Proper Nutrition - Fat

Fat provides energy for aerobic energy metabolism, such as sitting, walking and jogging. The higher your resting metabolism is (through exercise) more fat will be wasting away while sitting and/or sleeping
Fat provides energy for aerobic energy metabolism, such as sitting, walking and jogging. The higher your resting metabolism is (through exercise) more fat will be wasting away while sitting and/or sleeping! Fat is your third and last source of energy or fuel at 3,500 calories per pound. Fat yields 9 calories per gram.

Fat is responsible for many body functions. One, it assists in membrane cell structure and function. Two, it transports and mobilizes fat-soluble vitamins in the body. Three, it is involved in cellular signals and regulates the uptake and excretion of nutrients in the cells. And four, it is necessary for hormonal production in the body.

EAT A HEALTHY AMOUNT OF FAT FOR MUSCLE GAINS!

Like carbohydrates, fat contributes to making you feel satisfied or full after a meal. It also contributes to muscle gains and helps prevent muscle loss while following a low fat diet. When I lived in Japan and was training consistently, I put myself on a circuit weight-training program.

I was on this program for a couple of months. I decreased my fat intake to as low as 5% of my total calories. But I didn't compensate my body for this by increasing my protein and carb ratio intake to replace my lowered fat intake. The result was that I lost a great deal of lean muscle tissue! My abs looked good and ripped but my arms decreased half an inch or so! I got down to 165 pounds. I lost about 3 inches around my waist. I then read some time later that an individual needs fat in his/her diet for making muscular gains. How true! 20% fat of total calories is good.

COUNT FAT CALORIES

Excess calories contribute to fat gain and so does excess fat consumption. If you're a calorie counter then count fat calories. If you eat too much of them you become fat. The key with fat is that it is a highly concentrated source of energy. That's why it is the last or the least energy source burned. Fat, carbohydrates and protein are all sources of energy the body uses daily. All these sources of energy are all being used and burned by the body simultaneously - at the same time. It's just that carbohydrates at 4 calories per gram or 1,600 calories per pound is burned first. Next is protein at 4 calories per gram or 2,000 calories per pound. And finally, fat at a highly concentrated 9 calories per gram or 3,500 calories per pound.

ENERGY

Carbohydrates and protein when eaten in astronomical proportions makes a person fat too. Eat too many carbs and if your energy expenditure is like a "couch potato", the unused carbs get stored as fat. The result is fat gain. The same is true with protein. Eat too much protein and the "unused" portion "your body" does not utilize (either repairs made to tissues, energy for your body or both) is wasted through urination and/or gets stored as fat. This also does not exclude a protein supplement.

THE BODYBUILDING DIET

Should you decide to cut back your fat intake I suggest you to increase your protein and carbohydrate consumption. If fat intake is too low, the body will first use carbs and then protein to burn energy. For example, if a male competitive bodybuilder weighs 225 pounds and his goal is increasing LBM while maintaining fat weight a suggestion is to eat 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight, 2.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight and 0.25 grams of fat per pound of body weight (trying to keep the range within 10% of fat calories). This would account for 270 grams of protein or 1,080 calories; 563 grams of carbohydrates or 2,252 calories; and 56 grams of fat or 504 calories. Total calories: 3,836. This works out to be a ratio of 28% protein / 59% carbohydrates / 13% fat.

If this same male bodybuilder's goal is maintaining LBM while decreasing fat weight to ready himself for strict dieting for an upcoming competition a suggestion is to eat 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight, 1.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight and 0.18 grams of fat per pound of body weight (trying to keep the range within 10% of fat calories). This would account for 338 grams of protein or 1,352 calories; 338 grams of carbohydrates or 1,352 calories; and 40 grams of fat or 360 calories. The total calories: 3,064. This works out to be a ratio of 44% protein / 44% carbohydrates / 12% fat.

That's a lot of protein! The problem with the bodybuilding dietary cuisine is that most bodybuilders leave out saying nutrient consumption that is based on "lean body weight." They are already lean so that word, although necessary, is mistakenly omitted; and two, they fail to mention both carbs and protein will be used as fuel, which accounts for their high consumption of these nutrients. If the "bodybuilding ratio" consistently produced great results for the "general" population, there would be no argument against it. However, reality sets in and this sort of ratio simply does not work for most people who in fact hold more fat weight and expend less energy than the competitive bodybuilder. Therefore, the formula just mentioned above should be only considered by either an advanced or competitive athlete only, and not recommended for the beginner or intermediate.

FIND YOUR BASAL METABOLIC RATE

Knowing how many calories your body needs to maintain itself (BMR) is the best start to find out where to begin for either gaining lean body mass (LBM) or losing fat. If you want to increase your gains you must increase your caloric intake by 500 calories or more per day. If you want to lose fat weight (at a safe four pounds per month) simply decrease your daily caloric intake by 500 calories. That amounts to 3,500 less calories per week (one pound less fat) or 14,000 less calories per month (4 pounds less fat)!

When preparing food items high in fat like butter and oils substitute by using non-fat non-stick liquid sprays for oils and butter. When a recipe calls for butter simply omit it. Use non-fat cheese for desserts. Drain, remove or soak oil from high fat foods like ground beef. When I was at McDonald's in Japan on several occasions, I would remove the hamburger patty from the inside and place it between a couple of napkins and squeeze the heck out of it to drain as much oil as I could.

Do what you must to limit your fat intake. Fat, after all, is hard on the body. It is the most difficult to digest and is the easiest to be deposited in all the wrong places. Why eat so much of it?

Proper Nutrition - Protein, Part I
Proper Nutrition - Carbohydrates, Part II

Copyright © 1997-2002 Randy M. Herring