Introducing the very first guest post from new blog contributer and highly respected expert, Gideon Remfry. With 20 years’ personal training experience under his belt, Gideon is a UKSCA accredited strength & conditioning coach, nutrition therapist and functional medicine consultant to reel off just some of his impressive CV. He also contributes to major publications such as Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Vogue, Red and GQ, so I”m honoured to have him here sharing his expertise with us!
Measuring Success: Weight Loss & Body Composition for Women
“I am training hard and eating healthily but I still get big fluctuations in my weight and body composition……WHY!?”
Sound familiar? Don’t worry – your journey through your monthly cycle can throw up some interesting changes like weight gain, weight loss, sugar craving, and a yoyo of energy and emotions.
So let’s talk about why weight and body composition changes so much throughout a day, a week and a month, and perhaps most importantly ….What to do about it?
“The basic laws of science would not allow you to gain 1.8kg or 4lbs of fat in a short period unless you consumed enough food for 7 people!”
What you need to know about you:
– The monthly cycle generally lasts 24-35 days with the average length being approx 28 days.
– There are 4 phases in which various symptoms and behaviors can manifest
1. Menstrual phase lasting approximately 1-5 days
– Cramps, Migraines, Breast tenderness
– Back ache, Abdominal Pain, Nausea
– #Weight loss
2. Pre-ovulatory phase days 6-13
– Day 6: Honeymoon Period
– #Lowest weight
– #Least amount of water retention
– The gradual build begins….
3. Ovulation usually on day 14-15
– Ovulation pain, Change in bodies’ Basal Temperature,
– Breast Tenderness, Increased Libido
– #Weight gain
– #Water retention
4. Post Ovulatory phase days 16-28
– Emotional, Pre Menstrual Cramps, Migraines,
– Breast tenderness, Back ache, Abdominal Pain, Nausea
– Sugar cravings – 3-5 days before menstruation
– #Weight gain
– #Water retention
If the egg is not fertilised: menstruation begins.
So you can see that Weight Fluctuations maybe linked to various factors:
– Menstrual Cycle, Hormonal changes, Stress and Inflammation play a roles in weight changes
– As does your natural circadian rhythm – lighter in the morning, heavier at night and lighter post menstrual phase, heavier premenstrual phase.
– Additionally dehydration, training and recovery, high carb meals (especially after a low carb cycle) and medication may all cause fluid retention and body composition & weight change.
What to do about it?
Scales can be very misleading: you may craps actually be LEANER than when you last measured, but appear heavier due to the reasons above…
You may be weighing in on the heaviest part of your monthly cycle around days 24-28.
Combine the following tools to create your more accurate picture of body composition – don’t just rely on the weighing scales!
– Body fat to lean muscle mass ratio via a bio-impedance machine (here)
– Or using a skilled caliper practitioner (here or similar)
– Waist to Hip measurements using a tape measure & online calculator (here)
– BMI (here)
– And then weight
– Always measure 1st thing in the morning on the1st day after your menstrual cycle has finished
– Measure fasted (before breakfast)
– If you have to weigh yourself make sure you are taking waist to hip ratio measurements and body fat alongside weight to accurately monitor body fat to lean tissue (NOT JUST WEIGHT!)
– Always follow the same protocol
– Wear the same clothes each time
– Use the same measuring apparatus and or practitioner each time
– Log details for each measurement in a diary
– Do not weigh or measure outside of these times
Once you have established your measuring protocol: Set your eyes on a Clear Prize and Establish Small Goals on the road to get there…
If weight or fat loss is your goal – small incremental goal setting and changes will lead to long term success.
– Fitness models don’t always look like fitness models
– Endurance athletes cannot maintain high volume programs forever
The clients that I see who are happiest with their achievements & body composition…..
Strive to achieve GOALS for themselves.
Are truly comfortable & HAPPY in their own skin.
Seem to hit consistency in their training because they love to workout.
Love, eat and cook healthy, natural good food (and enjoy the occasional cake).
And I have to say, most of them don’t weigh themselves anymore!