Weekly Wellness: Do you really want to lose weight?

<p>Getty Images</p>

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Welcome to “Weekly Wellness,” a new column featured here in the Doings Weekly. By way of introduction, I am a personal trainer and business owner in the sports performance industry, with a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Illinois State. In my career, I have trained people of all shapes, sizes and abilities. 

Every week, I will write columns about personal fitness, nutrition planning and general well-being. The topics will primarily be designed to relate to people of all ages, but I will also include new concepts that appeal to certain age groups and fitness levels.

Let’s talk about one of the biggest misperceptions in the health industry: losing weight.  Whether it’s for health reasons or purely from a looks perspective, people are very concerned about losing weight. The process of purely losing weight might also include the loss of lean muscle mass, which isn’t ideal, as lean muscle mass is vital in losing body fat.

Instead of losing weight, I use the term body recomposition. The definition of body recomposition that I use is the simultaneous process of losing fat while adding muscle. An ideal body recomposition scenario typically is one where an individual experiences a lowering of total body fat, while increasing lean muscle mass, resulting in an overall change in one’s physique.

For example, a 200-pound individual loses 5% body fat, which is 10 pounds of fat mass, but during the process adds 12 pounds of lean muscle, bringing him to 202 pounds. Despite an overall weight gain, this scenario puts our test subject in a healthier position than he/she was before, as he/she reduced his or her overall body fat percentage (the primary goal) while adding more muscle mass.  

The takeaway from this column should be for you to rely more on body fat measurements, or even how your clothes fit, as a better snapshot of your overall health, as opposed to what your scale reads. In future articles, I will talk about the benefits of adding lean muscle to your body, setting performance-based goals and how these two elements will help you achieve your ideal body composition. 

Matt Gallagher is the Fitness Director at MFC Sports Performance in Darien, which specializes in functional training for both adults and younger athletes. You can reach Matt by emailing him at Matt@MFCSportsPerformance.com

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