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>>> MECHANISMS FOR FAT LOSS AND MUSCLE PRESERVATION <<< DIET COMPOSITION AND INCREASING LEAN MUSCLE TISSUE RANGE OF EFFECTIVE APPROACHES FOR BODY COMPOSITION PROTEIN, WEIGHT LOSS AND WEIGHT GAIN ======================================== This topic is actually really easy to summarise: Calories in VS Calories out. Simple as that. You may have already heard me talking about this on a few occasions now, but it’s important as all weight/ fat loss is governed by this fundamental principle. Although this is an incredibly simple principle, there are various different factors that manipulate the ‘calories out’ section, which we will be going into more detail here. There are a handful of sections that cover all aspect of our energy expenditure, they are as follows: -THERMIC EFFECT of FOODS - (Which basically means that as we digest food, a proportion of the energy is lost in the form of heat) -BASAL METABOLIC RATE – (Also known as resting metabolic rate and Resting Energy expenditure, this is the amount of energy our body and internal organs need to survive.) -NON EXERCISE ACTIVITY THERMOGENESIS – (A posh was of saying, the energy used up when not at complete rest, but not in structured exercise. Walking to the shops, cleaning the house, that sort of thing.) -EXERCISE ACTIVITY THERMOGENESIS – (Energy used up during structured exercise sessions) These are the areas which determine how much energy your body uses up in a day. Fully get to grips with these areas and you have full power over your results, simple as that 😉 Let’s take a look at these areas in more detail: 1. THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD >>>>

When we consume foods, some of the energy contained within it is released via heat during the process of digestion.

Now the amount of energy that is used up in the process of digestion in exact amounts is actually up for debate still, BUT we do have some accurate ranges to work with so we can understand this area in more depth:

Protein = 20-30%, Carbohydrates = 6-8%, Fat = 2-15% and Alcohol = 10-30% of total calories lost through the process of digestion.
This basically means that if you consumed 100 cals of protein, 20-30 calories of this food is lost when digested! That’s quite a chunk!

As you can see the ranges actually fluctuate quite a lot, and the reason for this is down to the molecular structures of different foods.
When we take a closer look at fats for example, the digestion of medium chain triglycerides take up more energy than digesting long chain triglycerides (Medium and Long sized fat molecules).

Whether or not your food has been processed seems to make a difference too. An experiment took place whereby 2x cheese sandwiches were consumed by a group of participants. One was processed in a factory, one wasn’t. The results showed that the processed foods used less energy to digest the food, which means that more of the energy contained within the food will have been absorbed, and less released as heat during digestion!

Really interesting piece of research, but before we make any broad sweeping statements, it’s important to note that more research is needed in this area.


This section is quite simple to summarise, it’s basically the amount of calories your body needs to function each day, and essentially ‘survive’.

We know the percentage of total energy used by the internal organs to be as follows:

-Adipose (Fat) tissue = 4%
-Bones, Skin, Intestine, Glands = 16%
-Muscle Tissue = 20%
-Liver = 21%
-Brain = 22%
-Heart = 9%
-Kidneys = 8%

So a good take-home message here is that as your muscle mass increases, so too does your daily energy expenditure!
If you lose lots of weight but from both fat AND muscle tissue, your basal metabolic rate will actually drop as a result, making it harder for you to carry on losing weight and maintain your weight loss.
Make sure you have strength training and protein elements of your program dialled in as much as possible as a result!

This section generally accounts for around 60-70% of most people’s total daily energy expenditure too!


This area amounts to the energy used up at work, leisure, basic daily activities (Dish washing, folding clothes etc.) as well as non-conscious activities such as fidgeting.

NEAT varies MASSIVELY from person to person, accounting for around 15-30% of total daily energy expenditure.
Are you relatively sedentary? How long do you sit watching telly each week? Could you be walking to visit friends/family?
This is a much overlooked area, think about it, there are 168 hours in a week, say you train 5x a week for an hour. There are still 163 hours that week available for you to increase your NEAT, even if you do this by a small amount it can have a profound effect 😉


I’m not going to go into this in any detail, because simply put it’s the amount of energy you use up during exercise. Zumba, Swimming, Rock Climbing, Gym session… you’ve got it- exercise! Haha 😛


This last section to this science corner piece will be relative to the nutritional needs when muscle mass gain (and therefore a gain in total body weight) is the primary target.

A lot of us are so used to aiming to achieve a calorie deficit in order to achieve better levels of body composition that we often don’t take a step back and realise that growth actually takes energy!

Now although it is possible to lose weight and increase muscle mass, it can be painfully slow, so increases in muscle mass is usually achieved by a phase of training whilst in a calorie surplus in order to ‘fund’ this muscle growth.

Of course the building blocks need to be there in order to create this growth too, so getting the protein recommendations right is also key.

A larger calorie surplus is more suitable for people who are a) untrained, and/or b) have a high level of NEAT (See above to remind you of what that is again!) and a smaller calorie surplus is recommended for trained people looking to increase lean muscle tissue, as this type of person can be more susceptible to fat gain under these calorie surplus conditions!

Hope you have enjoyed this section!!

on to ‘DIET COMPOSITION AND INCREASING LEAN MUSCLE TISSUE’ on the next in this science corner series!

See you there!!