A few weeks back I shared a video on my YouTube channel that has received a pretty good response discussing body fat measurements. You can view it below or on my YouTube channel if you haven't yet. In it I shared that, in addition to learning your body fat percentage, you can reveal hormonal issues that you might be suffering from as well. I'd like to dive a little more in depth with this week's article.
First, these measurements must be obtained through use of skinfold calipers, which most gyms will have on hand. You can even buy your own pair at your local GNC or most health food stores, as well as online, if you're one of those fancy pants, internet users. Second, please keep in mind that if your level of body fat is universally high, these measurements won't mean much. This information will be of much more benefit when you're down to your last 15-20 pounds. If every skinfold measurement site is high, this will tell you that your priority should be maintaining a regular exercise program, healthy eating regimen and general increase of activity level to promote a better energy balance. Don't stress out over hormones when you're just beginning to get healthy.
Assuming you're at a relatively lower body fat percentage and that you have access to a pair of skinfold calipers, we can now get down to bidness (yes, bidness. It's like business, only more serious). Today I'm going to cover five different measurements, the hormonal relations and some potential strategies to fix the problem.
1. If your belly fat is the higher number, again relatively speaking, it can be a sign of high cortisol levels in your body which can come from high levels of stress, poor sleep, high alcohol consumption and a lack of relaxation or "me-time." The techniques that can help most here range from getting adequate sleep or protein intake at each meal, adding stress-reduction techniques like yoga or meditation or simply ensuring that you get something for breakfast.
2. If your percentages are higher at the suprailiac skinfold (Google it if you're unsure) then you may have a large insulin release with your meals. Your strategy here is to control your carbohydrate intake. Choosing slow-burning carbs like vegetables (mothers, feel free to show this to your children) and whole, unprocessed grains will help lower your body's insulin response.
3. Next, if your bodyfat is high in your shoulder blade area it may mean you have poor insulin sensitivity. Here, adding supplements like fish oil and alpha lipoic acid may be a beneficial strategy, along with adding resistance training to your exercise regimen.
4. Continuing along, if your chest skinfold is the problem area, it may mean you have low testosterone. It should be stated, this does not only apply to the male readers, but ladies, if your skinfold-measurement-taker insists on measuring "the ladies" then you may want to run... run fast. Assuming all is on the up-and-up, ensuring that you are consuming enough calories and quality dietary fats are two great ways to combat low testosterone.
5. Lastly, if your triceps keep swinging when you wave at somebody and if you also have a high amount of fat on your thighs, then you may have high estrogen. Your strategies will then be increasing your exercise volume and adding cruciferous veggies (again, Google if you're unsure).
It should go without saying, none of this is set in stone. These are just possibilities to consider on your fitness journey. I hope this information will help you along the way to finding your own awesomeness. Until next time, live a focused and determined life, live healthy, live happy and live fresh!
Andy Frisch, NASM CPT, CES, PES, WFS, IFT, NESTA FNC, is a personal trainer and nutrition coach who enjoys working with clients of all shapes, sizes and ages. He currently train clients at Sports Village Fitness in Lebanon, works with clients online at www.FreshEvolutionFitness.com and frequently posts videos on his YouTube channel. He may be contacted at email@example.com.