Body composition is the difference between the amount of lean body weight compared to fat weight. Body fat composition is usually expressed as a percentage of fat. The recommendation for men is 12-16% and women 20-25% body fat. Lean body weight includes all muscles, bones, skin, hair and blood.
Negative Change in Body Fat Composition
A negative body fat composition change occurs when we lose the same or a larger percentage of lean weight to fat weight. This often happens when people crash diet or go for days without eating, and our body uses energy from protein and carbohydrate stores in muscles. When this happens we lose most of our weight in water.
This will mean an increase in fat percentage even though some fat will be lost.
Positive Change in Body Composition
A positive change in body composition is the gradual reduction of body fat stores while maintaining as much lean body weight to keep metabolism high. It requires:
- Regular gentle exercise that will help burn more fat directly.
- A diet that provides regular good low calorie source for energy and adequate protein to replace that used for energy in exercise.
Another technique is to make a positive change in body composition by increasing lean muscle weight before attempting to lose fat weight, through anaerobic exercise. Then fat stores slowly decrease due to an increase in metabolism that a higher proportion of lean weight brings. This way fat is lost indirectly rather than being burned directly with aerobic exercise.