Well I got dunked today. For anyone that’s not familiar with body fat testing processes, the dunk is considered the most accurate and involves you being dunked under water (fat floats). I visited Fitness Wave in San Diego (www.getdunkedsd.com). Very helpful owner and easy process.
I was tested about a year ago (prior to my fall off the wagon) and weighed about 180 with a 14% body fat. Today, I was slightly higher: 188 and 15.9%. Not surprising, I guess. I knew I’d put on some weight since my last dunk, but I was hopeful nonetheless.
I also had a resting metabolic rate (“RMR”) test. For anyone looking to lose weight effectively, this is THE test for you. You get a detailed printout of how many calories your body burns at rest (i.e. sleeping). From this, you can figure out what you need to do in order to become more fit and lower your body fat percentage.
FYI: one pound of body fat is equal to approximately 3500 calories. In order to lose one pound of pure body fat a week, you need to have about a 500 calorie deficit each day. Two things to remember in case you haven’t heard them before:
- First, for sustainable weight loss, you shouldn’t try to lose more than two pounds per week.
- The reason for this is based on the second thing to remember: when you lose weight, it WILL NOT be pure fat. There will be some percentage of lean muscle lost in every pound you lose. The amount of lean muscle lost will depend on your diet and the types of exercise that you do.
- A general rule is that the more weight you lose in any given week, the higher percentage of that weight loss is coming from muscle rather than fat. In order to minimize this, make sure you integrate strength training into your routine somehow. If you don’t, you’ll end up lowering your RMR so much that if you ever stop working out you’ll gain the weight back even quicker than you put it on the first time.
For me, I know what I need to do to effectively lower my body fat percentage: Build more lean muscle mass (increases your RMR). That’s it. I already eat healthy and get plenty of cardio in. Really, I just need to build more muscle so that I’m burning more calories when I’m sitting around at a desk or watching TV at night.
So, here’s my plan (it worked before…it should work again):
Separate weight-lifting workouts and cardio workouts. Granted, it’s more economical (time-wise) to combine these two activities. However, often times you can leave your body running on too little fuel and it starts to break down muscle in order to fuel itself (this is why you always see muscle-bound guys carrying little shakes all around the gym or drinking them shortly thereafter). This is very counterproductive. If you can afford to break these workouts in two, do it for a while in order to build your lean muscle mass. Alternatively, if this isn’t an option, try to do your cardio first and then eat a small recovery snack before you hit the weights and then again immediately after you’re done (see below).
Eat protein-based recovery meal within 30 minutes of strength training workout. Nothing too big here folks. Don’t spend an hour lifting weights and then go out and get an extra-large Jamba Juice. You’ll get bigger, but not in the ways you want to. Water and about 200-250 calories with a large portion of those calories coming from protein.
I’ll probably get tested again in about three months or so. I’m shooting for a sub 10% body fat percentage…but we’ll see what my trip to Vegas in May has to say about that.