Body composition is the percentage of fat relative to fat-free mass (muscle, organs, bone, water, etc.). A healthy body composition means having more lean mass and less fat mass. This is why a weight scale is not an accurate measure of health as it cannot assess your body composition. It is unable to distinguish between water, fat, and muscle weight.
Medical professionals agree that excessive body fat is a health risk. Poor body composition (low muscle mass and high body fat) can increase disease risk. Having low muscle mass can also negatively affect strength and mobility, which become more apparent and debilitating with age. Ultimately, poor body composition can impede living a healthy, fulfilling and active lifestyle. Being thin, however, does not necessarily reduce one’s health risk. It is better to be lean – have more muscle mass and less fat mass.
Body composition can be improved through building muscle mass, losing fat mass, or both. Modifying diet and exercise habits can help. Try focusing on these 3 areas when striving to improve body composition.
- Muscle-Building Exercises – weight & strength training, sprinting, interval workouts
- Lean-Focused Diet – increased consumption of lean proteins, legumes, fruits and vegetables
- Weight Loss Strategies– reduce calorie intake, burn calories through cardio exercise, such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and aerobics activities
Fat Loss vs. Weight Loss
As more and more people strive for a healthy, balanced lifestyle; crash diets and extreme weight loss tactics are being replaced by sustainable weight management principals. Ideal weight loss strategies should aim to preserve muscle mass and enhance fat loss. Weight loss, however, tends to reduce both fat and fat-free (lean muscle) body mass, shifting metabolism to promote energy storage.
The loss of lean body mass:
- Reduces basal metabolic rate (calories burned at rest)
- Reduces the energy cost of physical activity
Maintaining muscle mass is important for continued weight loss, weight maintenance, and overall health and wellbeing. Fortunately, myHMB has been shown to protect and build lean muscle mass during diet interventions while simultaneously boosting fat loss.