8 General Health Questions Answered


woman on gym equipment

Question #1: What are the benefits of weightlifting on the body?

The benefits of weight-training are numerous. First, weight-lifting produces an increase in lean body mass, this indirectly improves the management of weight. This is in large part due to the fact that higher energy levels are required to maintain muscle than to maintain fat, for instance.

If you see your body weight increasing on the scale, do not worry as muscle weighs more than fat. The benefit of weight-lifting on the physique is that the addition of muscle will compliment the overall body composition resulting in a more lean and muscular frame. 

Question #2: What is basal metabolic rate (BMR) and how can I measure what mine is? 

Your basal metabolism is responsible for keeping your body alive. The number measures this process when you are inactive, meaning that this is how many calories your body needs just to sustain it’s inner processes. 

BMR is influenced by body composition, body size, age and gender. For the average adult woman, her BMR is 1200-1400 kcal a day. For men, it will be at 1600-1800 kcal a day.

Click here to measure your BMR. Check out my post on fat loss for further education on the subject.

Question #3: What are the negative side effects of sleep deprivation on the body? 

Sleep deprivation is not favourable for the body’s internal processes or overall apearance. Furthermore, less than 6 hour of sleep as an adult puts you at risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome may lead to type II diabetes and result in high insulin levels. These make you more susceptible towards developing obesity.

Additionally, according to a study by Gonzalez-Ortiz and Martinez-Abundis, sleep deprivation decreases insulin sensitivity through hormonal changes including increased levels of the hormone cortisol.

Furthermore, sleeping for 5-6 hours may lead to the excess of body fat resulting from a decrease in the appetite-regulating hormone called leptin. 

A study by Chaput and colleagues found that adults who get at least 8 hours of sleep have a better time with weight management. 

Question #4: How much protein do I need to consume if I am lifting weights to put on muscle mass? What role does protein help in the muscle-building process? 

Consuming a diet rich in protein and lifting weights a few times a week is all you need in order to  maintain your muscles. Protein helps sustain your existing muscle tissue so it is the most important macronutrient to consume for this purpose.

The claim that high-protein diets cause kidney problems has been disputed in a study by W.Carbone and M.Pasakios. Their data suggests that high-protein intake does not negatively impact kidney health nor has it increased the likelihood of developing chronic kidney disease in healthy adults (Carbone, Pasakios, 2019).

Similarly, this study by Carbone and Pasakios found that habitual protein intake of 1.6 grams per body weight was adequate muscle growth. “As reflected in sports nutrition recommendations, holistic evaluation of varied experimental designs suggests that coupling post-resistance exercise protein ingestion (~20–30 g or 0.25–0.30 g/kg) with habitual protein intakes at ~1.6 g/kg/d promotes favorable muscle adaptations to exercise training” (Carbone,Pasakios, 2019).

pink liquid in clear drinking glass

Question #5: What is a healthy waist-to-hip ratio? How do I reduce fat around my waist or hips? 

A healthy waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) for men is 0.9 or less in men and 0.85 or less for women. Aesthetically, a WHR of 0.7 is thought to look the best on a woman’s body. Regardless, aiming for a WHR below 0.85 as a woman lowers your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. 

Lowering your WHR benefits both your aesthetic and long-term health. One way of lowering this number is by actually losing fat, this means changing lifestyle habits, increasing exercise and lowering calorie consumption. Click here to measure your WHR. 

woman in white tank top and blue denim bottoms

Question #6: Would you recommend eating a high-protein diet? If so, what are its benefits for fat loss? 

While the notion that a high-protein diet can suppress levels of ghrelin (appetite-regulating hormones) has recently been disputed, this idea has otherwise been used to advocate a high-protein diet.

According to a study by Meckling and Sherfey (2007), a high-protein diet is found to have better implications for overall fat loss and body composition than a low-fat diet.  This effect may have been due to the increased central nervous system leptin sensitivity (Weigle and Colleagues, 2005). Regardless, a diet that is high in protein, moderate in carbohydrate and low in saturated fat is optimal for body composition and overall health. 

High-protein diets have also been linked to improved muscle growth which is why they are advocated as being optimal for weight-lifters. Increasing muscle mass will make your body look leaner overall and will lead to a reduction of fat over time. 

brown and white eggs

Question #7: What are the benefits of doing Yoga for my health? Can you give me an example of a Yogic breathing exercise? 

Yoga improves spinal health, focus and concentration. Yoga also helps improve core strength which translates into strength for lifting weights and performing physical labor, etc.  Additionally, yoga helps draw attention to the inner breath. Other benefits include improved feelings of wellbeing, enhanced relaxation and a reduction of anxiety and depression. Despite the fact that yoga has spiritual roots, it consists of poses that can be used in conjunction to a training program. Yoga benefits recovery and rehabilitation in the case of injury and muscle soreness. 

Here is a small breathing exercise that is practiced in a Yoga class that you can perform at home to improve the quality of your breathing: 

-Sit down on your chair with your back straight and place your palms on your knees. 

-Relax your belly and focus on your breath. Start with a deep belly inhalation at the count of three. Exhalation for a count of three. Continue with this rhythmic deep belly breathing for a total of three full belly breaths with your focus on your breath the entire time.  

Question #8: What causes Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and how can I balance my hormones if I have this? 

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is caused by three main factors. The first cause of PCOS is the growth of cysts in the ovaries, the second cause is an increase in male-type hormones in the body and the final cause is hirsutism (male-pattern hair growth). The side effects of this is irregularity of the menses and potential for infertility. Other factors that put you at risk of developing PCOS is genetic predisposition. 

Since PCOS puts you at risk of developing Type II diabetes, it is especially crucial that you manage your insulin levels. You can do this by getting your blood glucose levels tested. The aim of this would be to improve your insulin levels, this can be done by utilizing three methods. The first is by having an increased intake of monounsaturated fats, by consuming frequent meals with a low-glycemic index and the final would be to lose 4%-5% of weight to improve your glucose levels. 

Sources: 

Carbone, J., & Pasiakos, S. (2019, May 22). Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit. Retrieved June 13, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566799/

Peckenpaugh, N. J., & Shackelton, A. D. (2010). Nutrition essentials and diet therapy. St. Louis, MO: Saunders/Elsevier.

S;, G. (n.d.). Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Insulin Sensitivity and Cortisol Concentration in Healthy Subjects. Retrieved June 13, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10898125/

Watson, S. (2018, September 18). Waist-to-Hip Ratio: Chart, Ways to Calculate, and More. Retrieved June 13, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/waist-to-hip-ratio

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