Week #11 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 179 pounds. That means I’ve lost 1.2 pounds over the past week and a total of 24.2 pounds since I started my cut eleven weeks ago.
My 7-point body fat reading this morning is 8.4% (the digital caliper I use is no longer sold, but this manual caliper will do fine if you need one). That’s a .4% drop from last week’s reading of 8.8% and a 7.5% 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 .82 pounds of fat and .38 pounds of lean mass. I’ve now lost a total of 17.27 pounds of fat and 6.93 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 and another quarter inch from my thighs. All the rest of my measurements remained the same. My total tape losses and gains on this cut now stand as follows: 4.25 inches from my waist, 3.75 inches from my hips, 2.75 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.
Getting very close now! At 179 pounds and 8.4% body fat, the amount of fat I have left to lose in order to reach my goal of 7% body fat is very small–about 2.8 pounds. I’m way ahead of where I thought I’d be at this point. Last year I started my cut on January 4, 2010 at 206.4 pounds / 15.6% body fat (nearly identical to this year’s starting numbers of 203.2 / 15.9% body fat) and it took me almost 16 weeks to get to this same point. Now that I’m heading down the final stretch I could cut my calories, but I don’t feel inclined to rush things. My energy is good, the fat is still coming off, my workouts have been excellent and I’d rather leave as much room as I can to cut calories if I happen to stall.
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: 43 BPM (-3 BPM since Feb 14, 2011)
HRmax: 193 BPM (Unchanged since Feb 14, 2011)
Heart Rate Reserve: 150 BPM (+3 BPM since Feb 14, 2011)
Heart Rate Recovery: 81 BPM (+13 BPM since Feb 14, 2011)
VO2 MAX (Uth—Sørensen—Overgaard—Pedersen equation): 67.33 ml/min/kg (up from 62.93 ml/min/kg on Feb 14, 2011)
Last week I saw some very nice improvements to all of these numbers, and this week there was some additional improvement. My resting heart rate remains unchanged at 43 BPM, so my HR Reserve and VO2 MAX also remain unchanged. This week there was further improvement to my Heart Rate Recovery: another 4 BPM, which is a new high of 81 BPM! When I finished my 4 sets of 20 Bulgarian Split Squats my heart rate was 174 BPM; 2 minutes later it has dropped all the way down to 93 BPM! The improvements to my Heart Rate Recovery are very exciting for me, because they directly translate to improved mountain biking performance.
Today is day #2 of our epic spring cleaning. Lisa and I accomplished a lot yesterday, but there is lots more work ahead before we can kick back and enjoy our time off. I’m going to eat and get back at it!