body comp update

Body Measurements on Sunday, Dec. 5th, 2010
Weight Observed

Suprailiac Skinfold

Body Fat %

Fat Mass

Lean Mass

180.5 lbs

less than 6mm

less than 11.5%

less than 20.75 lbs

more than 159.75 lbs

In the past two weeks, since my last weigh-in, I appear to have lost 3.5 lbs, but I suspect most of this is the loss of water due to a return to a lower total carbohydrate intake. Also, I seriously doubt that I have lost all the lean mass I had apparently gained as of three weeks ago.

To me, what matters are the following observations.

My weight measurements may seem “volatile” lately but my average weight actually remains pretty stable. If you look at the average weight observed in any given calendar month, it gives a more realistic picture of the “changes.” Going into November there was a slight increase in my overall mass (both fat and lean), and since reaching a peak the week before Thanksgiving, I have dropped back down.

Aug: avg. weight 182. Sep: avg. weight 182. Oct: avg. weight 181.75. Nov: avg. weight 186. Dec: avg. weight: 180.5. 3 month moving average: Aug-Oct: 181.9. Sep-Nov: 183.25. Oct-Dec: 182.75.

Week to week, the raw numbers, combined with the (obviously imprecise) body fat % estimates that come from measuring my suprailiac skinfold, might make it seem like I am gaining and losing muscle mass at a kind of ridiculous pace. But that’s likely not very real. My skinfold measure has consistently hovered near 6mm, going above as my weight goes up and below as it goes down, which basically suggests that fat stores and hydration may vary but the underlying muscle mass is either stable or perhaps growing.

The best indicator of that is probably the fact that I have consistently hit new PRs week to week this fall; most recently, gaining three new PRs in the last week alone (Monday, PR in Back Squat; Wednesday, PR in Hang Power Clean; Saturday, PR in 5k run).

Slow and steady progress.

I remain fairly committed to the idea that if my weight remains stable over time (i.e. hovers between 180 and 185) while I make gains in strength and speed (and any other measures of fitness, such as acquisition of new skills or demonstrations of other physical feats), then that means I am either honing the neuromuscular system in a positive way or gaining muscle mass… or both. And that suits me well.


  1. All this empirical data is fine, but how do you LOOK dude? We live in a narcissistic, image-obsessed society, so the question is: can you bare your cut torso in People magazine as a B-list movie hunk? Smart money says you can…

    Your discipline and dedication is an inspiration to everyone out here, so we know you’re on the right track; but you must be getting ripped up in this piece, Homie, so give up the goods and update that picture of you from like two summers ago and show us the money!

  2. You’re too kind as usual Dr.

    Yes. I am ripped. :-)

    I promise to make someone take a picture of me in Hawaii this January. (Yes. Hawaii. My mom is taking the family to Hawaii for her 70th birthday party.)

    Against my better judgment I will even post it online.

Let me know what you think...