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Fit and Firm: Navigating Fat Loss and Muscle Gain for a Healthier You


HeaA happy and healthy woman holding a water bottle and flexing arm muscles.lthy and happy women

Malaysia is facing alarming projections regarding obesity rates in the near future. According to a recent report by the World Obesity Federation, it is anticipated that 41% of the country’s adults will be obese by 2035, indicating a significant rise in the prevalence of obesity.


malaysia obesity trend chart

Excess body fat can have severe health implications, including heart diseases, stroke, type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, and certain cancers like endometrial, breast, and colon cancer. These conditions not only lead to premature death, but also cause significant disability.

Let’s face it, saying no to yummy treats, especially when there are so many tempting cafes and restaurants, can be tough! But hey, the good news is, more and more folks are hitting the gym and embracing the fitness vibe.


Are you fat or fit?


People often express a desire to ‘lose weight’, but it is crucial to understand that weight is not just about fat; it includes muscle mass too. Consider this scenario: imagine a bodybuilder and a sedentary person, both having the same height and weight, resulting in a BMI of 30, which is classified as obese. Does this mean the bodybuilder is obese? Certainly not. This highlights the limitation of using weight and BMI as sole indicators of health or ideal body composition. Weight can’t differentiate between muscle and fat, and a person with a higher muscle mass might have a higher weight but be healthier and fitter than someone with the same weight but lower muscle mass. It is essential to focus on body composition, overall fitness, and lifestyle habits rather than relying solely on weight-related metrics to assess health and well-being.


An effective method to gauge your body composition is through our InBody machine, which provides analysis of your muscle and fat distribution. It also offers segmental analysis, means it precisely reveals how your fat and muscles are distributed throughout your body. Additionally, the InBody machine can estimate your visceral fat level, giving you an understanding of your internal fat accumulation, a crucial insight for overall health assessment. With this detailed information, you can make informed decisions about your fitness and wellness journey.


In terms of losing fat, the key lies in maintaining a balance between the calories you consume and the calories you expend. Calorie intake can be controlled by reducing overall fat consumption and choosing unsaturated fats over saturated fats. Food with high glycemic index should be avoided while intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and nuts should be increased.


One practical strategy for managing your calorie intake effectively is by taking meal replacement.


What are the best approaches to fat loss?


Berry Fit

Berry Fit product box and ingredients

Berry fit is a meal replacement drink designed to provide a convenient alternative to your traditional meal. It is fortified with essential nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, aiming to offer a balanced nutritional profile similar to a full meal.


Its delicious taste comes from a blend of mixed berried (blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, elderberry) despite being sugar and milk-free. The multigrain ingredient gives it a satisfying texture. Whether you prefer it concentrated or diluted is entirely up to you; adjust the water to achieve your desired thickness.


Few benefits of meal replacement drinks include:


Convenience

You can consider meal replacement if you have busy lifestyles and does not have time to prepare or sit down for a full meal. They are quick, portable, and can be consumed on the go.


Weight Management

Meal replacement drinks can be part of your weight loss or weight management plan. Berry Fit has controlled calorie content of 120 kcal, making it easier to monitor daily caloric intake, which is essential for weight control.


Nutritional balance

Berries are packed with antioxidants, essential for bolstering your immune system and supporting overall health. These powerful compounds not only fortify your body’s defenses, but also play a key role in promoting healthy aging. Berry Fit is also formulated to provide essential nutrients, including proteins, fibers, vitamins and minerals. It aims to offer a well-rounded nutritional profile, ensuring that consumers receive a mix of macronutrients and micronutrients. Protein content in Berry Fit also help you to maintain and build muscle mass, promotes satiety, and supports the feeling of fullness.


Next, to burn calories, it is beneficial to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days.


Various technologies can also support your efforts in achieving fat loss goals, such as:


Redustim


Redustim patient lay on bed

Redustim is an aesthetic medical device that uses BioStimology technology, in which low frequency alternating BioEnergetic field stimulates calcium pump in the muscle cells. Calcium pump causes contraction of muscles, and uses energy in the form of ATP that is derived from visceral fat, thereby reducing visceral fat. Treatment takes 45 minutes per session, and effect is comparable to heavy exercise. On top of that, ReduStim has micropressure that follows the direction of lymphatic drainage. This helps to eliminate toxins and metabolic wastes including broken down fat cells from the body through lymphatic drainage.


People tend to overlook the importance of building muscle mass. In fact, building muscle mass is not only for those looking to lose weight but also for individuals who appear slim.




EMS


inshape machine, EMS

EMS is a non-invasive body contouring treatment that uses high intensity focused electromagnetic (HIFEM) technology to induce powerful muscle contractions. These contractions are similar to those that occur during intense physical exercise, resulting in the strengthening and toning of muscles in specific areas. It is especially beneficial for individuals who face challenges engaging in rigorous workouts due to mobility issues but aim to shed excess fat and enhance muscle tone.



Why is building muscles important?


Muscle tissue requires more energy at rest compared to fat tissue. Therefore, having more muscle increases your resting metabolic rate, meaning you burn more calories even when you are not active. This increased calorie expenditure makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Also, muscles are actively involved in most physical activities. When you have more muscle mass, you burn more calories during exercises. After a workout, your body continues to burn calories during the recovery process, especially if the workout involved resistance training. This phenomenon is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) or the afterburn effect. Having more muscle increases the duration and intensity of this effect, leading to additional calorie burn and potential weight loss.


Physical performance

Muscles provide the strength and power needed for daily activities and physical performances. Whether it is lifting groceries or participating in sports, adequate muscle mass enhances overall functionality. Adequate muscle mass maintains functional independence, allowing you to perform daily tasks without assistance even when you aged.


Bone health

Muscles provide support to the bones. Engaging in weight-bearing exercises that build muscle also promotes bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.


Neglecting muscle development can lead to a frail and unhealthy body, even for those with a seemingly slim physique. Hence, it is an aspect of fitness that should not be ignored, as it plays a role in preventing future health issues.


EMS is not just beneficial for muscle toning at your tummy, arms, thighs, buttocks.


It can also address specific concerns such as strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. This is particularly important for women who experience incontinence, either due to overweight or have gone through pregnancy, hormonal changes, like reduced estrogen during menopause, causing weaken pelvic floor muscles and surrounding ligaments. This issue is not exclusive to women; men, especially with age, can also face bladder weakness. By simply sitting fully clothed on EMS chair for a 30-minutes session, EMS helps improve the performance of pelvic floor muscles, providing a non- invasive and convenient way to address this concern.


Unexpected weight gain or struggles with weight loss might be indicative of underlying medical conditions. 

If you find yourself experiencing rapid weight changes despite your efforts, further workup may be required to rule out medical issues, and addressing them can be key to achieving your health and fitness goals.


Some medical conditions that closely link to increased body fat include:


Hypothyroidism

Thyroid issues can affect your weight, body temperature and total and resting energy expenditure regardless of physical activity. With hypothyroidism, your metabolism slows down. In other words, you will gain weight, and it is harder to shed extra pounds or maintain a healthy body weight.


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a condition where the ovaries produce an excessive amount of androgens, typically found in small quantities in women. The term ‘polycystic’ refers to the multiple small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that develop in the ovaries. PCOS is closely linked to obesity and difficulty losing weight.


Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, which means their bodies do not respond well to insulin (hormone that converts sugars from food into energy), causing insulin and sugar to build up in the bloodstream. Insulin resistance can promote fat storage, particularly around the abdomen. It can also lead to increased hunger and cravings, making it more challenging to maintain a healthy diet and lose weight. Obesity in turn can also exacerbate the symptoms of PCOS such as further metabolic issues and reproductive abnormalities.


Cushing syndrome

Cushing syndrome is a condition characterised by the overproduction of cortisol. One of its prominent features is central or truncal obesity, meaning excess fat accumulates around the abdomen and torso. The reason behind this specific distribution of fat can be attributed to the interplay of appetite stimulation and the impact of glucocorticoids, the class of hormones that includes cortisol. Glucocorticoids not only influence our appetite, often leading to increased cravings and overeating, but they also promote the storage of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the fat stored around internal organs in the abdominal cavity and is associated with various health risks. Excessive cortisol also disrupts the body’s normal fat distribution, leading to central obesity with sparing of fat accumulation in buttocks and thighs.


Does stress make you fat?

Yes, it does.


Cortisol, a hormone naturally generated by the adrenal glands, plays a role in your body’s stress response. When you encounter stress, cortisol is released, triggering the fight-or-flight mechanism. This response temporarily halts regular bodily functions and slows down your metabolism, redirecting energy to cope with the stressor. Chronic stress or prolonged periods of heightened cortisol levels can lead to various health issues.


One significant effect of elevated cortisol levels is their impact on your metabolism and eating habits. Cortisol stimulates your fat and carbohydrate metabolism, generating a surge of energy. While this process is beneficial in high-stress situations, it also increases your appetite. Moreover, increased cortisol levels often result in cravings for sweet, fatty and salty food. Excess cortisol in your system can interfere with the production of other hormones, like testosterone. A surplus of cortisol may cause your body to generate less testosterone, a hormone crucial for maintaining muscle mass and regulating your metabolism. Consequently, a decreased testosterone levels can lead to a reduction in muscle mass and a slowdown in the number of calories your body burns at rest.


Insufficient sleep or insomnia can also make you fat.

Inadequate sleep disrupts the balance of key hormones, increasing ghrelin which boosts appetite and decreasing leptin which signals fullness. This imbalance often leads to weight gain. Conversely, getting sufficient sleep could help regulate these hormones, promoting a healthier balance and potentially supporting weight management.


When facing increasing body fat linked to medical conditions, the primary objective is to address the root cause of the issue, rather than solely focusing on weight loss. By treating the core health issue, you can achieve sustainable and healthier weight management outcomes.




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