Fat Loss/Lean Mass Progress - Need Opinions??
Sunday, August 05, 2012
First of all, I finished the foundation work on Friday - the last big project I had to do on the house!! With that and then packing to go out of town, I had 3 1/2 hours of sleep before running 16 miles on Saturday and then driving 6 hours... was exhausting!! Therefore I am taking a lot of R&R before leaving for Florida tomorrow. Feels good to have made it through a tough week.
I've been looking at my bodyfat and weight results. Since making changes about two months ago including more protein (raised to 25% of total calories), 2 strength workouts a week (bodyweight exercises only) and starting marathon training, I've gained about 5-6 lbs of lean mass and lost about 4 lbs of fat. My bodyfat % is at it's lowest of the year. I am tracking changes in a 7-day average of my weight and bodyfat #'s, which takes out the highs and lows, and has been comparable to lab testing in the past.
So, I am glad I am making progress, but to reach my goal I need fat and weight loss for sports - not lean mass gain - and that loss has been going slowly - like a half lb a week. I look better, am stronger and due to conditioning can run farther and faster than earlier this year, but the scale remains the same, whereas according to the calorie deficit I should be around 8 lbs less than I am now since I made changes mid-June. If I look at my results since early April I should actually be 13 lbs lighter.
I did not intend to gain lean mass, but that's how my body is. My friends in college used to joke that I could gain lean mass by lifting a pencil, LOL, but it would seem like it.
That being said, I don't think the lean mass gain is all muscle. Increased endurance training will cause more carb and water storage in the muscle, so some of it is probably that. However, if I don't exercise, I get thin, probably due to lack of stimulation to my muscles.
So, I'm debating about what to do? I'm considering cutting out my strength workouts, keeping my marathon training (of course) and cutting calories by another 200 or so per day - maybe cutting some protein too? My average calorie deficit over the past month has been 581 per day, so it would seem that would be adequate, but perhaps with less calories it would be easier for my body to burn off fat mass and not build lean mass?
Most sports nutrition books advise athletes not go more than a 400-500 calorie deficit per day. But, I am not seeing the type of results I want with that - meaning more fat loss and less lean mass gain.
I also wonder if my Bodymedia armband/calorie calculator could be off, though it says 90% accuracy. I have been burning an average of 2,650 calories a day. So if it is off by 10% on the high side that is 265 calories too many. That would mean my calorie deficit would have been closer to 300 a day, which would translate to the 1/2 lb lost per week. Even the automated adviser built into the program suggests I take a higher deficit per day.
However if the armband is off on the low side... meaning my actual deficit has been closer to 850 a day - cutting calories by 200 more a day could get me in trouble. A too-high deficit could explain the slow fat loss, but not really the lean mass gain, which is harder with a high calorie deficit. When I look at calorie calculators online for my activity level, it seems to be in a correct range.
I dunno - what do you think??