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Body Fat Calculations

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Old 06-28-2005, 10:26 PM   #1
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I just got a body fat measuring scale last night as a matter of fact. It tells me that at 5'3" 133 lb's, I am - wait for it- drum roll please...made up of 34.9% pure unadulterated gelatinous fat.

I have changed my goal from seeing the scales go down in pounds to seeing the scale go down in %. I'm aiming for 18%. If my math is right, that means I need to lose 24 lbs of fat while gaining 11 lbs of muscle.
I am, sadly, quoting myself from another thread in the forum. After I wrote it I started thinking "Is that even a realistic goal?" I wanted to get some feedback from you LWL's. I know it is generally easier to lose a lb of fat than to gain a lb of muscle. Is it possible (or perhaps probable) for someone who isn't training athletically to gain that much muscle?


BTW, I do know that body fat scales are not entirely accurate but I wanted to get a sort of base line by which to judge my progress.
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Old 06-29-2005, 06:49 AM   #2
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Is it possible (or perhaps probable) for someone who isn't training athletically to gain that much muscle?
The short answer: no, sadly. You have to really work for muscle. To gain 11 pounds of muscle would take a concentrated program of resistance training and probably a minimum of a year or two for most women (without drugs).

However, don't let that disourage you. If you are using a scale, thry are notoriously inaccurate. The readings can vary widely depending on the time of day, your hydration levels...wdranne wrote an excellent article in the Maintainers forum on body weight and bf% as measured by her tanita scale.

Why don't you aim for a more doable shortterm goal...say 25%? Once you start building muscle, the muscle itself will help burn fat.

Mel
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Old 06-29-2005, 08:34 AM   #3
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That's kind of what I was afraid of once I started actually thinking about it.

18% is a do-all be-all collapse-at-the-finish-line (but then get back up and keep going) sort of goal so it's definitely not something that I would expect to get to in less than a year or two. I would be very happy to be at 25% by December.

I'll check out that thread in Maintainers.
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Old 06-29-2005, 09:34 AM   #4
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You should get your body fat tested with calipers by someone who is trained to do it (like at a gym). I have a Tanita scale, and BF% feature is crap... It says I am around 50%, but calipers say 33%. It was drastically off for my husband too. It is drastically off for about everyone! It is not even reliable for a starting point, because like someone else mentioned, the % number changes depending on time of day, hydration, and many other crazy factors. I think the calipers are going to be your best, convenient bet.
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Old 06-29-2005, 12:28 PM   #5
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Julia,

I remember that 4 years ago when I first entered the gym after my third baby was born I was 34% fat according to Tanita. By just doing some cardio and some light weights I dropped to 27% in about a year - mind you, I did not know anything about exercising so I did a lot of wrong things like I truly beleived that you only lose weight with cardio...

Drop from 27% to 24% was achieved with proper diet of low fat and exercise including yoga and weight (about 5-8 pounds weights though). I kind of staled on 24% for about 2-3 years and recently - about 3 month ago, I started weight lifting. Just today before reading your post one of the coworkers asked - did you lose weight? No, I said, I gained weight about 4 pounds... But my fat dropped to about 18% according to tanita (measured about 3 times on different times of the day and number was the same - I am not sure it is a right number but at least I see tendency of dropping fat%). So my answer to you is: weight lifting 2-3 times a week and some cardio will bring you to the goal - it might take years but it will. In my case I was too ignorant and I did not know about this web page - I am sure if I would be researching more, it would take me less time. And I am not spending in the gym my life - I just go there 2-3 and even sometimes 1 time a week! But it all pays off and I am still not considering myself athletic, BUT it shows on the obgy for sure!

Good luck,
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Old 06-29-2005, 12:56 PM   #6
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I heartily second getting an accurate 9 point caliper reading from an experience trainer if you are going to use bf% as your measuring tool. Or use the mirror and the pants-o-meter. You'll know when you look the way you want to look, regardless of the number.

How easy it is to get there and maintain there depends on a lot of factors. Your age, your bone structure, your natural ability to build and maintain muscle all play into it. For me, maintaining at 17-18% takes a lot of heavy lifting (daily...I do a 5 day split), cardio, and very clean nutrition. I'm old as dirt, 'tho

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Old 06-29-2005, 01:57 PM   #7
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But you look WAY better than dirt!

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Old 06-30-2005, 08:31 AM   #8
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Hi Mel,

I cannot let the age reference go past without comment: When i grow up and are as old as you are I also want to be that strong and look that good! Only 4 years of extremely hard work to go !!

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Old 07-03-2005, 11:04 AM   #9
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OK, I broke down and made an appointment for Tuesday to get measured at the gym. I have the feeling that it may be a moment that I look back on with humiliation, but so be it . I would be overjoyed to find out that I am already at 25% if it's true Candy76. I have a feeling it's probably closer to 30%.

Quote:
Your age, your bone structure, your natural ability to build and maintain muscle all play into it.
It seems that the fact that I am relatively young (31) is in my favor, but I have a very small build which seems like it would make my BF as a percentage higher (lighter bones?). I've also heard that if you have ever been in extremely good physical shape it makes it easier to get back to it. I used to be a competitive gymnast so if true, that's in my favor as well. Sound right or like a bunch of crap?

Mel, where can I see a picture so I can judge for myself whether you look better than dirt?
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Old 07-03-2005, 02:45 PM   #10
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Julia - we have a LWL photo site here and here are Mel's photos. As you can see for yourself, she's lovely on the outside (despite what she says ) and having met her in person several times, I can tell you she's just as beautiful on the inside.

If any of you would like to post your own photos to the site, all you need to do is apply for memberhip, we'll approve you, and you can share your own album. I love seeing everyone else's photos, especially before and afters!!
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Old 07-03-2005, 03:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel
For me, maintaining at 17-18% takes a lot of heavy lifting (daily...I do a 5 day split), cardio, and very clean nutrition. I'm old as dirt, 'tho

Mel
Hey, Mel, dirt is prime real estate, baby!
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Old 07-03-2005, 09:27 PM   #12
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Thank you , Gladdy

Here's my latest picture:
Mel

Lowest body fat I've ever had

Mel
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Old 07-03-2005, 11:52 PM   #13
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You got me, you reeled me in like the proverbial large mouth bass.
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Old 07-04-2005, 03:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel
Thank you , Gladdy

Here's my latest picture:
Mel

Lowest body fat I've ever had

Mel
Ahhh...undoubtedly due to the new "Quick-and-Dirty" diet.

GOOD ONE! I nearly fell off my chair laughing! Thanks for the funny, Mel.
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Old 07-04-2005, 05:35 AM   #15
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