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General Questions

  • What does body sculpting mean?

    "Sculpting", just like "toning" and "shaping" are all words invented by companies in an effort to confuse consumers and make more money.  I have seen plenty of these advertisements where they have a huge guy on a cardio machine and imply that he buffed up using this cardio machine several times a week.  Common sense should tell you that that's a load of garbage - it's all a money-making scheme.

    Getting in shape, in theory, is simple.  A new fancy term is invented every day, but if you want to get in shape all you need to do is stick to the basics.  You have fat and you have muscle.  You can do the following:

    1. Increase or decrease muscle size (just like inflating or deflating a balloon)

    2. Increase or decrease muscle length (ie. your flexibility - this will not change your physical appearance)

    3. Increase or decrease body fat

    That's it.  Flexibility is important, but it won't make any difference in your physical appearance (unless you sit with both legs behind your head!).  The other 2 are what will make all the difference to how you look.

    All those fancy terms refer to points 1 and 3.  You need to build your muscle up to a size that you are comfortable with, but at the same time have a fairly low body fat so you can actually see that muscle.  You can't change the actual shape of your muscle - just like you can't change the shape of the balloon - it either gets bigger or smaller.

  • Jay, what body type are you?

    I am primarily a mesomorph leaning slightly to the ectomorph side of the scale.

    I used to think I was a "hardgainer" - but finally realised that this was more due to lack of understanding of how to build muscle effectively rather than my genetics. Currently I feel I have very good control over my body - gaining/losing fat/muscle mass.

  • Hey Jay. I'm in the USA and there's all kind of crap over our televisions advertising the latest products. I get really upset about this. Do you get as upset when you see these commercials as I do?

    YES!  These big companies are preying upon uninformed consumers.  Low fat, high fat, high protein, good fats, bad fats, low carb, long-lasting energy...you name it, they've advertised it.

    Over here we have a cereal that is advertised as "high in protein for building muscle and carbo's for energy to last throughout the day!" (mind you, it has a GI of 66 and the protein comes from grains...good luck building muscle on that!).  But it's not only restricted to the television, pick up the latest magazine, newspaper or even walk into the gym and see this crap everywhere you go.

    I get very annoyed myself - it's no wonder that people complain when they don't get the results they were expecting.  The whole reason why I set up Amino Z to hopefully provide some insight to those that are uninformed.

  • If I stop lifting weights, will my muscle turn into fat?

    No!

    This is one of the fallacies of the fitness world that has plagued the industry for years.  Muscle tissue is completely different to fat tissue.  A synonymous question would be 'can fat turn into bone?'.

    Both tissues have completely different functions.  Primarily, muscle generates force whilst fat stores energy within the body.  Both tissues can increase or decrease in size.  So, you either lose/gain fat mass OR lose/gain muscle mass.  The two are completely separate from one another.

    This misunderstanding is due to many bodybuilders becoming fatter when they cease their training.  Their muscle mass will decrease and no doubt their activity levels will too.  As a result, their body will require less calories every day to sustain themselves.  But, if they were to maintain a large diet they will acquire body fat - which is often the case.  (As a rule of thumb, the heavier you are, the more calories you require on a daily basis and muscle mass requires more energy than fat mass).

  • I've got some body fat callipers to determine my body fat. How do I calculate my fat loss and muscle gain simultaneously?

    There is a mathematical method, but to make matters easy I've put up a calculator that does it all for you here.  It's proved very helpful to me whilst both my cutting and bulking.

    Also remember that body fat callipers aren't 100% accurate so there will be a slight error in your readings.

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