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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just a basic question regarding bodyfat percentage: why am I at 20%?

My background:

In the last year I've gone from 225lbs to 190lbs. I'm 6'2'', and 34 years of age. I lost this weight through a program of lifting weights, running, and diet. For running I got up to a half marathon last October, and still run 5-6 miles 3-4x a week.

As far as strength goes, I'm fairly strong. I bench 100lb dumbbells consistently for 5-6 reps, and can rattle off 15+ pullups when fresh. 90lb dumbells I consistenly bench 10x each set. I consider myself a good athlete, and look lean in clothes.

For diet, I usually eat a Met-rx bar in the morning along with a Red Bull, and for lunch I follow the Jared diet at Subway - turkey subs with honey mustard, etc.

Bottom line - How do I get my bodyfat down to perhaps 15%? I admit my stomach is still soft, but at least it's now flat. I was disappointed today in my body composition test (done through calipers), and would like to improve to 15%.

Do I have any hope?
 

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There is absolutly hope.

First off why do you care? If you are happy with your looks, strength, athletic nature than why does it matter. Don't put too much worth in a number on some test. Strength, Endurance, and how you feel while riding are much more important.

Secondly I would reccommend a more accurate way of testing if it is the number the concerns you. There are a few advantages of body composition testing using calipers. They are inexpensive, non-invasive, do not require special equipment, and you can eat normally before them. The disadvantage is accuracy. The number you get can be drastically different between two seperate testers Generally they are said to be within 3-5 % which in a test where 5% is the difference between catagories is a pretty large margin of error. 10-15 is lean 15-20 average, etc. The thing the calipers are really good for is quantifying change between two tests.(Assumong same person test the same way each time). I am a personal trainer at a gym and conduct caliper tests all the time, and have definatly seen % results from the that were unreasonable. Hydrostatic weighing, or the new Bod-pod, are the gold standard of accuracy. If you have a university that is close to you they conduct those tests pretty cheap. Iff that is not an option try to get caliper tested at least 3 times and take the average. Do thiis with 3 seperate testers and average the results. That should be fairly accurate.
The bottom line is that your body composition can be changed by a healthy diet and exercise program. Try to maximize caloric burn during weight training (IE circuit train), and do lots of riding. How many calories are you eating in a day? How do you know? Don't guess count. If you burn more calories than you eat you will decrease in weight. If you are excercising during this time all that lost weight will come from fat. This is a gross over simplicifaction but its free advice.
Best of Luck. Pedal

By the way I have seen personal trainers intentionally over report BF% numbers to try to convince people that they need help. Be skeptical of people who are trying to sell you things. They might just say what benifits them the most, rather then the truth. Another BTW 20% is not bad. just high average.
 

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SuperClyde said:
Just a basic question regarding bodyfat percentage: why am I at 20%?QUOTE]

Because you are fat?....No but seriously, you appear to be in darn good shape mate. In fact, our size and strength is very similar indeed, but my body fat is 10% at 6'1, 195 lbs. This makes me think that you need to have your fat tested more accurately. My body fat was just measured as part of a stress test and it was done in a BOD POD. However, truth be told, you may still have some residual fat hanging on.

Irregardless, keep up the progress you have been making and the fat will melt away. Mix in some long, slow rides or runs. Important, let it happen slowly, and you will most likely not lose your strength and size. Let us know how it goes. Good Luck!
 

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One thing that would help

Drink Diet Red Bull, or have coffee instead. Red Bull have a lot of sugar. Unless you work out in the morning, then don't worry about it. But all that sugar in the morning is almost the same has having a donut.
Sounds as if you are doing everything else right.
What do you eat for dinner?
 

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I am in the same situation. No matter how hard I work out I cannot improve my body fat comp. One thing I have been testing is trying to rest more between workouts and ensuring that I have one light week a month to allow my body to recover. I have been doing it for a month and found my body fat has gone down from 22% to 20% and my vasculature show more. In conclusion, I think it comes down to Cortisol levels which spikes when any stress is added to the body and will increase your fat deposits especially around the tummy. I drink the sugar-free Red Bull as well with my energy bar in the morning.
 

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I was in your situation a couple months ago... I went from 215 - 180lbs in just under a year, from 33%bf to 22%. However, I couldnt get below 22% for the past 3 months. Then i started to eat more consciously. I had a healthy diet before (no coke, the odd beer etc. ) , but i needed to make it extra healthy to drop the weight. I started eating more greens, and doing more cardio, plus I started to work alot of the unused muscles in your body such as the stabilizers. Im down to 175 and 20% bf after 2 months of this. Im hoping to get down to 15% by the end of the summer.

Cheers
Aaron
 

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What did you measure your fat % with. If it was one of those electric scales that works it out for you, I don't trust it. Do a proper pinch test.

Dump the red bull in the morning. Its liquid candy. Are you eating a massive dinner. Eat a big meal at breakfast or lunch NOT at dinner. As for the subway - I am sure you could do better by making your own sandwich. Probably healthier too. Processed meats are not the greatest.
 

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Eat more frequently. Take in the same number of kcals, but spread it over 5 meals rather than 3. And make sure that they are "quality" kcals. I am not of the school that believes "a calorie is a calorie."
- Joe (another Clyde, but at 14%BF & dropping)
 

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NuMexJoe said:
Eat more frequently. Take in the same number of kcals, but spread it over 5 meals rather than 3. And make sure that they are "quality" kcals. I am not of the school that believes "a calorie is a calorie."
- Joe (another Clyde, but at 14%BF & dropping)
I did some more thinking on this.

I agree, calories aren't calories, especially when it comes to simple sugars.

Fructose (fruit sugar) is processed similarly to complex carbohydrates (starches) and is metabolized more slowly than other sugars. Blood sugar levels are more stable with complex carbs and fructose as energy sources.

Sucrose (table sugar, corn syrup) needs very little processing before it is metabolized resulting in blood sugar fluctuations.

Glucose (grape sugar) doesn't need any processing and is best avoided except during exercise.

If you've reached a plateau, it is possible that your blood sugar level is dropping too low at times throughout the day, triggering your body to go into low gear, lowering your metabolism, counteracting your exercise efforts (bodies natural response to famine). Eating smaller meals throughout the day as well as eating more friendly sugars counteracts metabolism lowering.

Fiber is important as well. Your body absorbs up to 15% less calories and absorbs calories more slowly and evenly from a high fiber meal than a low one. Fruits are ideal snacks.

It's true calories are calories but what's actually important is calorie intake/metabolism ratio. Your body can only use so many calories at one time. If blood sugar is high and sugar reserves are full, your body stores the excess as fat. When blood sugar is moderate and reserves are low your body taps into fat for fuel without lowering metabolism, which is ideal. When blood sugar is real low, and reserves are empty your body goes into emergency famine mode, burning fat but more slowly but lowering metabolism.

Make sure you eat enough before exercising or at least an energy bar during exercise. Granted, exercise burns calories, but weight (fat) loss doesn't occur during exercise that much. The object is to raise resting metabolism throughout the day.

One other thing, to get ripped, increase your reps during exercise. Do at least 12-15 for chest. Concentrate on situps/crunches, etc. As we get older our body hangs onto the fat around our abdomen. It's the first area where fat appears and the last area it leaves. It seems as if certain areas of our middle section get "out of the metabolism loop" with age and requires a direct approach.
 

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Sheesh, I don't know where to start.

First of all you've got your micro and macro nutrients all screwy.
Glucose is the only substance that your body can run on. Glucose is the sugar, only sugar, that makes its way into your blood. There are 2 classes of simple sugars Mono and Di. Glucose is the most abudnant of all of the Monosaccharides. The other two are Fructose and Galatose. Fructose is the sugar found in fruit (Including grapes) Who the hell told you that glucose comes from grapes? Galactose a building block of lactose which is found in Milk.
The second type of carbohydrates are Disaccharides. These are Sucrose ( which is 2 glucose's bound together. Lactose which is Glucose+Galactose, and Maltose which is Glucose + Glucose.
Complex carbs are simply longer chains of glucose bound together called polysacchrides. These are almost always made of Glucose. Starch and Fiber are complex carbs made from glucose.
So calories are calories. There are acutally only minor differences in how the body absorbs the seperate mono and disacchrides Blood sugar levels are very closely monitored by your body. They do not fluctuate as much as the previous poster insuinates. There is absoluly no truth to the fact that your body burns more fat when blood sugar is low. You body actually burns the highest percent of calories from fat at rest. The harder you go the more dependant on carb's your body becomes. if you want to lose fat you need to burn more calories than you eat. Bottom line Calories are calories. Simple complex morning noon night. I hope some of that makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thus far I've determined to drop the Red Bull in the morning. I will also switch to a banana and apple instead of the MET-RX bar (just seems better to eat nature's food).

I've also determined to make cardio the focus of my workouts for the next 6 weeks. For weight training I will drop the weight and go for hi-reps and circuit training.

Otherwise, I'm still open to suggestions. This has been great info, thanks.
 

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SuperClyde said:
Thus far I've determined to drop the Red Bull in the morning. I will also switch to a banana and apple instead of the MET-RX bar (just seems better to eat nature's food).

I've also determined to make cardio the focus of my workouts for the next 6 weeks. For weight training I will drop the weight and go for hi-reps and circuit training.

Otherwise, I'm still open to suggestions. This has been great info, thanks.
Good idea to dump the glorified candy bar and soda in the morning. But a banana and apple may be too little. You should eat around 350/400 calores (at least) to get your metabolism going in the morning.

Circuit training is a good idea... use enough weight to keep up resistance ( failure at around 15-20 reps)... else you're just doing arobics/pilates.
 

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jkish said:
One other thing, to get ripped, increase your reps during exercise. Do at least 12-15 for chest. Concentrate on situps/crunches, etc. As we get older our body hangs onto the fat around our abdomen. It's the first area where fat appears and the last area it leaves. It seems as if certain areas of our middle section get "out of the metabolism loop" with age and requires a direct approach.
Higher reps, despite popular wisdom (IMHO), have nothing to do with getting ripped. Nor can you spot burn fat via situps and crunches. Impossible - check out some of the more scientifically oriented bodybuilding books. You do probably burn more calories with more reps and by doing situps so this does have an indirect effect. If you want to get ripped, it's all about diet and exercise (i.e. burn more than you take in to reduce your fat stores).

BTW, if you're happy with the way you look and you're in reasonably good aerobic shape (probably applies to just about any MTBR), don't worry about such and such measurement. Be happy with what you've achieved while always trying to improve a little more.
 

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The Columbia Encyclopedia is "who the hell that told me" that that glucose is "grape sugar"

"glucose:dextrose, or grape sugar, monosaccharide sugar with the empirical formula C6H12O6. This carbohydrate occurs in the sap of most plants and in the juice of grapes and other fruits...."
http://www.bartleby.com/65/gl/glucose.html

It is true in normal healthy individuals that blood sugar levels are maintained within a narrow range. Nevertheless, blood sugar levels can fluctuate from (70-100)mg/dL (fasting) to <140 mg/dL (after consuming a large amount of sugar). (MayoClinic.com)
http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?objectid=01D1244A-496B-42D2-99EC4D7C2A9F1898

Calories are calories, but it's what your body does with them that matters.The picture is incomplete without discussing metabolism.

When you eat it IS a factor.

"According to a study of eating patterns and their relationship to body size conducted at the University of Massachusetts, eating more often makes you much less likely to be obese" (American Journal of Epidemiology, July 2003)
http://www.muscleandfitness.com/nutrition/18

As far as reps, higher reps don't directly contribute to being ripped. It is because of a lower calorie intake, higher reps make up for a decrease in poundage than if you were eating a lot of calories.

As far as concentrating on a specific area, say the abdomen, muscle burns more calories than fat and if you increase muscle in the abdomen then you will in effect "displace" the fat.
 

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I know I'm getting carried away now but...

A banana might not be the best substitute for Red Bull. It's very high on the Glycemic(sp?) Index which means it spikes your insulin levels which contributes to storing sugar as fat. I admit I'm at the limits - perhaps past! - of my knowleadge but maybe someone else can comment. Of course, if you but the calories are calories arguments put forward, it won't matter...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think sometimes as athletes we get way too involved with our diets, and make them more complicated than they need be. For instance, to actually doubt the benefits of a banana in the morning seems overly obsessive to me. At some point, you have to let go and just enjoy some food and let genetics dictate your destiny.

In my case, I will do the best I can do drop the Red Bull and the MET-RX and see what happens. Nevertheless, I'm still real happy where I've gotten thus far. Sub-15% would be nice, however. :)
 
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