Improving body composition, defined as the percentage of our body weight that is comprised of muscle versus fat, is a paramount goal for the clear majority of exercisers. Two primary interventions drive body composition improvement: 1. Strength training in order to increase lean muscle tissue; and 2. Nutrition intended to lose body fat (and support increased muscle tissue). With so much misinformation and wasted effort in our pursuit of improved body composition, I thought I would share a success story that illustrates an evidence-based, albeit unpopular approach to improving body composition.
Our entire training staff read an article published in the Journal of Nutrition that chronicled and provided historical context for the famed “Minnesota Starvation Experiment.” This study commenced in 1944 toward the end of WWII. Ancel Keys, a physiologist at the University of Minnesota conducted the most exhaustive study in human history on the topic of human starvation. The aim of the study was to learn what happens to humans when they are systematically starved. Equally as important, Keys (and the War Department) wanted to identify a prudent way to re-feed or re-fuel the massive populations of starved POW’s as the war seceded. The end result was a 1385-page text titled “The Biology of Human Starvation.”
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