Society continually invents new words to help us politely avoid saying what we really mean in terms of body composition. It is a consequence of the politically correct world we live in. Yet ask someone who really wants to make a body composition change if they desire to be less heavy, less overweight, less buxom and they will tell you they want to lose...fat!
Ask a cyclist and they are a little less aesthetic. They crave only lightness to defeat gravity and resistance to propel faster and with more ease.
Overcoming the psychological barriers around this disgusting word - FAT - is something all of us should strive for and here's why.
Look behind you! It's eating your muscle!
It can't be fair, that we have to plan our training and nutrition in such a way that we burn fat more than glycogen only for fat to be eating muscle behind our backs. It's true though.
Visceral fat, the most dangerous sort, which surrounds our internal organs release a variety of substances collectively called adipokines. Adipokines affect the speed of your metabolism, which leads to fat stores increasing. It has also been proven in clinical studies to degrade the quality of muscle mass which again leads to more fat as a result of less energy usage and circulation through the muscles.
Avoid this vicious circle by cutting the visceral.
Aerodynamic drag whilst on a bicycle is affected by a number of factors. Some within our control and some which are beyond it. Whilst we can't change the air's density, we do have the ability to change or reduce our frontal area. We do this by altering our position and also the amount of profile we present to the oncoming air. Air drag is increased substantially with this increase in surface area. Reducing subcutaneous fat, which sits just below your skin will lead to more speed for less effort.
Slim-down to speed-up.
You got me burning up!
The regulation of our body's temperature in exercise is controlled by the surrounding air temperature we are in and internally by sweating. There is, however, a limit to how well this heat can be dissipated and that is dictated by the body fat which lies between the muscles producing the heat and the more cool atmosphere.
Increases in heat have been shown to reduce power for a given intensity and also a raising in blood lactate levels. More body fat, means more sweating as the body attempt to control the rise in temperature. More sweating means body water deficits greatly reduce athletic performance.
Don't get burned, get lean to be cool.
For so long the attachments to healthy eating have been compressed files of negative thought patterns engaged with the guilt of eating bad food, perceptions of socially acceptable body profiles, health risks and much more.
What about trashing the negative and feeding on the positive? Your body reacts better to certain foods and as an athlete, you can perform better; you have fewer health issues, and you are able to perform in different climates better.
The trick is not to think of healthy eating as a cumbersome exercise in avoiding the bad stuff, but to consider it as another session where you are doing good work. It's the same mental strength you use to complete an interval. The secret to cutting the fat is to find your way of winning those mind games in the kitchen too.
Controlling your visceral fat levels will help protect lean muscle quality
Reducing your subcutaneous fat will improve your aerodynamics and make speed easier.
Increases in temperature affect performance, maximise potential by losing excess fat.
In conclusion, if we take body composition, and nutrition as a factor seriously, we have the ability to improve our performance as well as our health.