G Got Fat – The Conclusion
It’s been an interesting 12 weeks. You’d think the challenge is done but it’s actually only beginning for me. The last few months have created the building blocks for my fitness. I’m now the fittest I’ve been since my hip surgery 2 years ago. I certainly came across my challenges along the way, my 9-month old son, Connor getting sick creating a lack of sleep for everyone at home, myself and Pam also becoming sick, social occasions, soreness. These are all part of life though. Everyone, no matter who you are, will have obstacles on any journey.
Over the whole period I lost a total of 7.5kg. A number that I’m very happy with. I had a fast initial drop off, one that was expected when changing from pints to salad! When you visit Ireland, you’ll understand… It was then a gradual drop off of weight until I got towards the last four weeks. The lower I got, the slower the drop was. It’s a natural progression of any weight loss journey. Our bodies are incredible at adapting to external stimuli, so we need to be ever adapting to keep up with it.
I immensely enjoyed my strength program. My body reacts well to that type of training, both mentally and physically and as mentioned in my previous post, I hit a few personal bests along the way. PBs are amazing. When you’ve done something you’ve never been able to do before, make a note of it because it’s a pretty big deal. Then, for the future, you’ve got something to work on and go beyond.
Now let’s take a look at the cold, hard results. My First DEXA scan was on the 15th of January and my second was the 22nd of April. Here’s a table comparing my before and after results and a picture of each DEXA scan:
|Jan 15th||April 22nd|
|Total Fat Mass||17.8kg||
Total Fat %
|Total Lean Mass||80.7kg||
Body Mass Category
I found these results very interesting. Let me break each of the categories down for you.
First off let’s look at fat. Of my 7.5kg loss, 4kg of that was pure fat. 4kg of fat = 30,800kcals (see my fat-loss fact blog for more info on that. Kcal=calorie). That means over the 12 weeks, I burnt at least 30,800 more kcals than I consumed, which is a daily deficit of about 350 kcals. That is an extremely manageable amount to take out of your daily consumption. Given my size and level of activity, I burn anywhere from 2,800-3,500 kcals/day. That meant I could consume 2,500-3,200 kcals through food/drinks and still lose weight. It’s hugely important to know your energy input/output if you want to lose weight. How do you find out? There’s different formulae to calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate – the amount of calories you burn just by functioning, not including exercise) and then you can wear a heart rate monitor to calculate extra calories. It’s not going to be 100% accurate but you’ll get a decent idea. Apps like My Fitness Pal help you track calories that you consume and will match them against calories burnt. Now, back to fat. Check out my % difference, 3.1%. Not much, but 4kg of fat is a decent amount. The % is based off lean mass, basically everything that isn’t fat and bone, therefore it doesn’t properly represent how much fat I actually have. When talking fat, talk kgs. You can’t hide from them! You can put on body fat and muscle mass over a given period and be left with the same % but have more kg of fat than before, which for most of us, is not ideal.
Next up is lean mass. There was a loss of 3.5kg. This is probably the DEXA’s weakness in that fluids are associated with lean mass in the results. That means there’s no way to determine how much of that was fluid loss and how much was muscle mass. If I wanted to get a more accurate reading on lean mass, I would have had to have fasted 5 hours before the DEXA each time and I don’t like being hungry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry… My main focus wasn’t lean mass, I wanted to attack fat mass, so this number doesn’t bother me too much.
The bod mass category is classified by the DEXA centre and is split in to 4 categories; Overweight-Healthy-Lean-Athlete. The amount of body fat, in kg, determines your category. I went from Healthy to Lean. I’m currently in the low end of Lean and would like to get closer to the Athlete category. That would require me losing another 2.5-3kg of fat. Each category contains 4-5kg of fat, so the athlete category starts at 5kg of fat (any less and you’d be pretty close to dead) and goes up to 10kg. That’s where lean starts. Healthy begins at 14.5kg and overweight at 19kg. These are the figures for males, I have no idea what it is for females.
The last of those figures is BMI. I don’t like BMI and I want to show you why. It’s height vs weight and doesn’t even look at composition. A score of 25 and under is healthy for BMI. I’m 26.5, which classifies me as overweight, yet I’m in the lean category. Please do not use BMI as an indicator of anything. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Here’s what I’ve learned from this experience.
- First of all, I remembered just how easy it is to put on weight and lose focus. With Connor being born in the middle of last year and no real training goal, I put my training aside and let my fitness slip. Partner that with a long trip away and all of a sudden I found myself out of shape and feeling crap.
- I learned that if you want to work hard, you have to rest hard! Some days I was doing two big training sessions within the day and if I didn’t have my food or sleep right, recovery was a lot harder.
- Consistency is key. Something I already knew but was able to put it to good practice. Even if I was pushed for time, tired, not bothered I made sure I did my workout and ate what I needed to.
- You can enjoy a few indulgences along the way. In the 12 weeks, I went to two engagement parties, and had a few occasions where I enjoyed a few drinks and ate some food that wasn’t all that healthy. Moderation is important when indulging and know that there are consequences to going off track too much.
- It was much more manageable creating a routine that I can now follow after my initial period. Too often people go too extreme trying to maximise results in such a short space of time and then quit due to the difficulty. My biggest piece of advice is to keep it simple and keep it manageable!
I want to say a big thank you to my best friend/partner Pam who helped me along the way. She kept me motivated, encouraged me and helped keep me accountable for what I was doing.
I hope this will help anyone looking to go through a similar journey of their own. Good luck!