image from Builtlean.com
I didn’t measure my body fat percentage when I started my hard-core training. When I refer to “when I started,” what I mean is, when I finally decided to dedicate myself to a very serious training program and not give in to any excuses before seeing real results. I gave myself six weeks as a goal, to really push it and work the diet and be in the gym training very hard for about an hour 4 to 5 times a week.
That is in fact what I did (and you can read my thoughts on the process if you go back to my first few weeks of posts, from last June/July). And, judging from the photo below of me flexing my little guns, I think that results have been good so far!
So a couple weeks ago I was learning how to measure body fat with skin-fold tests using a caliper. (As a funny aside, the measurement I used is called the “Jackson-Pollock” measurement, which is amusing to me. How is it possible that a Jackson and a Pollock got together to measure body fat? Shouldn’t they have been splattering paint on canvases together?)
I was excited to find out what my body fat percentage was, given my training regimen and modified diet which cuts out a lot of bread, pasta, sugary drinks, and adds a lot of protein.
My percentage was 14%. On a chart, this comes out as “lean” or in the lower range of athletic percentage of body fat. (I’m 35 years old.)
People! In just a matter of like four months, I became an official athlete! Is that cool or what??! Yes. It is.
Coolest part too is like my beloved Coach always said (I sound like an old granny reminiscing on my youth) “Shel, remember. It’s a lot harder to make change than it is to maintain change.”
And he was right. It was damn hard those first couple months to kick ass so constantly. But now that I’ve broken through, it’s a matter of maintaining that change and making continual progress. And as I mentioned in my last post, one of the great satisfactions about fitness, besides the stress relief and overall well-being, is seeing the physical results. That motivates me every time I’m in the gym to keep at it. Once you get it, after such hard work, you sure as hell don’t want to lose it!
Here’s another article about recommended body fat from Livestrong, a great wellness website.
One last thought: it can be very useful to use numbers to gauge your progress. But truly, if you’re going to make fitness a LIFESTYLE, which is what the ultimate goal should be, then just use numbers as occasional baselines to see where you’re at. Perhaps getting a body fat analysis and weighing yourself once in the beginning of your training program, and then maybe every 6 weeks or so after that for the weight, and maybe after 6 months for the body fat. Numbers don’t tell the whole story! Watch how your clothes fit, how you feel, and what people tell you about your mood and your body.
Today’s challenge: What’s one step you can take today to cut down on the sugar in your diet? Maybe give up one can of soda, or skip adding sugar to your coffee?