Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Body-Fat Cut


Courtney and I have been pretty good about exercising and eating well in general, and I've had great results focusing on a better diet over the last year or so. That being said, I found that, for me, our Saturday "cheat day" crept into Friday afternoon/evening, and sometimes into Sunday, and was affecting my overall results.
I decided to try out a six-week body-fat cut, and Courtney was adventurous enough to join me.

I joined the Kansas City Ultimate league this year, and felt that the stretch of weekly games over the summer would be a perfect way to maximize my cardio during this cut. It actually paved the way for the rest of this six-week plan.

We started on July 7th and ended on August 16th.

Day Nick's Exercise Courtney's Exercise
Monday Boot Camp
(lunch-hour class at Garmin)
Running or elliptical machine
Tuesday Morning strength training
Lunch-hour Ultimate pickup game
Morning strength training
Wednesday Morning strength/Tabata training
Lunch-hour kickball game
Morning strength/Tabata training
Thursday Morning strength training
Lunch-hour sand volleyball game
Evening Ultimate league game
Morning strength training
Friday Rest Running or elliptical machine
Saturday Morning P90X Yoga Morning P90X Yoga
Sunday Rest Rest

Workout Details


Most importantly, though, was the focus on nutrition. During this six-week cut, we used My Fitness Pal to track our caloric and micro-nutrient intake. To determine our caloric and micro-nutrient intake per day, I used the formula outlined in the Built Lean program. (The Built Lean program is fantastic, BTW. It has done more to educate me in matters of body fat loss and muscle retention than anything else I've encountered. Take some time to browse the site.) Essentially, we ate ~30% fewer calories than we burn via our basal metabolic rate. In addition, we imparted the following rules/guidelines:
  • No cheat day*
  • No alcohol**
  • Avoid:
    • Flour, especially white flour
    • Sugar
  • Emphasize:
    • Lean meats:
      • Chicken
      • Turkey
      • Fish
    • Eggs
    • Lean dairy
      • Cottage cheese
      • Plain Greek yogurt
    • Vegetables
    • Beans (legumes)
    • Nuts
    • Fruit
*Yeah, I slipped a little on this. There were a couple of Saturdays where I binged a bit, but I tried to keep it to binging on things from the list. :)
**This was tough. I did break it a couple of times, but still kept my overall calorie-count on those days.

Results - Numbers

Nick's Measurements
Measurement Before After
Weight 157 lbs. 146 lbs.
Body-fat percentage  8.80% 6.44%
Chest 40 in. 39 ¾ in.
Overarm 47 ½ in. 45 ¼ in.
Waist 32 in. 29 ¾ in.
Belly 32 in. 29 ¼ in.
Hips 38 ¾ in. 36 ½ in.
Thigh 21 ½ in. 20 ¼ in.
Neck 14 ½ in. 13 ¾ in.
Bicep 13 in. 13 in.

Courtney's Measurements
Measurement Before After
Weight 140 lbs. 132 ½ lbs.
Body-fat percentage  17.52% 15.25%
Chest 35 ¼ in. 35 in.
Overarm 41 ¾ in. 40 ¼ in.
Waist 30 ½ in. 29 in.
Belly 32 ½ in. 31 ½ in.
Hips 41 ½ in. 39 ½ in.
Thigh 21 ½ in. 20 ½ in.
Neck 12 ¾ in. 12 ½ in.
Bicep 11 ¾ in. 11 ¾ in.

Body-fat Analysis

For body-fat percentage, we used this guide for a 7-site skin-fold test with a set of simple calipers. I'm not completely convinced of its accuracy, but these are the detailed measurements and results.

Nick's Skin-Fold Measurements (in mm)
Measurement Before After
Chest 2/3/5* 4/2/4
Abdominal 7/9/10 7/7/6
Thigh 9/10/10 8/8/7
Tricep 11/11/10 8/7/7
Subscapular 10/9/8 7/7/7
Suprailiac 5/7/6 5/4/5
Midaxillary 10/9/10 6/6/5

Courtney's Skin-Fold Measurements (in mm)
Measurement Before After
Chest 5/2/4* 4/3/3
Abdominal 10/10/10 8/8/8
Thigh 26/26/26 24/24/25
Tricep 20/18/18 12/10/10
Subscapular 8/8/8 8/8/8
Suprailiac 6/8/8 8/7/6
Midaxillary 6/5/5 6/7/6

*we performed 3 tests in each location

Nick's Results from the Calculator
Measurement Before After
Body Fat % 8.80% 6.44%
Weight from body fat 12.85 lbs 9.40 lbs
Lean body weight 133.15 lbs 136.60 lbs

Courtney's Results from the Calculator
Measurement Before After
Body Fat % 17.52% 15.25%
Weight from body fat 24.53 lbs 20.21 lbs
Lean body weight 115.47 lbs 112.29 lbs

Unfortunately, to get a very accurate result of body composition, we would need to take a DEXA scan, which costs $100-250, and I don't think that it's worth it. For now, I'll just consider these measurements to be decent estimates.

Results - Photos