The Science, Math, & Art of Changing Body Composition
Whether you want to lose weight, have bigger muscles, get tone, have a six pack, or any other changes in your body, they all require changes in your body composition. Making any changes to your body composition is a complex process. It takes a combination of science to understand how your body works, math to measure the right metrics, and an art to perform well. This can take a lifetime of learning and experimenting to get them right. I will share my top 3 principles for the science, math, and art of changing my body composition.
Before diving into the principles, I want to first define body composition. Body composition is the ratio of everything that we are made of. It is typically split into things that change over time and things that typically stay them.
The two things that change is our fat mass and our muscle mass. Things that typically stay the same are our bones, organs, and everything else. Simply put, when we refer to body composition we are referring to ratio of our non-essential body fat and muscle tissue. These are the two main categories that change over time that influence our health and longevity.
When I pick a goal, it is important that I understand my main objective. Weight loss I'm attempting to reduce my non-essential fat (stored fat). Building muscle I'm attempting to increase muscle tissue. Toning, six packs, and being lean I'm attempting to both maintain as much of my muscle tissue and reduce my non-essential fat low enough to see the muscles.
My 3 Principle for the Science of Body Composition
Principle #1 We are complex adaptive systems.
The first principle that helps me understand how my body works is to understand the trait of a complex adaptive system. A complex adaptive system is a single system that is made of of many individual components. There are two key traits of a complex adaptive system that I apply to my body.
The first trait is that each component acts independently and almost unrecognizable from the entire system. Our organs and systems work independently to who we are as people. That is why can't just tell our heart to stop beating, our body to reduce fat, or our muscles to grow bigger. Even though they are a part of our body, they act independently.
I've learned that it is easier to get what I want by understanding and aligning with how each component of my body works.
The second trait of an complex adaptive system is that each individual component and the entire system adapts to it's environment. When I store fat or lose fat, it is an adaptation from my eating and drinking. When I lose muscle or gain muscle it is an adaptation to how I use or don't use my muscles.
I've learned that I cannot directly order my body to change how much fat or muscle I want. Instead I can influence them by changing the environment that I put them in. If I want to gain fat, I will out my body in an environment of a constant surplus of calories. If I want to lose fat, I will put my body in an environment of a constant deficit of calories. If I want to lose muscle, I will put my body in a constant state of non use. If I want to increase my muscle, I will put my body in a constant state of increased stress.