Home stretch; A few thoughts on this cut vs the January cut
My scale weight this morning is 168.2 pounds, and that mean less than 5 pounds remain between me and my current weight goal of 163.x pounds. My body fat percentage (as measured by the 7-point FatTrack PRO Digital Body Fat calipers) will probably wind up somewhere between 5-6% when I reach my goal weight.
Even though I mention this in my blog every Sunday, I still get questions about the accuracy of body fat calipers. Here is my statement regarding that subject:
“A 7-point or 9-point body fat caliper pinch test is the most accurate “at-home” method of determining one’s body fat percentage, but even in the most skilled hands calipers have a margin of error up to +/-3%. The key is consistent readings from one week to the next: the actual number is not that important (to me). With that said, I believe my caliper body fat reading is consistently 1.5% – 2% lower than my actual body fat percentage. For example, if my caliper indicates 5.6% body fat, I believe my actual body fat is probably around 7.1%. If you want the most accurate body fat percentage reading possible, go have a DEXA test done.”
So, if my calipers indicate 5.9% when I hit my goal weight of 163.x pounds, that means I believe my true body fat percentage is probably closer to 8%.
When I completed my January 2015, I weighed 157.0 pounds @ 4.3% body fat. My actual body fat percentage was probably right at, or just under, 6%. I was pretty shredded, but that level of body fat is not sustainable (for me) if I want to perform at my best. That’s why this time my cutting goals are a little more modest and, I feel, sustainable.
One big difference I’ve noticed on thus cut vs my January cut is I’m not feeling abnormally hungry, weak or deprived this time–even more than a month in. Over the past week I’ve come within a few watts of several lifetime best power personal records on the bike, and I even did a pretty tough 50 mile solo training ride over the weekend with no intra-ride nutrition.
I think taking a hard, honest look at the mistakes I made before, during and after my January cut has allowed me to approach this cut more intelligently and more realistically (as those things relate to my athletic goals). Back in my body building days feeling weak or depleted at very low body fat percentages was not only normal, it was expected (“It’s not how much you can lift, it’s how much you look like you can lift.“) The bodybuilders you see posing up on the stage look incredibly fit and strong, but most of them are on the verge of collapsing–and some actually do.
I don’t find cutting difficult and, in many ways, I really enjoy it. That’s why I’ve had to temper the relative ease with which I can diet down to low body fat percentages with the knowledge that doing so isn’t that smart when it comes to my cycling performance.