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Brian Stone 12-03-2010 10:41 AM

Body Fat Level and Performance
 
I did some searching and couldn't find any discussion related to this topic so was hoping someone might have the info. I believe I recall reading in the past that there is an approximate body fat range in which the body functions most optimally - something like 10-18% for males I believe. Is this correct and, if so, in what capacity? Does anyone have more information / resources that explore this phenomenon?

Steven Low 12-03-2010 11:14 AM

Likely.

It's just basically because the body functions better when it has some amounts of triglycerides in store to use as energy during exercise.

If you have very little body thinks your starving and cuts down your metabolism and is more likely to steal protein from your muscles as energy and other things of that nature. Not exactly conducive to optimal athletic performance.

No clue on sources... you'll have to look for those in nutrition metabolism or something.

Derek Weaver 12-03-2010 10:34 PM

There are a lot of hormonal issues that arise when bodyfat goes too low. For women, disruptions in the menstrual cycle is a big one. For men, a drop off in testosterone resulting in a lack of other types of performance in addition to athletics.

Not to mention down regulation of thyroid, screwed up leptin etc.

This is maybe the one thing that they got right at the Crossfit Level 1 cert, noting during the nutrition overview that you'll tend to perform best with a little more fat on you than you'd like to see.

No idea where this site got its info, but there's a interesting couple of tables down the page towards the bottom. http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com...ercentage.html

Samuel Hughes 12-04-2010 09:36 AM

So last winter I dabbled in some ridiculous body comp levels. I feel that since then strength and size have been very slow in coming as compared to before then. Derek, Steven, anyone - I know theres no easy fix, but is there anything you have found that actually works, other than the obvious time and appropriate rest, that might help me reset this stuff?

Jarod Barker 12-04-2010 11:24 AM

I'm not sure the percentage, but I know when my abs are REALLY visible, like deep depressions between the muscles, when I sweat, it smells like ammonia, so apparently my body is breaking down my muscles to use the protein for energy at that point.

So, just anecdotally, I'd say, yes, you perform better with some body fat based on my experience. Where that percentage lies.... I'd say probably closer to 10% than 18%. When I did GOMAD, I was probably approaching 20% and my performance was not so hot. I seem to PR most often when I'm at that point where the two top abdominals are just barely starting to show. I get leaner than that and I start to bonk on longer workouts and runs.

Derek Weaver 12-04-2010 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Samuel Hughes (Post 83747)
So last winter I dabbled in some ridiculous body comp levels. I feel that since then strength and size have been very slow in coming as compared to before then. Derek, Steven, anyone - I know theres no easy fix, but is there anything you have found that actually works, other than the obvious time and appropriate rest, that might help me reset this stuff?

I'm guessing that you're too lean?

If that's the case there are a couple of things I would think may be affecting you. This would be more of a basic checklist. If you answer yes to any of these, move along below.
1) You are likely still in a state of over reaching or possibly overtrained.
2) You may have some lingering injuries that don't seem to get better.
3) You're cold all the time
4) Your sleep sucks, and you're probably moody.
5) Your, um, personal life ain't what it used to be.

again, this isn't medical advice, talk to your doctor, I'm not liable if you get worse:

Like you said, you likely would need plenty of rest. And food. If you are still pulling out from having uber low bodyfat, eat more, rest more. Make your rest active rest only to the point that it helps you. If it doesn't make you feel a little better in some way, it's not good.

One of the negatives that is being discussed in a mass gain thread right now is that so many people on a Paleo diet get so low on carbs relative to their activity levels that they get seriously jacked up. Carbs are inessential if you don't do much. if you like to be active and carry a decent volume of training, you'll have to reconcile with yourself to increase your intake.

For more information on how carbs can affect performance and possibly even health, check out this guy, if you can stand a little causticity:
http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=815
http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=751
http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=694
http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=598

You can also spend several hour, or even days, perusing Lyle's site, James Krieger's site etc.

Lastly, if you're concerned with issues pertaining to inflammation, you need to eat more plants.

Samuel Hughes 12-04-2010 01:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derek Weaver (Post 83761)
I'm guessing that you're too lean?

If that's the case there are a couple of things I would think may be affecting you. This would be more of a basic checklist. If you answer yes to any of these, move along below.
1) You are likely still in a state of over reaching or possibly overtrained.
2) You may have some lingering injuries that don't seem to get better.
3) You're cold all the time
4) Your sleep sucks, and you're probably moody.
5) Your, um, personal life ain't what it used to be.

again, this isn't medical advice, talk to your doctor, I'm not liable if you get worse:

Like you said, you likely would need plenty of rest. And food. If you are still pulling out from having uber low bodyfat, eat more, rest more. Make your rest active rest only to the point that it helps you. If it doesn't make you feel a little better in some way, it's not good.

One of the negatives that is being discussed in a mass gain thread right now is that so many people on a Paleo diet get so low on carbs relative to their activity levels that they get seriously jacked up. Carbs are inessential if you don't do much. if you like to be active and carry a decent volume of training, you'll have to reconcile with yourself to increase your intake.

For more information on how carbs can affect performance and possibly even health, check out this guy, if you can stand a little causticity:
http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=815
http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=751
http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=694
http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=598

You can also spend several hour, or even days, perusing Lyle's site, James Krieger's site etc.

Lastly, if you're concerned with issues pertaining to inflammation, you need to eat more plants.

Yeah, I was way lean. And off your list, I have been sleeping less well for a while and am possibly overtrained (who knows?). The problem is I came down with CNS lyme disease this summer, the symptoms of which totally confound any self assessment I do. I'd never been sick before and it just wrecked my life, sleep included. I didn't have a clue what was going on and kept just trying to push through in both the gym and at work. Eventually I spiked fevers so bad I couldn't function and developed a bells palsy (facial paralysis). At that point... I saw a doctor.

As far as carbs go, for someone who works pretty hard in the gym, is 1-2g/minute lifting an appropriate addition to my standard low carb diet? I'm looking to get a little stronger for the next few months. I just don't even have a since of what is appropriate any more...

And thanks for the links. I haven't browsed them yet but will asap. I know the answers are probably in there.

PS. If I do get worse, you can definitely expect to hear from my lawyer... :p . But seriously, thanks for the reply.

Derek Weaver 12-05-2010 01:35 AM

Emile,
You do go by Emile right? I think I saw you mention that to someone in the training logs. If not, then Samuel:
Check this article out, and scroll through to the table for a decent table on how many carbs you may want/need. http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...-you-need.html

Outside of that particular article I would also suggest these:
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/cat...n-fundamentals.

If you have time, you may also check out the different article sections pertaining to each specific macro nutrient. Lyle's work, in my opinion isn't any better than most other's. He's just more organized, and a bit obsessive in hashing out the details.

For the record, I'm not anti low carb, or pro high carb. I'm pro-whatever is appropriate for the situation, training, individual.

Brian Stone 12-06-2010 08:35 AM

Thanks for the replies. Anecdotally I'm definitely inclined to agree, though I question if things are less "efficient" just because the body is over a certain BF%, at least in and of itself. I vaguely seeing the idea tossed about as a given in some articles or threads I've read in the past and it happens to be an issue of recent interest to me.

As Derek mentioned, early CF readings may have first planted the bug, but I am really thinking of something I saw since then that cited very specific BF% range (for males IIRC) - something like 10-18%, outside of which things didn't work as well in either direction. I would think that if this research had any credibility or real thorough backing, we'd see implementation of the theory in top level sports that have weight classes. Then again, I've seen some articles on aggressive weight-cutting being extremely deleterious of performance, but that is still done aggressively in sports to success, so it must really depend.

Samuel Hughes 12-06-2010 08:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derek Weaver (Post 83787)
Emile,
You do go by Emile right? I think I saw you mention that to someone in the training logs. If not, then Samuel:
Check this article out, and scroll through to the table for a decent table on how many carbs you may want/need. http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...-you-need.html

Outside of that particular article I would also suggest these:
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/cat...n-fundamentals.

If you have time, you may also check out the different article sections pertaining to each specific macro nutrient. Lyle's work, in my opinion isn't any better than most other's. He's just more organized, and a bit obsessive in hashing out the details.

For the record, I'm not anti low carb, or pro high carb. I'm pro-whatever is appropriate for the situation, training, individual.

Derek- I really appreciate this. And yes I go by Emile. If I spend any more time browsing this stuff today I may get fired but I will read it asap. Just out of curiousity, where/why/when did you gather all this knowledge? Not just the recommendations but the knowledge of where to look? What's your history? Thanks again man, this stuff looks truly helpful.


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