Here are some common issues and questions that my clients bring up when coming in for body composition testing, typically done as skinfold measurements and body circumference measurements.
“My arms and chest are toned and lean, but I just can’t seem to shake this stubborn lower belly flab, why am I lean everywhere but my stomach?”
“I can’t get rid of this stupid fat around my hips, it looks like a muffin top!”
“ Why am I developing
man boobs fat on my chest muscles?”
I’ve heard every combination of slang terminology for fatty deposits around the body. As funny as some of them may be they represent real, common problems that can wreak havoc on both physique and confidence.
Having body fat tested is a great way to get a reliable, quantifiable idea of your current body composition and is recommended for everyone. If this is not an immediate option (make it a priority!) Check out this post on how to estimate your body fat percentage based on what you see in the mirror.
Skinfold measurements will provide vital information to track body composition with changes in activity level and diet. These numbers from a skinfold also provide important data that can signify correlations between important body altering hormones in the body and skinfold measures.
Here are the most common trouble spots along with necessary interventions and strategies to correct the issue:
High abdominal Skinfold
- Physiological Correlation: High Stress, High Cortisol
- Intervention: Cortisol Suppression, Stress Control
- Potential Strategies: Frequent protein meals, improved sleep, BCAA’s, stress reducing techniques such as meditation
High Suprailliac Skinfold (hip region)
- Physiological Correlation: Large Insulin Release w/meals (Too many carbs!)
- Intervention: Control Carb intake and greatly reduce processed foods
- Potential Strategies: Decrease Carb intake (start going carb-less until workouts!), Improved Nutrient Timing (carbs post workout window)
High Subscapular Skinfold
- Physiological Correlation:Poor Insulin Sensitivity
- Intervention:Boost Insulin Sensitivity
- Potential Strategy: Add Fish Oils, R-ALA Supplementation, Low Carb Diet, potentially Intermittent fasting protocols
High Chest Skinfold
- Physiological Correlation: Low Testosterone
- Intervention: Support Healthy Testosterone Levels
- Potential Strategy:Adequate caloric intake, adequate dietary fat intake, possible medical referral
High Triceps and Thigh Skinfold
- Physiological Correlation: High Estrogen
- Intervention:Reduce estrogen levels
- Potential Strategy: Increase exercise volume, add cruciferous veggies (always a good idea), discuss prescription estrogens with doctor
As you can see there is a pretty consistent consensus that high carbohydrate and consistent carbohydrate intake has the potential to increase fat stores in many common trouble spots.
Body composition is very diet specific and using the potential strategies to attack trouble spots can yield significant changes in body composition.
It is important to note that if body fat is high universally on all body composition measurements then correlations are relatively meaningless. This indicates a poor diet, lack of exercise, and energy imbalance that need to be attacked on all fronts.
Replace grains with greens, eat 1-2 fists of protein per meal, and keep carbs to post-workout meals. If looking to lose weight do whatever is necessary to increase your activity level, but studies show 5+ hours per week is what is needed to optimally lose weight.
And if you’re looking for a workout program to maximize your fat loss, here’s a free program to get building your dream body.
Andrews, Ryan, MS,MA,RD. Berardi, John, PhD,”Chapter 12 Interpreting Client Information.” The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. 2nd ed. N.p.: Precision Nutrition, n.d. 316-18. Print.