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Trans Fit: Common questions about health and fitness

Are you supposed to gain weight first before you lose weight?

That depends on your goal. If you are looking to add a few pounds of muscle mass before leaning up, you may want to try gaining some weight first. If you are gaining weight while trying to lose weight, then your caloric intake is greater than your energy expenditure.

Take a close look at how much you are actually eating (weighing and measuring food, and tracking it in a food journal).

What exercises can I do to lose weight—for instance, to get rid of my stomach—and gain definition?

Any exercise can increase energy expenditure and contribute to fat loss. However, spot reducing—eliminating fat from certain places on the body by using particular muscles—is not possible. Instead, focus on controlling your food intake and increasing your exercise to create a need for your body to pull fat from your fat stores.

As the fat under the skin is being consumed, your muscles will become more defined. However, you cannot choose where on your body the fat is lost.

I have been told that high fat meals lack food volume. What does that mean?

One gram of fat represents nine calories, whereas one gram of carbohydrates or protein represents only four Calories. Since fat is a denser source of calories, the amount of food is much smaller for a comparable number of calories.

How much protein does an "off-season" bodybuilder need?

Protein requirements for an "off season" bodybuilder range from 1.6 to 2.0 g/kg/day. Research shows that excessive protein intake does not increase total body protein synthesis if caloric needs are met.

Which is better for recovery after a workout, carbohydrates or protein?

A high carbohydrate drink with moderate protein is optimal, assuming it is within your caloric recommendations. Considering that your primary energy source for resistance training is glycogen (from carbohydrate intake), replacing glycogen enhances recovery by initiating an anabolic (muscle building) environment.

How do I know my daily caloric needs?

Daily caloric needs (sometimes called maintenance calories) refer to the number of calories you require for basic physiological functions, combined with the number of calories you need for specific daily activities. The sum of these two numbers equals your daily caloric needs.

How many calories do I need to burn to lose a pound?

You must burn an extra 3500 calories (in excess of what you eat) to lose a pound.

I have a really hard time gaining weight! Any suggestions?

In contrast to fat loss, you must consume more calories than you expend to gain weight. One way to do that is to find foods that are low in volume and high in calories. Meal replacement bars and drinks are great for getting extra calories, when eaten in addition to your regular meals.

What are some sources of lean protein?

Chicken, fish, low-fat cottage cheese, egg whites, and turkey are just a few sources of lean protein.

More about Chris Tina Bruce

Chris Tina Bruce is a male-to-female transgender bodybuilder, spokesperson and fitness talent.

She is the founder of Be Bold Be Proud, a grassroots non-profit transgender equality organization. She is also the founder of Discover Health and Fitness, a freelance writer and the proud parent of two amazing children. She obtained her bachelor of science degree from Georgia State University, and is also a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer.

Chris Tina lives by some very simple rules and affirmations: All of life is a transition; where you are does not have to define who you will be and together we can cultivate change. Be Bold, Be Proud, Be Yourself.

For more information about Chris, her Fitness Fun Camps, private sessions, nutrition programs or next bodybuilding show, check out her website, follow her Hillcrest Fitness Facebook page, or call (972) 989-6076.

You can also follow Be Bold Be Proud on Twitter, or on Facebook.