Maintaining Lean Muscle Tissue


We all want that sculptured look we see on the billboards and magazines. It’s obvious, sex sells and unfortunately sex can mean ‘skinny’.

It is portrayed this way to the point where I see clients who are models, they’re 6’2” weighing in at a miserable 54 – 56 kg asking me the best method to losing an extra couple of kilos for a photo shoot they have coming up, most of the time I try and lead them in a direction away from losing anymore weight.

I explain the health consequences and try to offer an alternative – most don’t listen and try and source someone else who will show them. Sad to see, but it happens!

Having a body that you’re comfortable with is extremely important, but having one that functions well is more important and this is where having the right balance of fat and muscle is important.

Having muscle and being toned builds self confidence and offers more opportunities with health and wellness.

Muscle is an important part of the human body, it helps us move, and it supports the skeletal system and holds 75% of that ever present energy – carbs!! Muscle also helps burn fat, that’s right, it burns fat by raising the metabolic rate.

If you build 1 kg of muscle you will burn an additional 100 calories per day – that’s over 36,000 calories you will burn every year by improving your lean tissue.

Don’t go thinking that you will turn into a big bulky muscle builder if you resistance train; muscle takes up a ¼ the space of fat.

So get building. We need to keep an eye on that muscle too, because it also declines with age and we need to support your skeletal system.

However most people don’t get enough protein during the day – they generally have a sugary cereal for breakfast with milk that’s full of sugar (did you know that?) – muffin and coffee for smoko – sandwich for lunch – sugary something for afternoon tea and a whopper of a dinner where the majority of calories and protein is ingested.

If your body doesn’t get enough protein it sources it from your lean muscle tissue – not something you want to happen because a reduction in lean muscle is a reduction in metabolism, which is the very thing we’re doing our best to speed up to help you LOSE fat.

Building muscle on the other hand can be somewhat challenging to many people.

As your body may sometimes  break down muscle as energy (catabolism) this is not good if you’re running marathons or you’re a 17 yr old guy who’s trying to get a bit of muscle definition to impress his high school sweetheart!

It can also be disheartening to the average woman as her body wasn’t designed to build muscle as easy as the guy’s body does – this is due to hormones.

So how do we build muscle and maintain it?

The answer is? Resistance exercise and proteins.

Resistance exercise is weight training and by doing this your strength improves. When strength improves, lean muscle improves.

We Need To Follow A Diet Balanced Meal Plan Rich In:

1. Proteins
2. Carbohydrates
3. Fats (Essential Fatty Acids)
4. Vitamins and Minerals
5. Water

By doing this you’ll find you receive a more defined look.

Remembering that muscle weighs MORE than fat – 2.5 times more! So if you see the scale weight go up, but your clothes are looser while you are following my programme – don’t think things are going horribly wrong, it’s more than likely your muscle is growing.

Feel free to get this checked through a body composition measurement test, or body fat test using calipers. Thiswill ensure that the weight you’re gaining is muscle and the weight you’re losing is fat. I can do this at our initial consultation.

Step 1:

Protein (amino acids) is the building block of muscle and is essential for growth and recovery. There are about 22 amino acids that are considered biologically important.

It should be an important macronutrient within your diet, but not in excess, as protein does not store as a protein, it will break down and be used as energy so we need to consume adequate amounts daily and protein needs to be supplied throughout the day to preserve lean body mass – not a token amount at dinner, which most people tend to do.

Too much protein breaks down in the body as urea; this is a waste product and is excreted in the urine. Protein can also dehydrate you, so you need to drink plenty of water to help stay hydrated.

Step 2:

Carbohydrates come in two forms, simple (sugars) and complex (slow release).

Simple carbohydrates raise your overall blood sugar levels which will give you a bit of a ‘sugar high’ but in turn will drop your energy levels like a ton of bricks which is commonly known as a ‘sugar low’ – not a wise option if you rely on energy to last the day.

Complex carbohydrates will be a better option if you’d like sustained energy levels. This is because they don’t upset your blood sugar levels to the same degree as simple sugars.

We’ll talk some more on the Glycaemic Index shortly, which relates to carbohydrates and their ability to store fats at the end of the report.

Step 3:

Fats: The good, the bad and the ugly! It’s important to understand which fat is best for you so lets simplify the types of fats we eat everyday.

Saturated Fats: Not the best of the bunch – these can lead to various diseases including cancers and heart disease. They are commonly used by food manufacturers because they have a relatively long shelf life.

They make the biscuits crispy and fast food crunchy. It’s found a lot in chocolate, dairy and meats.

Trans Fats: These little suckers are known to increase blood cholesterol levels and once again run ravage inside your body killing off what good things you have to protect you against heart disease.

These fats are, again, common in baked goods. Not an option for fat loss, or for that matter, not an option if you want to see next summers M.A.S.H repeats!

Essential Fatty Acids or EFA’s: The good ones, these fats are called essential because you NEED to take them, the body does not manufacture them and at least 20% of your overall calories should come from these good fats.

An indication of quantities would be, 1 teaspoon for women and one tablespoon for men.

Following Are Some Good Reasons For Taking EFA’s.

1. Promote fat loss
2. Assist in the recovery of muscles after exercise.
3. Assist with proper brain and nervous system function.
4. Formation of healthy skin, eyes, hair and helps wound healing.
5. Clean out the arteries and can prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
6. Help carry important vitamins and minerals around your body.
7. Improves Growth.
8. Maintaining the structure and function of cell membranes.
9. Assist with the absorption of protein.
10. Increase overall energy.

EFA’s without a doubt need to be a part of your eating plan for life.

Step 4:

Vitamins and Minerals: We’ve all been told to eat our vegetables. One main reason – they are packed full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals which are essential for the human body. If we don’t get enough, we can fall sick with many different diseases.

They’re responsible for normal metabolism and growth and can also improve your IQ, decrease PMS pains, improve immunity, balance moods and they greatly reduce the risk of degenerative diseases like cancer and heart disease.

It is difficult to receive our recommended daily allowance through diet alone as foods these days are different than they were 30 years ago. A high percentage of today’s foods are processed therefore most of the nutrients have been stripped.

For example: During the refining process of white bread, it has 25 nutrients removed and only 4 replaced, therefore over 80% of the essential minerals are lost.

Should we eat white bread? I’d choose an alternative if you want your body to be at it’s best.

Vit A, E, C, D and K, what about all the B vitamins, how do YOU know if you’re getting your RDA’s? Maybe you take a multi-vitamin and mineral so you’re safe, or are you? Does it have the vitamins and minerals it says it does in the box?

Don’t be so sure, in 2003 the Canadian Government conducted an independent study of 500 multi-vitamins and minerals to ensure that all the companies were accurately claiming what’s on the label is in their products.

Out of the 500 companies assessed; 242 had less than 20% of what they claimed to have in the capsule. Only TWO companies in the USA and Canada had over 95% of what they claimed IN their multi-vitamin and mineral capsule.

A high percentage had 0%; the average was around 30 – 40%, which means that there are a lot of vitamin companies in North America who have 60 – 70% less minerals and vitamins in their products than the label claims.

Which one have you got? The one on sale at the local store? Or the one that really delivers what it claims?

I can not emphasize enough how important a good quality multi-vitamin and mineral is in today’s world, your nutrient uptake is FAR FAR greater than it was years ago.

Everyone asks me which brand of supplements I use and recommend – See the link on our Home Page for the Nutritional System winning the only 5 Star rating in NZ.

I use and recommend USANA Health Sciences Nutritional systems, I trust this company due to it’s extensive research and development and how it’s the only company that chooses to manufacture to the British Pharmacopoeia Specifications which is the highest specs that anything can be manufactured to that passes through our body. Now that’s quality assured!

Thousands of toxins, preservatives, emulsifiers, additives are entering our body everyday, and this is just in the food, water and air.

More than 700 chemicals have been detected in NZ drinking water; among these toxins are metals, solvents from chemical factories, pesticides. Mmmmm.

If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the average supermarket packet, how do you think your liver feels? Watch the food you eat, it might be causing you harm.

Don’t put up with feeling – okay?!! Because you know what it feels like to feel great!!!

Step 5:

Water. Next to Oxygen – it’s critical to life. How many times have you woken up to the sound of the alarm buzzer and groaned at the thought of getting out of bed and most people when they get up can’t function until they have their coffee or tea.

Millions of people are getting short changed on health, your body should be working at a level where after 6-8 (not 10) hours of sleep should ready it for the days activities.

If you’re requiring more sleep, start looking at your water intake as it usually gets swapped for dehydrating (alcohol/coffee/tea) or sugary fizzy drinks.

When your body’s thirsty, its too late, you’re already dehydrated. This can make you catabolic (muscle wasting) and we need to avoid this.

Water (always drink mineral or filtered) is the fundamental ingredient for helping in all our bio-chemical reactions, therefore making sure you’re adequately hydrated is important.

If you don’t have enough water but you enjoy exercising, your performance and recovery will be greatly reduced.

You lose water through sweat, kidneys (urine) and exhaling air through your lungs (breathing) so an adequate intake of water is a must.

If you live in a hot environment or have a high caffeine or alcohol intake, produce a lot of sweat, or are obese, your water intake should be higher than the average.

It varies from person to person but a general rule of thumb is 2 litres per day plus and an additional 1 litre per hour of exercise. So get into that bottled water and get drinking!

You can find much more information on living a holistic lifestyle in these free magazines and on our YouTube channel.

Dale Folland

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