Improved body composition.
We’re obsessed either with achieving it or maintaining it.
Improving your body composition, that is gaining muscle and/or losing body fat, in general is going to result in improved health markers overall, provided you’re not taking it to the extreme.
So what could possibly be wrong with that?
On the surface there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to improve your body composition. The problem lies in where it sits as a priority, and therefore the way in which we go about trying to achieve it.
You decide (or get told) it’s time to improve your body composition.
So with that being your primary goal, you figure out the fastest way to achieve that goal.
The choice of training style and diet does not take anything other than getting diced into account.
So you eat less and do a butt load of steady state cardio and/or smash yourself with high intensity cardio seems to be the go to.
Will you lose weight? More than likely.
Will you improve your body composition? If you had a lot of body fat to lose to begin with, then probably.
Will you be able to maintain what you’ve achieved? Probably not.
Why? Because it wasn’t a sustainable approach, and you haven’t tackled the reasons that your body composition was less than optimal to begin with.
When you almost inevitably start to gain body fat back, you’ll eventually try to lose it again.
And this time you’ll find it just that bit harder than before.
So what do you do?
Do even more of the cardios and eat even less.
And the cycle repeats.
Is it any wonder with that mentality we end up with a huge amount of people ending up with disordered eating patterns, and an unhealthy relationship with physical activity?
It’s quite interesting that we associate good body composition with health, but we don’t really give a toss about the health part, so long as we have the look good part.
Switching it up.
What if we were to take a different approach.
Acknowledging that it’s basically a given that we all want to look good, and that will be achieved through improved body composition.
Instead of finding the fastest way possible to achieve that body composition goal, wouldn’t it make more sense to figure out why it isn’t where we want it to be currently, and then design our approach from there?
What are some things we could look at?
- Energy intake.
- Protein intake.
- Physical activity levels.
- Types of physical activity.
- Sleep patterns.
Not a super detailed list, but you get the idea.
From there you can focus on improving one or a few of those areas in a sustainable way, by making small adjustments to begin with.
Let’s say you’re starting from scratch, are very inactive, with a diet low in protein, and you lack energy.
You might increase your protein intake, add in a walk every other day, start strength training twice per week and start trying to get an extra thirty minutes sleep every weeknight.
With those changes, you’ve added some low intensity movement, started to build strength and gain muscle, both through the strength training and increased protein intake, plus you’ve hopefully added over two hours of extra sleep in per week.
All these changes are going to result in improved overall health.
Provided you’ve set realistic goals, these changes will hopefully be sustainable as well.
As you continue to build on these sustainable changes, your body composition will start to improve as a side effect.
And the even better bonus?
Once you’ve reached a healthy body composition, it will be far easier to maintain.
And hopefully, by approaching body composition change in this manner (as a side effect of better health), it will improve your quality of life as well.
I’ll leave this one there.
Hopefully this will be helpful to you or someone you know.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll catch you next time.