Body Metrics

Sunday, Aug. 15th, 2010. New Training Cycle week I, day I.

I realized today that I have not updated my weight chart in three months, since mid May. In other words, I didn’t really keep track of my weight over the summer. I did weigh myself now and then. And what I observed was that my weight went up and down, depending on circumstances (like illness, etc.)

Here’s my data from this Sunday:

Weight Measurements Sunday Aug. 15th
Weight Observed Body Fat % Implied Fat Mass Implied Lean Mass Comment
179 lbs 14% 25 lbs 154 lbs lowest amount of fat observed
182 lbs 15% 27 lbs 155 lbs highest amount of lean observed

On Sundays I will record, here on the blog, whatever data points I observe. I won’t be recording other data points if I happen to weigh myself during the week. I will record just one set of numbers in my new weight chart… whichever one yields the highest lean mass. It might be nice to add together the highest lean data point and the lowest fat data point, yielding 25 & 155 = 180 lbs at 13.8% body fat but the data doesn’t really permit that, does it?

All summer long I thought that I was getting a lot fatter. These readings suggest that I never got too far off where I was in mid-May. It is true that I had gained weight and had gotten a relatively higher body fat percentage between January 2010 (when I was consistently weighing in at 12% body fat) and May 2010 (when I appeared to be hovering between 13-14%). But in that period of time I had (deliberately) gained 6-8 lbs, about half of which was lean mass. The result was that I was carrying more muscle and was feeling stronger — even if I had more fat.

But here at the end of the summer I have thought I should act to try to lean out a bit again, in relative terms, both for cosmetic purposes and to prevent any trend of fat gain. So, henceforth, basically, my main goal is this: I’d like to maintain and/or build lean mass, while not gaining any more fat than I already carry. It’s not my explicit goal to do so, but if, in the process, I happen to lose fat and/or weight, that’s ok, as long as I hang on to the lean mass I have.

In a future post I’ll write more explicitly about what kinds of information I have been consuming as I think about how to reach these goals. But suffice it to say for now that I’ve been pretty interested in the work of Martin Berkhan and I think he has a lot of insight into the difficulties of maintaining or building lean mass while losing fat.

My Year in Body Fat

Thinking about my body composition goals for the 2009-2010 school year, and how I failed to meet them, and what it means for my dietary practice, going forward.

Rest Week Reflections

As I enter the last week of my second cycle through the “new plan” (aka the “Never on a School Night” plan), I pause to reflect on, to analyze, and to assess the measurements I have made in the process of my training.

Push Back

Training Cycle: Week 4/6 (Work Week)
Dietary Cycle: Week 1/3 (Building)
Daily Calorie Target: 3350
(Zone “blocks:” approx 23 pro/cho [161 g / 207 g], 69 fat [207 g])
Second WOD of this Week

My sleep was horrible. Not sure why. Probably I should cut back on TV and computer after the dinner hour. 1 block breakfast, coffee, out the door to CFA for the 6:00 am class. I was late but caught up quickly.


Running around. Stretching. Push-Ups (20), Overhead Squats (20), Wall-Ball Shots (20, w/ 12 lbs ball), and those cross over thingies (10 per side w/ 25 lbs kettlebell).

Strength: Push Jerk

Worked on 3 rep max.

Note on method: these were done from the floor, with hang power cleans and power cleans.

Results: 5 x 45 / 3 x 95 / 3 x 115 / 3 x 135 / 1 x 135, fail on 2 / 5 x 115

Volume: 1,950 lbs.

None of these are PRs. And the volume was not too impressive. For example, I hit a volume of almost 2045 on October 6th and before that, on Sep. 14th, when I hit my 3 rep PR, I had a volume of 1,915. HOWEVER, if you count also the push-jerks done for the WOD, total Push-Jerk volume for today increases to 3,875. Which explains my super sore upper body this afternoon!

Probably, this level of volume should result in new PRs in Push-Jerk soon. We shall see.

WOD: Push Jerk, Push

7 Rounds of
5 Push Jerks
15 Back squats
For time.
Use 50% of Push-Jerk 5rm

I used just under 50% of 115 lbs (55 lbs), not 50% of my book-record (from June 6th) of 135 (which would have been 67.5).

I did not set the bar down, but worked through this straight.

Time: 8:38.

Warm-Down: Barefoot Treadmill Running

At the YMCA: Running for 10 minutes, at 6.0 mph (10 min/mile), 1.01 miles, barefoot 140 cals.

A Note On Calorie Cycling

A couple of days ago I wrote about my “experiment” with Calorie Cycling (see post of Oct 25th, 2009). Since then a couple of things worth noting have happened.

First, my FB/CrossFit/Paleo-Zone Blogger pal Steve Parsoneault dropped a comment on the post in which he called into question my math regarding my body composition data. Steve was right, there was a problem with the math. I’m going to rethink the data and create a new post, soon, in which I examine again whether the “system” I am using really works for me or not.

Second, I have noticed that it is really hard for me to adopt the calorie levels that I have set for myself. For instance, during the first three days of this nominal “building” week I actually ate WAY fewer calories than is implied that I will eat by my published “calorie targets.” WAY FEWER. I did this in response to my body, which basically has been telling me it needed a few days of variation down from the average calories I had eaten in the week prior. The week prior was a “cutting” week in which I had eaten just as if it had been a “building” week. Anyway, I ate about 2800 calories on Sunday, 2800 on Monday, and 2500 on Tuesday. Today, I am on target to eat more than 3000 calories (thank you, coconut oil in my oatmeal, olive oil on my chicken, pecans in my lunchbox, etc.) Anyway, I noticed this morning at the gym that my weight was a bit down below the bottom of my desired range. NOT my idea of success on the program.

See, it’s my goal to increase my lean mass. And reduce my percentage of body fat. If I could do this by keeping my present body fat stable, or only whittling it down very slowly, while increasing lean mass, I would. Because I am presently below my desired weight. But it’s not all bad news. In his comment on my post Steve also pointed out that I have lost lean mass since August. 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 at weights below 178. The previous week, Aug. 15th, I had measured bodyweight at 178.5 and lean mass of 155.3; compare that to weighing one pound less on Oct. 25th at 177.5, with lean mass of 156.2. That was the figure I was really working with. Anyway, I’ll work on all this in a different post on the subject within the next few days.