Sunday, April 10, 2011

Body Composition Update

In a previous blogpost we revealed how a sensible change in lifestyle, which included lower calories, increased activity, and focused strength training resulted in Robin White's change in body composition. After all while most people say "weight loss", they mean "fat loss", but in reality, they need a body composition change. The concept of gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time is much touted but is usually expressed in those with rare genetic talent, youth, or beginner phenomena. It's very difficult to do both at the same time.

In women it is particularly important to be aware of rapid body weight loss. Past a certain age, fat stores lost in the face can contribute to an unhealthy aged look. The quality of the skin is maintained with an adequate amount of subcutaneous fat and avoiding the damage of sun exposure. A women's attractiveness at least on the biological and anthropological level is based on healthy hair, skin, teeth and an optimal waist to hips ratio. This ratio was discussed in the last article and it is consistent through various body types. It is .70 or less. Actually as revealed, the average of all Playboy Playmates is .68 and for celebrity sex symbols, even less. For example-

Jayne Mansfield .60
Carmen Electra .65
Kim Kardashian .65
This is relative to healthy biology-
"Hip size indicates pelvic size and the amount of additional fat storage that can be used as a source of energy. Waist size conveys information such as current reproductive status or health status ... in westernized societies with no risk of seasonal lack of food, the waist, conveying information about fecundity and health status, will be more important than hip size for assessing a female's attractiveness."
    —Journal of Biological Psychology

Robin's progress is not linear. Measurements are done with measuring tape, skin calipers and electronic calibrated scale (not a Tanita which is inaccurate). The exact calculations are still guess work. All we are looking for is a trend. Somewhat leaner, but much stronger. Also an enanhanced sense of well being, enjoyment of meals, and deeper,  sounder sleep.
Here are the previous measurements with the caveat I wrote-

Body weight-129.6 lbs.
Belly-32" (around the navel)
So 1/11/11 Robin's bodyfat was 25.16%
3/17 it was 20.93%, a loss of almost 5%.
So within 8 weeks, Robin lost 4lbs of bodyfat. She actually gained, in theory, 1.5 pounds of muscle.

Two things to remember. Having a good bowel movement or walking for an hour in a tropical climate and losing fluids can skew these results. The interesting part is this, when I met Robin, her training was Yoga, Pump & Tone Classes and Dancing. Her Lean Body Mass was around 95 lbs.
Currently, at age 54 her lean body mass is almost 99 lbs! That is a theoretical increase of 4 pounds!
Robin's updated stats-
Hips-36 inches
Waist-25 inches
Belly-27.75 inches
% Bodyfat-18.8 percent
Waist to Hip Ratio is .69
According to these results she lost 2.6 pounds of fat and gained 2.6 pounds of lean body mass. I had to do all the calculations three times over since I did not believe it. I thought her lean body mass would have taken a dump since she was inline skating for around four miles the day before in the hot sun. That should have reduced the stores of glycogen in her muscles and possibly her hydration level. She ate lightly afterwards and did not carb load nor calorie load. She also slept a full eight hours.
The gains in lean body mass, particularly muscle were evident in the increase of her chest measurement [under the armpits and around the upper chest], and no loss in her hip measurement.
She will continue on her current program with the constant emphasis of getting stronger, with an increase in the size and strength of her gluteal region, torso and particularly her neck. The speed at which she leans down will decrease and the focus will be on adding as much muscle & strength as possible and being aware of her past shoulder injuries from improper training methods.
Any question about Robin's program? Contact HERE.