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Old 05-12-2004, 02:06 PM   #1
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mybody HB User
body fat & starvation mode

Hi everyone!

Ok, I've been working out for 7 months and just had my body fat checked again. Only 4% lost. A total of 6 lbs and 4% body fat. Now, I'm not complaining, because my body has really changed, but I am curious about this.

My trainer said that she was surprised that my % changed so little. It is probably because I don't eat enough. What do you all think about that? Does that sound right?

She wants me to make sure I eat at least 2000 calories a day so that I don't become "skinny fat". I'm 5'7", 129 lbs and work out (mostly weights now, a little cardio) 6 days a week & I'm pretty active at work this time of year. I don't eat junk

I'm trying to keep on top of it (it's been a week), but it's hard!! Thankfully, I just found a protein bar I can take. I want to get second (or 3 or 4!) opinions before I really start eating like a pig

THANKS!
Ami

 
Old 05-12-2004, 08:16 PM   #2
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Evl316 HB User
Re: body fat & starvation mode

2000 calories a day isn't eating like a pig at all. How are you measursing your body fat %? With a body fat scale that uses electrical current? Those are not very accurate at all and especially not for someone with muscle or athletic and vary depending on time of day due to water weight being different at different times of the day. I'd measure using fat calipers along with the scale to get a more accurate picture of things. Also don't assume just because you don't eat junk food that you are eating in a healthy enough manner to lose fat. A lot of foods typically considered good foods can add fat like pastas, white breads and other starchy foods like potatoes. Looking at the the body fat % scale for women it shows that a loss of 4% body fat will take you down one catagory, in otherwords from overfat to average or average to ideal or ideal to lean so that 4% is very significant so I don't know what your trainer is talking about saying 4% isn't much. Not to mention your exercise routine is mostly weights and not much cardio so I don't see the whole skinny fat thing at all. Perhaps you should consider spending your money more wisely as well. First thing I'd do is find a trainer that isn't a complete moron.
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Old 05-13-2004, 01:49 AM   #3
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Laurie2 HB User
Re: body fat & starvation mode

Also, being 129lbs at 5'7" is a good weight to begin with. What is your BF to begin with? 4% lower from being what? If it is in the teens, you are doing just fine.
There are different ways of measuring BF but most are only moderately accurate at best.

I would not worry about BF percentages. Eating 2000 calories while working out is about right. You have to keep up the energy/calories to help build the lean muscle and keep your metabolism up. Eat properly will also help with this too....as you did not say what your diet is....I can only assume you are eating properly but perhaps you might want to tweak that diet abit.

I have to agree with Evl316 about the "skinny fat". This sounds abit strange to me too. It just might be a tweaking of your present diet will help. Upping your protein to about one gram per pound of lean muscle mass. Protein suppliments are good if you have problems getting enough protein through your regular diet.

You did not mention your weight at this point or what you were when starting out. At seven months, I lost 40lbs lifting 3 days a week, 90 minutes a session in a college women's strength class. Used both freeweights and machines lifting moderately heavy weights, 4 sets at 10 reps.

Of course I started out at 245 too and after over a year I am now 178lbs. My BF is 29% at the moment...maybe abit less. But that is only going by my weight.....not how much muscle I have gained lifting all this time. So, going by BF percentages can be misleading...just as going by scales can be for the reasons. My best indicator has been my wardrobe. After 33 years of marriage being 245 and more ...I can wear premarriage clothes sizes now, although by the scale I still weigh abit more than I did then. The difference is the muscle gained through the lifting.

 
Old 05-13-2004, 07:47 AM   #4
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Naxis HB User
Re: body fat & starvation mode

How many calories are you getting now that 2000 calories is "pigging out"? If you're active in your job, that's really not too much. If you had a desk job, I'd say you might want to drop that a bit, otherwise you'll need it for fuel. As long as you divide it up into small meals every few hours, it will ensure that you have an opportunity to burn those calories rather than storing them. With all the resistance training you're doing, i don't know why your trainer would bring up an issue with "skinny fat". That's a term generally used for fairly thin people that have no lean muscle mass and a high body fat %. Unless you aren't getting enough protein, this should not apply. Also, like Evl mentioned, check the content of your diet. You can make a WORLD of difference if you get the diet in check. If you want a critique, list an average day of what you eat, how much and when. Include all drinks and condiments (coffee with cream/sugar, mayo or ketchup on anything... etc).
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Last edited by Naxis; 05-13-2004 at 07:55 AM.

 
Old 05-13-2004, 11:53 AM   #5
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mybody HB User
Re: body fat & starvation mode

Hi all - & thanks for the replies!!

Just to follow up - I mainly eat whole grains, lean meats, fruits & veggies. Pretty clean - really! I only drink water and do eat throughout the day. I added up my daily intake and saw I was around 1300, and I eat all day long. Which is why I think 2000 looks like so much.

I did mostly cardio for the first few months of joining the gym, but then switched to more weights because I was getting too thin. I went from a size 10 to a current loose 4. From 135 lbs, 30% body fat to 129/26% - measured with calipers. I didn't think it was a drastic change, but the trainer said it was fine. Then after a while (cuz I wouldn't shut up about how little I thought that was to lose, considering how dramatic my body appearance changed) she mentioned it might be beacause of my caloric intake.

So, again, I'm not complaining or really wanting to have less body fat (although seeing lower ab definition would rock!) I guess I'm just wondering if by eating more, I can expect my bf to decrease. I still run a mile or so a day (or equivalent). Or, could my body just like having a comfy layer of fat?

And Evl - I got the training sessions when I joined the gym. Had one left over from way back and thought I'd see how the numbers looked. Believe me, I can think of many, many more fun things to waste money than on a trainer

THANKS!
Ami

 
Old 05-13-2004, 01:40 PM   #6
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Evl316 HB User
Re: body fat & starvation mode

According to the body fat % chart I looked at a woman between the ages of 26 and 35 with a body fat % of 26% is right on the border between average and ideal and 30% is on the border between overfat and average. Percentages are slightly lower for a younger woman. Goes down about half a percent per 5 years of age.

As for your diet I'm not sure about your caloric intake level. How's your energy level? Any trouble sleeping? Feel tired a lot? My opinion would be if you like the changes your body is going through and your energy levels are good then your calorie intake may be fine as it is. If you want more muscle you'll have to eat more obviously and if you increase your energy expendeture you also need more calories. That is that you need more calories than the amount you need to maintain your body under normal activities. Kind of one of those things you have to expirement with and see how you feel and how your body responds.

The problem with eating too little is that your body can go into starvation mode which will cause a person to become "skinny fat". What that means is that the body feels as though it's being starved. Your body recognizes it's burning more calories than it's getting from your food intake so what happens is your body starts to eat away at your own muscle for energy and then takes what you eat and stores it as fat. It's a human survival instinct. Your body keeps only the minimum amount of muscle it needs and then converts the rest to fat in order to store as much fat as possible to get you through this starvation period of your life. It's easiest to think of this process in the time of the caveman as they went through periods of starvation followed by periods of plentiful food and this body process helped them to survive. Unfortunately your body doesn't realize this is 2004 and food is plentiful all the time (at least in the US). I'm not saying this process is happening with you just explaining the process behind it so you understand why it's important to eat enough because you can store fat by eating too little or too much, trick is to eat just right.
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Old 05-14-2004, 08:21 AM   #7
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mybody HB User
Re: body fat & starvation mode

Howdy!

Evl - thanks for the informative reply. My energy levels are through the roof for the most part, and sleep is better than it used to be before I got in shape, so I guess I'm getting enough to eat.

That being said, I will continue to increase my calories some & see what happens. I definitely don't want to go into starvation mode, although I'm not sure I'm at risk for that. Why work so hard creating muscle only to have it devoured by my own body?

And if eating more will aid in my muscle development & definition, then I'm all for it!!!

Can't keep typing - must go eat!!!

Ami

 
Old 05-14-2004, 10:01 AM   #8
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VELOWcity80 HB User
Re: body fat & starvation mode

Reply with your workout reigimine ...

 
Old 05-17-2004, 08:18 AM   #9
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mybody HB User
Re: body fat & starvation mode

Hey!

My routine is still a work in progress. I work out 6 days a week starting with some light cardio (10 min. max), then on to weights, finishing with a 10 minute mile or so run.

Last week's schedule went like this:
Monday: Light shoulders & Abs
Tuesday: Heavy Biceps
Wednesday:Back/Light Triceps
Thursday:Heavy Triceps & Abs
Friday: Heavy Legs/Abs
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Heavy Biceps/Chest

I'm trying to develop a routine, instead of just going in & doing whatever strikes my fancy....

Ami

 
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