Body Composition – phase 1

To help our members realize their goals, we are starting a weekly series devoted to achieving your ideal body composition. While body composition has long been linked to a more aesthetic form of fitness, it is possible to achieve an athletic body composition without losing strength and while training for CrossFit. Each article will delve into steps that will help you get your body where you want it! Each of us have a different result we are chasing, but the fundamentals to achieve those results are closely linked. We encourage you to comment on our Facebook page weekly with questions about your individual goals! So what is your personal goal? Fat Loss? Muscle Gain? Both? Here it is ladies and gents….the blueprint! This week we start with body types and the various goals people have in mind for their physique.

Body Composition: Which one are you?

Thin/Underweight: You have little muscle mass and body fat. Consume more calories and incorporate weight training to build muscle mass while minimizing body fat accumulation.


Average/”Skinnyfat”: You have little to a moderate amount of muscle with some body fat. You have a few options: build up muscle first then burn fat later, or burn fat first then build muscle later, or do a slower body recomposition.


Obese/Overweight: You have a moderate amount of muscle underneath a large layer of body fat. Burn fat by consuming fewer calories and incorporate an exercise program.


Muscular: You have moderate to abundant amount of muscle with little to moderate body fat. If you are at least 15% body fat (25% for women), attempt to burn excess fat. At 10% body fat (20% for women), do a slow bulk to build more muscle. If you are at your ideal physique, maintain your caloric intake and training routine.

Your Weight
Your body weight does not consist of just muscle and fat, but also water, blood, organs, waste, tissue, and bones. Your scale tells you your weight, but it doesn’t tell you how much of it is lean muscle and how much of it is fat. If you gain or lose a few pounds over the course of the day, it is likely just fluctuations of water weight. It is best to measure progress week-by-week, first thing in the morning. Please be aware that you can expect to naturally and realistically burn up to 2 lbs of fat per week (the obese can burn more) or build 0.5 lbs of muscle per week.

Body Fat
You can find out your approximate body fat percentage at home with calipers, or at a gym or a medical centre that offers DXA scans. You can roughly guess your body fat percentage by looking at your midsection in the mirror. If you have no visible abdominal muscles, you are likely over 20% body fat (or over 30% for women). If you can see partial outlines of your abs, you are likely 15-19% (25-29% for women). If you can see full abdominal muscles, you are likely at the most 10% (20% for women). Women have higher body fat percentages because of extra adipose tissue in their breasts, thighs, and glutes. Knowing your body fat is the best way to proceed with a program.

You cannot spot reduce. When you burn fat, you burn fat all over your body. Men commonly have stubborn fat in their abdominal and lower back areas while women store more fat in their thighs, glutes, and breasts. How much fat being stored there is determined by genetics.

Our height, structure, predisposition to store fat, and how muscular we are is genetically determined when we reach puberty. You can be short or you can be tall. Some women can be petite yet also be curvaceous. Some men are genetically predisposed to have large muscular legs. These factors determine our shape and appearance, and cannot be changed without surgery or drugs; however, we can control the increase and decrease of body fat and muscle to give us a new shape by understanding how diet and exercise can change our body’s appearance. Keep in mind, we have a natural limit for muscular potential.
Obesity is primarily caused by behavioral and environmental factors rather than by genetics.

Body Image
While physical appearance is a motivating reason to get fit, the primary approach should be for health. Good health is attractive, and aesthetics follow as a consequence of being healthy. With increased physical ability, confidence, and mental health, body image issues are then decreased. When focused on nutrition and exercise, your weight will take care of itself.

With the exception of very rare cases, resting metabolism is virtually the same from person to person, so there is no such thing as a fast or slow metabolism. Having more muscle than fat has an insignificant effect on metabolism. Also, having three vs. six meals in a day does not affect metabolism. Metabolism is increased through exercise, especially weight training, because of the energy expenditure during the workout and the energy required to repair the muscles.

Today’s information serves as an introduction to the type of body you have, finding your body fat percentage, personal genetic differences, and how your metabolism works. Next week we will get into Calories IN vs, Calories OUT, Thermodynamics, and how to get on the track to your goal of either Gaining Muscle, Burning Fat, or Both!