of fat for proper daily functioning, and many people do unhealthy things to shed unwanted fat. You’ve probably heard this countless times, but being overweight or obese can cause serious complications to your health that include diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. If obesity is not managed, you increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack! But this DOESN’T mean that you should do unhealthy things to lose the weight. To get a better grasp on fat, what’s good or bad about it, and how to control it, please read below.
Being ‘overweight’ is relative. Everyone is different, with different goals and needs, so by default we should all have different “Fat Goals,” or FG’s. If you’re asking yourself “how on earth do you make a Fat Goal” you must start by asking yourself, “what are your goals right now?” “What are you training for?” Someone who’s aiming to increase their deadlift is going to have a different FG than someone training for a marathon.
To understand fat and how it works with the body, it’s best to think of it like pumping gas into your car. There’s a very convenient cutoff switch so that if the tank gets full, the pump automatically stops the fuel from continuing to pump. Essentially, gasoline is energy for your car, and food is energy for your body. Now a car is solid, with simple, one purpose systems, whereas a human is elastic with complex, multipurpose systems. Our metabolism (described further here (hotlink to run better by running less metabolism stuff)) can eventually convert every fuel source to fat. The formula for body fat is:
Net Calories - Energy Used
With a car, if we put 20 gallons of fuel into a 20-gallon tank, trying to put even 1 more ounce in it would spill out and down the side of the car. Now imagine if instead of spilling out, the car had an “excess fuel storage” feature where if you add more than the tank can handle, the excess gasoline pumps into little bags stored around the shell of the car. If you added enough, eventually the bumpers and the doors would be full of fuel. The idea is that this is excess fuel, so if we don’t fill up and go on a long cross-country drive, we’d eventually use all the fuel and need to fill up again. Welcome to fat storage in the human body.
Some people actually have a genetic disposition to be overweight, but most of us become overweight simply because we become more sedentary as our lives progress. This, in tandem with a slowing metabolism as we age, means that before you know it the spare around the waist forms, or the thickening of the hips begins.
Fat is a group of molecules that can be used by the body in several ways. From insulation, to shock absorption, to nutrient uptake, the body also finds fat as a primary fuel source.
The way that fat is distributed throughout the body is very dynamic. Think of a marbled rib-eye steak. It’s literally woven into the fabric of the meat. This is relevant to the human body and its relationship with fat. It’s woven throughout the tissues and structures of our body. It’s around our heart, our bones, our nerves, in our muscles, and under the skin. In this article we’ll look at 3 types of fat and their roles within the body.
What is a reasonable amount of fat for most people? General guidelines would have men at 15-20% and women at around 20-25%
There is only one way to lose excess fat… The body must sense that it has a deficit of calories and therefore emulsify stored fat for use as energy. There are a few levers we can use to do this:
As I mentioned, these are levers. You can use either one, or all of them, the net effect is the same.
But there is always a catch… If you end up in too much of a deficit, your body will enter a catabolic state where it starts burning off muscle and storing fat instead. This is where balance and consistency come in.
How each lever works, and how you can implement each into your lifestyle.
At the end of the day, don’t follow fad diets and try chasing what other people do. Focus on what is healthy, what feels right for you, and do those things consistently. We’re always just an email away, so shoot me a line if you have any specific questions to email@example.com.
Founder & Training Director
Layn has spent his life immersed in the worlds of fitness and physical performance. As an athlete, he’s completed multiple endurance events such as the Texas Bandera 50k Trail Run, Austria’s Ironman 70.3, and the Alaskaman Extreme Ironman. He’s been coaching since 2008 with certifications in USA Weightlifting Level 1, CrossFit Level 1, Strong First L1, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine.