I’m now two weeks into Operation Body Fat 2017, and I think this is the first week where I’m really starting to see some progress. As I discussed last week, there are never going to be any quick wins. It’s going to take patience and perseverance to get down to 10% body fat.
So, what have I learned this week?
Give it a Rest
You’ve got to listen to your body. I’m all for pushing myself, but there are times when you really just need to hear what you’re body is telling you and chill out. This was the very situation I found myself in on Wednesday.
After brutalising myself on the rowing machine on Tuesday evening, rather overdoing it and making myself feel quite ill in the process (not recommended…); I woke up the following morning feeling drained and run-down.
That evening, taking the advice from Anna, my muse, I took a night off. She sagely pointed out that I couldn’t simply expect to go straight from sporadic training to a consistent five times a week. So, I put my feet up, ate all the way up to my calorie allowance and generally gave myself a break.
The following morning, I awoke refreshed. Stepping on the scales, I’d lost weight and body fat overnight. Whilst I have no scientific evidence to back it up, I’m pretty convinced that that night was the point at which my body realised it was going to have to start adapting metabolically to my new regime.
When you’re training hard, rest is critically important. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and build rest days into your programme. If you don’t, I guarantee, you’ll get ill and only have to take time off and likely undo all your hard work to date.
You Can’t Choose Where to Lose Fat
This is so important, I’m going to say it again. You can’t choose where to lose your body fat. It doesn’t work like that. No amount of sit ups, crunches and planks will directly target the fat on your abs.
Your fat is like a fuel tank. Like the fuel tank in your car, you can’t selectively use fuel from one area in that tank. Your body is no different. The calorie deficit I have spoken about each week causes your body to burn fat to make up the difference. For all your body cares, that fat can come from your big toe.
Now, in truth, there are areas of your body that hoard more fat than others. So, just on the law of averages, your body is going to find more to burn in those areas. This rather varies depending on your build. For me, my mid-section and bum are probably the squidgiest bits where the most fat will be found.
None the less, however, you have a bit of fat over all of your body, so you may start to see the benefits in other places. Don’t sweat the fact that you can’t see your abs yet – this’ll take time – but do celebrate the small gains. Maybe you’re seeing more definition in your shoulders, your forearms. Maybe there’s a vein peeking out that you haven’t seen before. These are all signs you’re going in the right direction.
Fewer Reps, Bigger Weights
My strength has steadily been increasing over the last couple of weeks, where I’ve been sticking to the routine described last week. For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to try and focus on building some increased power, so will be dropping my number of repetitions down to around 6. The reduced number should allow me to up the amount I’m lifting quite significantly, and hopefully promote some renewed muscle growth.
You’ve got to keep your body guessing. It’s truly amazing how quickly your body can adapt, and before long, simply doing what worked week on week will no longer yield the same results. So, you’ve got to trick your body up, and make it work again. This is what I’m aiming for over the next two weeks. A big increase in weight and fewer reps should do the trick. The new muscle will further increase my metabolism and keep that fat burn going.
Week 2 Results
So as I mentioned, I’m starting to see some progress now. Aesthetically, there’s not a huge amount of difference, though I do think my shoulders and waist are starting to look a bit slimmer.
The real story is in the numbers. Body fat is down 0.4% from last week and 0.5% overall. Meanwhile, muscle mass is up at 0.4% from the previous week and 0.3% since starting. Doing the sums, this puts my starting muscle mass at 36.8kg versus 36.7kg now.
|Measurement||Last Week||This Week||Target|
|Resting Heart Rate||60bpm||60bpm||55bpm|
|Weight||15st 2.4lb (96.34kg)||15st 0.8lb (95.62kg)||14st 7.0lb (92.08kg)|
|Body Fat Percentage||19.7%||19.3%||10.0%|
|Body Water Percentage||55.0%||55.3%||60.0%|
|Body Muscle Percentage||38.0%||38.4%||43.0%|
|Chest||108.5cm (42.7″)||108.0cm (42.5″)||106.7 (42.0″)|
|Bicep||34.0cm (13.4″)||34.5cm (13.6″)||38.1cm (15.0″)|
|Waist||99.0cm (39.0″)||98.0cm (38.6″)||86.4cm (34.0″)|
The risk is when running a calorie deficit that you will always sacrifice some muscle mass in the process. Whilst I’m some 0.1kg down from when I started, overall the percentage of this muscle mass versus my total body weight is increasing.
Hopefully with the increased weights over the next week, I should see some good gains in muscle, and would be really pleased if I could try and shave off another half a percent of body fat.
I’m feeling good! Roll on Week Three!