How to Lose Back Fat

How to Lose Back Fat

Question:

What should I eat to help me lose back fat?

– Nicole V.

Answer:

I hear you, sister! Fat that bulges around the bra line or waistband on the backside is uncomfortable to say the least. The fat beneath the skin along the lumbar region isn’t always in proportion to the rest of the body’s subcutaneous fat and may create rolls if thick enough. Bodies with greater overall body fat tend to show more back fat, though it’s possible for someone with an acceptable body mass index (BMI) to be “skinny fat.” Remember that fat distribution among men and women is largely dictated by genetics and hormones.

Most research has been on reducing belly fat since it’s tied to a greater risk of chronic disease. A diet to specifically lose back fact does not exist. Targeting one area of fat, termed “spot reducing,” has long been deemed a fallacy. Dietary interventions will only have effect on back fat if accompanied by exercise. Together they produce metabolic changes in tissues all over the body. Along with a weight reduction diet, greater physical activity and specific exercises for the lumbar region may improve toning and definition.

These top diet tips work to improve body composition and overall health:

  • Get plenty of fiber (25-30gms) – whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, and seeds
  • Avoid added sugars
  • Eat lean proteins – opt for fish and seafood vs. red meat, pork or dairy products
  • Choose unsaturated fats (and avoid trans fat) by adding nuts, plant oils or fish oils
  • Increase your fluid intake, but limit alcohol
  • Drink two to three servings of green tea per day

Resources:

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Build Your Stack One Supplement at a Time

Build Your Stack One Supplement at a Time

Imagine this scenario —

 “I survived the week-long school trip without getting sick like last time.”

“Wow – with all those kids? Good hygiene, I bet.”

“Maybe, but I safeguarded with echinacea, zinc and high-dose Vitamin C.”

“Didn’t you tell me you started probiotics beforehand, too?”

“Yep – my trifecta plus one! I just needed something to make a difference.”

“Uh, okay. But how do you know which ‘thing’ did the trick?”

silence

Immune-enhancing products are akin to a muscle-building arsenal because many weightlifters try everything all at once like the first person in our story. Starting a thermogenic, pre-workout formula, creatine, NO booster, and recovery drink at the same time is like a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach.

To enhance the effects of rigorous training and a nutritious diet, many people use ergogenic aids to reach top shape or peak performance. And the most popular ergogenic aids are dietary supplements. The term “stack” 15 years ago referred to a product with combined ingredients that had similar effects, such as herbal stimulants or androgens.

Now, it’s about stacking multiple supplements (often with proprietary blends) within the day. Most often targeted for gaining muscle and losing fat, stacking various supplements is promoted for gains in the weight room. The idea is that by grouping supplements together there may be a synergy of certain ingredients that combine to create greater advantages.

For single-ingredient preparations, it makes sense to take more than one dietary supplement, as they have different methods of action and are useful at different times. But by starting several compound supplements at once, it’s more difficult to determine which are effective – particularly if there are 6-8 products on the list! I recommend taking no more than four while ProResults® Master Trainer Geoff Fox advises avoiding performance-enhancing supplements (your wallet will thank us).


For those of you that are stacking your supplements, here are some tips for evaluating product effectiveness and safety:

  • Continue your normal diet and exercise routine.
  • Maintain consistency with your multivitamin/mineral, fish oil, protein, and other basic dietary supplements.
  • Wait at least two weeks before adding another supplement to your stack. Take the time to observe for any side effects.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Continue step-wise until your stack is complete.
  • Follow all safety guidelines on each product’s instructions for use.
  • If stacking supplements with the same ingredients, check for guidelines on absolute maximums. (e.g., 400 mg caffeine/day per U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Health Canada, and European Food Safety Authority)

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Eating the Right amount of Protein

Eating the Right amount of Protein

Question:

Hello! I was wondering if you could help me determine how much protein I should be eating everyday. I’ve heard so many things. I am 24yo female, I strength train 4 days a week and do yoga 1x a week to break that up. I may be switching that up a bit, but wanted to get a good idea on how to calculate it (if that’s how it works). Thank you.

– Erol B.

Answer:

The headlines (and advice) are confusing! Between “most healthy adults already get enough protein” and “US adults do not consume enough protein” there is a grey area of observation, based on how the research is interpreted. On the one hand, people that meet energy needs probably meet protein needs, while those that are dieting, recovering from illness or are aging may need more.

For a fit, healthy young adult who is consuming adequate calories to maintain weight, use the protein RDA of 0.8 gm/kg body weight as the guide. Using a range for percentage of calories from protein is less precise. From pounds, divide weight by 2.2 to get kilograms then multiply by 0.8 to get your target amount of daily protein. If you are looking to add lean mass then increasing protein to 1.2 gm/kg is suitable.

To determine if you’re meeting your goal, use a reliable source to count up your protein intake. Check that a diet app or website you’re using relies on the USDA Food Composition Database.

Resources:

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Reaching Macronutrient Goals

Reaching Macronutrient Goals

Question:

Greetings Nutrition: I am trying to get back in shape. I have a trainer at LA Fitness, and I think that I need to eat better. Could you give me some ideas of how I should be eating? Or a good meal plan that I can follow? I have been given a 1,416 calorie per day limit. Macros are: Carbs 203 grams, Fat 84 grams Protein 65 grams. I am having a hard time finding good breakfast options and making my protein of 65 grams daily. I don’t eat eggs so that cause problems for breakfast. I pretty much eat everything else. Any help that you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

– Eric H.

Answer:

First and foremost, your provided macronutrient targets provide 1,828 total calories (812 calories carbohydrate, 756 calories fat, 260 calories protein), a considerable difference from your caloric limit. If the goal is qualitative, then the approach should be more precise. Not knowing which is more important for you, I’d go with the higher caloric target as you are working out and 1,400 calories may only be appropriate for significant weight loss, older or smaller-framed men.

We don’t provide meal plans, though several sample meals can be found throughout our Living Healthy blog. Since breakfast is the most challenging meal for you, here are some breakfast suggestions that provide roughly 550 calories.* I’ve broken that down as approximately 60 gram carb, 25 gram fat and 20 gram protein.

By working on your own lunch and dinner options, you can get close to the remainder macronutrients for the day. Quality can’t be overlooked, though! Foods with high micronutrient, fiber and unsaturated fat content will make a big difference even if you’re slightly off your gram or calorie goals.

* Calculated by Registered Dietitian Nutritionist using Fitday.com’s food log function. Findings were used along with RDN’s professional judgment.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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The Best Supplement for Lean Muscle Mass

The Best Supplement for Lean Muscle Mass

Question:

Hi, what would be the best supplement to become leaner and cut muscle?

– Lito J.

Answer:

The leanest, most cut people are generally considered bodybuilders. They most commonly use arginine, beta-alanine, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), caffeine, citrulline malate, creatine monohydrate, glutamine, and beta-hydroxy-methylbutyrate (HMB). Among these, creatine has been shown to be effective for muscle size and strength when added to a weight training program.1,2 The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) states that “creatine monohydrate is the most effective ergogenic nutritional supplement currently available to athletes in terms of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training.”2 Beta-alanine further improves lean mass gains and body fat loss in conjunction with creatine supplementation.1  

Arginine and citrulline malate may have ergogenic effects but do not conclusively alter body composition. The BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) decrease muscle protein breakdown and increase skeletal muscle protein synthesis though these have not translated to increased lean mass. The stimulant caffeine, taken pre-workout, increases strength training performance which allows you to do more muscle-building work.

Read about related topics on our Living Healthy blog – overall supplements and nitric oxide boosters.

Resources:

  • Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. Helms ER, Aragon AA, Fitschen PJ. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. May 2014; 11:20. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-11-20
  • International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Safety and Efficacy of Creatine Supplementation in Exercise, Sport and Medicine. RB Kreider, et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. June 2017; 14:18. doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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