Week #8 of my 2011 cut is complete, and it’s time for my weekly progress report.
NOTE: If you’re trying to lose fat or gain muscle it’s absolutely critical that you check your progress–and not just with a bathroom scale. I recommend that once every week you check your scale weight, your body fat percentage (using a caliper, not an inaccurate BIA scale) and your soft tape measurements. For maximum accuracy, it’s important to take these measurements at the same time and under the same conditions every week. I recommend the EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale, the MyoTape body tape measure and a basic Skin Fold Caliper. With the exception of the skin fold caliper (the one I use was discontinued) these are the exact products I’ve used for years. These tools are indispensable if you’re serious about reaching your goal, will last a long time and are not expensive.
If you want to track your heart rate during workouts and also keep tabs on your cardiovascular health, then you’ll need a heart rate monitor. I use and recommend the Timex Ironman Heart Rate Monitor.
Here is this week’s progress report…
My scale weight this morning (as measured by the EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale) is 187.4 pounds. That means I’ve lost 2 pounds over the past week and a total of 15.8 pounds since I started my cut eight weeks ago.
My 7-point body fat reading this morning is 10.3% (the digital caliper I use is no longer sold, but this manual caliper will do fine if you need one). That’s a .8% drop from last week’s reading of 11.1% and a 5.6% drop from my starting body fat reading of 15.9%.
Using my scale weight along with my body fat reading I can easily calculate how much of my weight loss was fat, and how much was lean mass (note: JSF BodyShop™ makes these calculations for you automatically). Over the past week I’ve lost 1.72 pounds of fat and .28 pounds of lean mass. I’ve now lost a total of 13.01 pounds of fat and 2.79 pounds of lean mass since the start of my cut.
Now for the tape measurements. Tape measurements are a great way to keep tabs on your typical body fat storage areas (thighs, hips, waist), but they are also helpful in determining if you’re losing muscle mass. As you cut you will lose some fat from areas like your upper arms and chest (especially if you tend to store fat in those areas) but, generally speaking, these loses will not be as dramatic as, say, your mid-section.
My tape measurements (as measured by the MyoTape) show that over the past week I lost another quarter inch from my waist, another quarter inch from my hips, another half inch from my thighs and a quarter inch from my chest. All the rest of my measurements remained the same. My total tape losses and gains on this cut now stand as follows: 3.25 inches from my waist, 2.75 inches from my hips, 1.75 inches from my thighs, .25 inches from my chest and +.25 inches to my calves.
My detailed stats (including all tape measurements) and food logs can always be found on JSF BodyShop™. Just create a free account (existing JSF Forum members should simply log in using their forum username and password) and search for me.
Around week 7 or 8 is when I usually stall a bit, so I’m very pleased that this has been another excellent week of fat loss progress. I think mixing up my cardio (LISS, HIIT, mountain biking, medium-high intensity cardio and general outdoor physical activity) has played a significant role in my steady progress. This week I lost another quarter inch from my waist and hips, but with a half inch drop from my thighs it looks like my body has started to burn the fat on my legs pretty aggressively now (this is the first week I’ve had more than a quarter inch drop from my thighs). I also lost a quarter inch from my chest this week, and that’s something that I’ve been anticipating. Why? Well, I’m about to dip into single digit body fat percentages and so a little size reduction in my chest and arms is to be expected as the small amount of fat that I store in those areas is burned away (leaving some nice cuts and vascularity!)
I’ve really not changed my diet much at all over the past eight weeks. I’m going to try to stay ahead of the curve and avoid a stall by trimming a few calories (maybe 150 per day) starting on Monday.
Here are my cardiovascular statistics for this week (as measured by the Timex Ironman Heart Rate Monitor). Please note that I didn’t start measuring this stuff until February 14, 2011, so those are my base stats. For more information on these statistics, please check out my February 14, 2011 blog.
HRrest: 45 BPM (-1 BPM)
HRmax: 193 BPM (Unchanged)
Heart Rate Reserve: 148 BPM (+1 BPM)
Heart Rate Recovery: 71 BPM (+3 BPM)
VO2 MAX (Uth—Sørensen—Overgaard—Pedersen equation): 64.33 ml/min/kg (up from 62.93 ml/min/kg)
There was a slight (1 BPM) improvement to my resting heart rate, but I actually forgot to test it until right now and I’m halfway through my first cup of coffee! The HRrest improvement also improved the scores of the stats that depend on that measurement (Heart Rate Reserve and VO2 MAX). My Heart Rate Recovery was measured exactly the same way as last week (after 4×20 Bulgarian Split Squats) and improved to an outstanding 71 BPM! I’m really glad that I decided to start tracking these cardio stats; it’s very rewarding to see concrete data that shows my hard work is paying off.
I’m heading outside for day #2 of my spring yard work marathon!