February Numbers + Recap
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
I got my numbers this morning. I had planned to get them last Wednesday, but unfortunately I was late to the gym and then had a run of social obligations and have been putting it off for the last week so as to avoid skewed results from the bloat. I finally gave in today, despite not being fully recovered, because I wanted to see where I was before implementing the tweaked March plan I've been tossing around in my head the last week or so, and also because I'm planning to get my numbers taken again in another 2.5 weeks before my sister gets here, and waiting any longer would just be silly.
Just for good measure, I made sure to have a bigger than usual breakfast so as to ensure maximum skew. =P
The numbers came out to about what I was expecting, despite the bloat and huge breakfast.. which just confirmed to me that my ideas going into March are right on track. Going in to the gym this morning I was probably up nearly half a kilo from last Wednesday, so I'm sure they would have looked better if I'd not been late and had them taken on schedule. But either way they aren't bad. Not fantastic, but not bad. Much like last month, they are a good base to improve upon in the next month, and give me some insight on how I should proceed.
So here they are:
weight: 53.7 kg (was 53 kg)
fat mass: 16.8 kg (was 16.7 kg)
lean muscle: 19.9 kg (was 19.5 kg)
body fat: 31.3% (was 31.5% )
Doesn't look like much of a change, but bear in mind the bloat. I came in at 52.2 kg this morning at home before breakfast and clothes, which is up from the 51.9 kg I came in last Wednesday while detoxing from a string of social outings, and my low of 51.4 kg this month, which was before my social life got extremely busy. I think that if I hadn't eaten out for dinner so much in the last week (four times x_x), I probably would have come in a few hundred grams down on the fat instead of up 100 grams. But I'm not stressing much, since these results are completely in line with my own observations.
I can usually tell before going in roughly what my numbers are going to look like. This month my feeling was muscle gain, probably not much movement for fat. That proved accurate. I gained nearly a half a kilo of muscle, and fat is pretty much unchanged from last month. I am a little disappointed about the fat and would have liked a nice surprise, but again.. my personal observation was that my body fat was mostly unchanged, and that is exactly what I got.
What WAS surprising, though, was where I gained muscle. I have been really concentrating on my upper and lower body the last month, and have been skimping on my core. I have been consistently upping the weights on the seated row (technically it hits shoulders, which are kinda core, but I count it as upper body) to work on my posture, and have also upped the weight a lot on the chest press, lateral pulldown, and shoulder press. I have also recently added in the pectoral fly, leg curl, seated leg extension, and started doing hip adductors and abductors again. I haven't done biceps, triceps, or crunches in several weeks. On top of that, I've been doing a lot of walking, running, and group kick. Because of this my shoulders and legs have been feeling pretty strong lately. My core seemed a little firmer too, but still, if you had asked me yesterday I would have predicted sizable gains in my legs and upper body, and either a loss, slight gain, or breaking even in my core.
I was half right. I did gain in my arms. About .1 kg of muscle each, actually, which is a decent gain. They are now approaching 95% of recommended, and will probably be the first part of me to go into the green zone on my little muscle mass chart. But shockingly, I lost muscle mass in my legs. About .1 kg or a little over each. This, sadly, undoes last month's achievement and takes them out of the yellow zone and back into orange. =P I was definitely surprised at this, and am still casting around to figure out what happened and why. Just as surprising, though, was the massive gain in my core. I am up .53 kg in my core. That puts me at 16.03 kg core muscle, which is absolutely the highest I've ever had there. I was pretty amazed. I suppose it has to be the back strength from working on my posture, because I sure wasn't doing anything for my abs.
So yeah. I'm back up to 19.9 kg, which ties with October for my highest recorded muscle mass. I can't complain about that! The lack of movement as far as fat is concerned is a disappointment, yes, but I think it kind of makes sense. I made the changes to my plan for February based on the fact that I lost a kilo of fat but gained no muscle in January, and the result was that I gained a half kilo of muscle and lost no fat. That seems like a fair trade off considering how badly I managed to follow my actual plan last month.
I'm still sure the plan itself was a good one, but I had some compliance issues. I had decided to aim for 1700 calories per day, but managed to become much too rigid about it, and did not adjust for days that I ate away from home. Since I had friends visiting from out of town, the days on which I went out to eat jumped from about 1-2 per week to 3-4 per week during the second week of February. This was a Very Bad Thing. Most of the month saw me eating at around 1700ish about 2/3rds of the time, and 1900-2200 the other 1/3rd of the time. That level would be fine if I were focusing just on muscle gains or maintenance, but, since I have a fair amount of fat to lose, it was counter productive and I ended up not seeing quite the progress I was hoping for based on my results from the first week of February.
So, what's in store for March? I think I am going to call the last month a bulking month, and move into more of a cutting period for the next 3 weeks. I don't think I want to be as strict as January, so March is going to be a hybrid of the last two months. I'm planning to up protein from 25% to closer to 30% again if I can, while lowering carbs slightly. I'm going to try and keep fat at right around 30% rather than 30-40%, and for calories I'm going to aim for the 1600-1750 range.. but I am going to try and be more flexible in balancing out the overage days, which I know will happen at least 1-2 times per week. I am also going to bring back the idea of only making my percentages 5 days a week and allowing more carbs 1-2 days a week, since I seem to have totally forgotten about that somewhere in there.
Exercise-wise, I'm going to keep things mostly the same. I am going to keep a focus on strength training so as not to let my muscle mass dip down from this current high, and for cardio I am going to bring the January bike intervals back, since they seemed to work really for fat loss (SHOCK.. =P). I am also going to try and make more of an effort to do yoga three times a week. I had already adjusted my work schedule so that I could make charity yoga on Wednesday evenings, and now that the Sunday classes seem to be back I should be able to take two per week. That plus beginning yoga at the gym on Fridays seems like a good amount of yoga.
So that's the plan for now. If all goes well and I survive my sister's visit at the end of the month (I'm declaring that a rest week) with minimal damage, I am tentatively thinking of April as being another bulking month. Seems like alternating is good for for me both physically and mentally.
Now it's off to yoga for me.