As I have mentioned in one of my previous posts, Asians have been shown to have lower BMI’s yet higher body fat percentage. In addition to that, studies have strongly shown that there is a correlation between the types of fat we store that affects Asians to develop serious health concerns in comparison to others.
Firstly, I would like to explain the differences in two types of fat we have. There is subcutaneous fat, that is the visible and jiggly fat around your trunk. This type of fat is usually harmless and not a risk factor for health issues. Then there is visceral fat. This type of is the fat that is stored around a number of vital organs such as your liver in your abdomen area. Healthy levels of visceral fat help protect your organs and play a role in your immune function. However, having too much visceral fat plays a dangerous role with increased risk of health problems such as:
Type 2 diabetes
Obesity is usually thought of what you can see in the mirror. The real issue is what you can’t see. A study in 2015 has found that those with greater amounts of visceral fat were more likely at risk of death than those with more subcutaneous fat. In fact, evidence shows subcutaneous fat can actually protect the health of those with more visceral fat.
How can you measure visceral fat?
Other than getting scans done, the best way to measure how much visceral fat is with a tape measure. Measuring the waistline starting from your belly button. A woman with 89cm or more is more likely to have excess visceral fat. Also, Harvard health states that 10% of your body fat will be visceral fat.
What’s the solution?
Stress is a big factor when it comes to visceral fat! This is because when you are stressed you release cortisol hormones which increase the amount of visceral fat someone can hold. Relaxation and meditation is recommended.
Low carb, high protein diet change
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) – Perfect balance between resistance and aerobic training. Studies have shown a change in lifestyle for weightloss will in fact burn visceral fat, helping you shed what matters.
3 Simple exercises to get rid of visceral fat
Not only does rowing get rid of visceral fat, it also strengthens your upper arms and your spine and helps the formation of your abs which is key for Asian women.
When we focus on visceral fat, running is one of the best options. Visceral fat will surely reduce as it also targets the hidden fat in your abdomen. Running for beginners can start with brisk walks 2-3 times a week, then to slow jogs to progress to higher intensity and extended runs.
Squatting is the best way to focus on visceral fat when it comes to strength training. As it helps your heart to pump and as you sweat more the fat tissues in your upper legs and abdomen start to burn. Beginners should be guided with a Personal Trainer for proper form as injuries may occur if performed incorrectly.
The purpose of this post today is to inform you that your understanding and knowledge of what ever your fitness purpose is, must change!
A minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity is recommended in Australia, and just under half of Australians are reaching this at 48%.
What does this look like for Asians?
Now, there’s not enough research in Australia that breaks down physical activity by ethnicity but I came across a Physical Activity Health study done in the UK 2019… And the number of Asians in the UK that are physically active are the lowest among other ethnics at 55% and the highest in inactivity at 31%.
On a larger scale, this has been proven as well. Research done by the World Health Organisation highlights that South-East Asian come second, after America (39%) when it comes to insufficient physical activity among adults (30.5%).
So what are the barriers? Culture.
Exercise has never been a part of my family’s life – let alone, a structured exercise lifestyle? It’s deemed to be irrelevant, undervalued and a very low priority. Instead of suggestions from my parents to “go for a run” or participate in any sport, I did fuck all. There was this study done in Taiwan where 50% of Taiwanese people admitted that they did absolutely no physical activity and only 18.9% of them were currently doing some sort of exercise.
All I knew was: I want to be skinny. If you want to lose weight, don’t eat. Losing weight and exercise? I was just not conditioned to put those two things together.
I used this method for close to a year and was told I had malnutrition. This is the reason why Asians are “fat-skinny” or why we are more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes and other health risks. Our culture doesn’t inform us with the foundation, so how would we know?
This isn’t just specific to Asian women but a lot of my female clients. Many believe lifting weights will make them “buff” and seem “masculine”. I mean sure, if you’re lifting heavy, training hard and eating the right food to have the goal of muscle mass then yes, it’s possible. But it takes years of very hard work to achieve this.
There are three types of body types – Mesomorph, and Endomorph Ecomorph. Those with Mesomorph body types can gain muscle easier than those with Edomorph or Ecomorph body types. The idea is majority of Asian women are Ecomorphs with higher body fat percentage (will explain this in another post). This is why Asian women should embrace strength training in their exercise routine rather than being afraid of it as strength training is proved to elevate your metablism for longer.