1. Hi Matt! I like a good experiment so I appreciate all the effort you’re putting into this one. Couple questions/comments though.

    1. How did you decide on the calorie intake? and the 2.5x fat?
    2. Oct 25 entry on your chart seems to have a typo 13% BF ? Should be 12% as you mention above?
    3. Based on your weigh in date, and your last measurement, it appears that you are losing lean body mass. 0.87*182 = 158.3 lbs in August. Now, .88*177.5=156.2 lbs. So it looks to me like your are losing fat and muscle at nearly an equal rate. Am i missing something?

    Cheers! and thanks for putting so much effort into documenting all of this. Steve

    • No Steve, you’re not missing anything. It should be 12% on Oct. 25th, that was where I was at. I’ll fix that.

      I totally messed up my math when I was looking at average gain and loss… I used a calculation based on the wrong column in my spreadsheet. Basically, I looked at the average of the change, week to week, in lean mass, and I saw an average of +.1, but this was an average of delta, of change. There were weeks where I measured a positive lean mass gain… enough weeks to put the average change in the positive. The problem is most likely my scale… which only measures body fat changes by the whole percentage point. For me, I have to lose 1.8 pounds of fat before a percentage point changes. And while I lose that fat, the scale basically reads it as equal body fat and muscle loss.

      I have to refigure all these numbers. :-( There’s no doubt that I have lost muscle mass along the way.

      But at this point, my sole intention is to drop fat and gain muscle, so I am trying to fine tune my diet to get where I want to be.

      I arrived at the calorie totals from basically trial and error. I go a little hot on protein, eating more than 1 g per pound of lean mass daily. Maybe I shouldn’t do that? Anyway, I usually eat protein and carbs in a 3:4 ratio, but sometimes I go colder on carbs, and eat them in a 1:1 ratio. Then I add fats to get to a calorie range where I maintain weight and feel good. But the truth is, for instance, this week, I’m not meeting those calorie goals. My body is telling me they are too high.

      So all of this is in flux.

      I’d love your further thoughts.

  2. More thoughts on this:

    Steve, you were right to be confused, but I solved the mystery.

    It’s true that in the range I specified (Aug. 22nd to Oct. 25th), I had apparently lost lean mass. But overall, I’m gaining lean mass. I measured 9 weeks of change, lined up with the dates.

    That means that the first item in the list of changes was change from the previous week!

    The previous week, Aug. 15th, I had measured bodyweight at 178.5 and lean mass of 155.3.

    Then, on Oct. 25th, I weighed in at 177.5, one pound less, with lean mass of 156.2, 0.9 pounds more.

    That was the figure I was really working with, and it explains how I had somehow apparently lost lean mass from Aug. 22nd to Oct. 25th, but reported an average change in lean mass of +0.1.

    Myself, I often get confused by lean mass readings, because a difference of 2-4 pounds is a normal variation in terms of your daily bodyweight. Sometimes the scale reads a little high (maybe the bowels are full, or water retention is higher), sometimes the scale is a little low (maybe I’m dehydrated, or haven’t eaten much that day). But that sort of variation in pounds measured on the scale is usually NOT correlated a meaningful variation in lean mass found on the body.

    Obviously, I weighed a little high on Aug. 22nd, at 182, since I was 178.5 on the 15th, and then was 178 on the 29th.

    No way did I “gain” three and a half pounds one week, and then “lose” four pounds the next. No way I was actually “gaining” and then “losing” three whole pounds of lean mass. That’s why I always emphasize… it’s the trend we must look at, and the averages of many points of data.

    Friends tell me: hey “I lost three pounds last week,” and I say, hey, “I lost three pounds TODAY.”

    The real question is: how does what you weigh right now compare to what you weighed a year ago today? or six months ago?

  3. Matt – well if we go back 6 months on YOUR data, there’s not doubt you’ve been doing something right! I’ll just tell you what my experience has been in this area. Very simply, if my calorie deficit was too great, i lost fat and muscle, if it was “moderate”, i was able to gain some muscle and lose some fat over a 8 week period. BUT, kinda small changes even though i was doing the dunk test. Specifically I saw 2.6 lbs muscle gain and 1.7 lbs fat lost. But, before that i was losing muscle and fat (straight PZ) and after that i was gaining fat and muscle (PZ with too many nuts i think) That was 6 months ago and i don’t think i’ve made substantial progress since then – so don’t think I know what i’m doing in this realm either. Like U, i got from ~ 15% to ~8% really fast just doing PZ and adding some fats as i got leaner (standard recipe). Growing muscle, on a diet that does not grow fat (or even reduces it), seems really difficult. Your efforts are inspiring me though! And again, thanks for documenting things! Steve

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