Friday, October 19, 2007

Body Fat Percentage


I had my body fat checked yesterday, and something seemed strange.

Here is all the body fat percentage I have measured with the weight I had weighed at the moment.

5-22-07 35%, 132 lbs
7-16-07 32% (-3%), 126 lbs (-6lbs)
9-3-07 30% (-2%), 120.2 lbs (-6.2lbs)
10-18-07 28% (-2%), 120.9 lbs (-0.7lbs)

I had assumed going in that there wouldn’t be a change, since I had only lost 0.7 lbs from last time. So I was surprised when the trainer said that I lost 2%. That’s exactly the same amount I lost when I had lost 6.2 lbs. This seemed odd to me. How can I be gaining the amount muscle mass the numbers are saying I’m gaining at this time when my workout has been cut back?

I’m really bad with math, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m at a lighter weight. Maybe body fat percentages decreases at a faster rate the lighter you are?

Another reason could be because of the measurers. The trainer said that each trainer has a different way of measuring, causing some inaccuracies. This might be the case. Each measurement had been with a different trainer. I’ll see if I can get the same trainer next time.

The trainer this time asked what my goal was. Each time a trainer asked me this, I felt uncomfortable. The truth of the matter was, I’m not really invested in my body fat percentage goal. There are too many different schools regarding how to interpret the results. I’m relying more on my BMI to set my goals, since the interpretation of those are more clear-cut. If I don’t reach my body fat percentage goal by the time I reach my weight goal, I wouldn’t mind. Additionally having both of these goals have been too confusing for me, so I decided to drop the former. I’ll still have my body fat percentage measured, but only for the purpose of gauging progress.

Edit/Update:
I was reading this post and I realized that I had made a mistake. I had actually gained (not lost) 0.7 lbs. This actually makes the 2% loss even more of an oddity.

Marshmallow - You made a really good point. I think I will need to re-think my goals.

1 comment:

Marshmallow said...

I'm the other way around. I would much rather achieve a good body fat percentage than a healthy weight according to the BMI, since the BMI can be tainted depending on percentage of muscle on your body. An 'acceptable' range of body fat is between 15-20% on women; less for men and even less for athletes.

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the body fat percentage.

I fear no one’s opinion! I am knowledgeable, focused, and efficient. I make this priority and build from experience. I do this for my children and myself. Supported by love, I will persevere.