Monday, February 20, 2012

Body Fat % check-up

So this weekend was rather droll.  I rested on Friday, icing  my knee to make sure it didn't have issues.  It felt good Saturday, so I took my oldest with me to spin class.  It was a really aggressive class, and my legs were tired afterwards but felt good.  Iced my knee to make sure it didn't hurt later, and then rested the remainder of Saturday.  Sunday it rained all day long, so I ended up running a bunch of much needed errands instead of working out.  I had hoped to get to the pool Sunday afternoon, but the errands ended up taking longer than I expected, and we literally ran out of time.

That said, I had more time to look at my progress this year, and take down some real numbers.  I'm a numbers kind of guy (if you haven't noticed from my Strava usage), so I like to keep track of where I am and what's happening a lot.  I had noticed that my body fat % on my scale had changed from around 38% in early January down to around 32% last week.  A 6% change seems massive but what does it really mean.  From my reading up online, the math for making this into real numbers is pretty simple, and since I weigh myself at approximately the same time every week (first thing in the morning, typically on Friday), the water % issue is less of a worry as far as the "relative change" perspective.  Is my scale 100% accurate?  I doubt it, but since I'm using the same scale for all of these reports, I feel I've been consistent on what I've experienced.

In early January I weighed in at a heft 257 lbs and 38% body fat.  The simple math shows that I had around 98 lbs of fat lying around under my skin at the time!  Using the math in this regard really grosses me out.  It also tells me that as of mid January my lean body mass was around 159lbs and my "ideal goal weight" should be around 205lbs (a weight with my lean body + approximately 18% body fat).  Last week when I weighed in I was at a trimmer 238 lbs and 32% body fat.  That means in about a month and a half I dropped down to 76 lbs of fat and a lean body mass of 162.  So I gained 5 lbs of muscle while dropping 22 lbs of fat.  Also calculating the "goal weight" at this point still shows me looking at 205 lbs as my goal if I get to 18% bodyfat (210 if I go up to 20% bodyfat which is the top end of the "normal" range).

What does this mean?  Actually it speaks volumes for me.  First it's a great way to show what the efforts that I'm putting in mean without just looking at a scale.  Second it gives me a "Real" goal weight, instead of just some number pulled out of dark and stinky places to put onto a "Goal" line in my head.  Having a realistic number to look at means I know what my body is actually capable of, and gives me something to look forward to.  The last time I was sub-220lbs was in 1993, and I wasn't all that healthy at the time.  19 years later I can say with strength that a goal weight of 210 is reasonable for 2012, and something I can aspire to.

I'm interested in doing the math on fat lost over time.

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