James McQuarrie

A collection of random links and thoughts curated by James McQuarrie

Hitting 10% body fat – It’s all gone wrong

I’m sitting typing this post up as I cool down having just completed my final workout of the week. That’s week four of the second set of six now finished, tracked, and ready to be analysed. Only this week, I know I’m off course and further from rather than closer to achieving my 10% body fat goal.

Looking back to the start of this six week period, I was planning on trying something out, experimenting with the formula to see if a tweak here and there could improve upon my previous six weeks of intense workout plus slow carb diet success (I dropped 1.6% of my body fat without loosing too much weight in those first six weeks).

I wanted to see if introducing orange juice back into my diet along with dairy (low fat) could really inhibit me from loosing more fat. So for the past four weeks I’ve been having a glass of OJ with my eggs and spinach every morning and having a dash of semi-skimmed (1% fat) milk in my coffee now and then. I also changed my workout routine.

In the first six weeks I tried to run twice a week (5k a time) and complete a 30-40 minute workout routine 3-4 times a week. In this current six week set I decided to focus on building lean muscle and so dropped the running in favour of longer, harder weight sessions designed to be completed as circuits.

Over the first three weeks things were going okay. My body fat percentage was moving up slightly, but it wasn’t going up too much and a slight rise was to be expected given that I’d stopped running. I wasn’t burning as much fat, but I was feeling stronger, and after a few weeks of feeling like I was going to die by the end of my killer kettle-bell workout, I was adapting well to the workout.

But then, this week it all went wrong. My trusty scales, the seemingly magical device that I stand on every morning to see both my weight and my body fat percentage, my trusty digital friend died. Totally gave up the ghost on me.

No matter how hard I tried, it couldn’t be revived. So I had to make an emergency visit to my local John Lewis to get some new scales. Only, these new (very nice by the way) scales are not the same brand, or model and so when I read the instructions, set them up and got on to measure myself I wasn’t totally surprised to see that they give a different reading. I was, however, disappointed to see that they gave a significantly different reading. The last reading on the previous, original scales had been 18% body fat. These nice new scales showed 21.6%. Arse. (As an aside, they show my weight as being about 3kg lighter then the previous scales…)

As I said when I kicked this whole experiment off some two and bit months ago; home weighing scales are NOT the best way to measure your body fat percentage accurately. But, measuring with something is better than measuring with nothing at all, and as long as you stick to the same inaccurate measuring device, there should be an element of consistent inaccuracy. Alas, now I’m measuring with a different inaccuracy, and comparing my new readings with the old is like comparing apples with oranges.

So, as of week four of this second six week exercise and diet experiment I have learnt the important lesson of how faulty equipment can seriously screw up an experiment, that I should have been patient enough to source an exact replacement for the original scales and that not running (or maybe its the drinking orange juice / milk) does impact on how much fat I burn.

I’m going to continue with the next two weeks as planned (I’ve even invested in a bigger kettle-bell – 16kg – to make things a bit tougher) and continue to measure myself with the new scales. Then I’ll have the all important week off, and regroup for the next six week stint during which I plan on adding running back into the equation, perhaps even with a sprint training element in the hope of getting the new scales to show my body fat going in the right direction. Here’s hoping.