Metrics to Measure Progress

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Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  luthersetzer on Sat May 01, 2010 1:28 pm

As I embark on this new HIT journey, I want to know what metrics to use to measure progress beyond weights and repetitions.

Some that come to mind include:

1. Percent body fat
2. Cholesterol levels

I have normal blood pressure so these two medical metrics are the only ones I can imagine at the moment as being important to my health.

Suggestions?
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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  sgsims1 on Sat May 01, 2010 2:23 pm

The mirror! affraid Laughing Laughing
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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  thebiggfella on Sat May 01, 2010 3:12 pm

From an appearance point of view, the mirror, measuring tape, performance in the gym and overall bodyweight are the best and most practical way of regularly measuring your progress. If you can get periodic access to a bod-pod, then this will give you a reasonably accurate measure of your body fat, but anything else will just give you a rough guide.
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Measurements

Post  Drew Baye on Sun May 02, 2010 3:28 pm

Although body fat estimates based on skin folds tend to be off by around +/- 4%, calipers can be useful. You can use abdominal skinfold measurements to tell if you are gaining or losing fat, without needing to do the calculations - if your abdominal skinfold is going up, you're getting fatter, going down, you're getting leaner, not changing, you're maintaining.

Every couple of weeks check your abdominal skinfold. If your weight is going up but your skinfold is not, you're building muscle with little or no fat gain. If your skinfold is going up significantly, you need to cut calories or adjust macronutrient intakes.

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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  fantombe on Wed May 05, 2010 10:08 am

Don't think anyone's mentioned it yet, but you should take standardised photographs as well. Find a spot with a plain background and fairly neutral lighting and get shots (full body) from the front, back, and sides. That way in a few months time, you can accurately assess any changes to your appearance.

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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  luthersetzer on Thu May 06, 2010 11:33 am

Not full body but close enough to start:

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

I am not happy about this weight gain but going back to the breakneck P90X rate of an hour a day appeals to me even less.

Current body fat is 21% as measured with calipers in my workplace fitness center by a trainer there.

I start my first Body by Science "Big Five" workout tonight at Planet Fitness!
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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  thebiggfella on Thu May 06, 2010 11:49 am

Get your diet right and that body fat percentage will soon drop. Just don't go too far under maintenance. I'd aim for 1 - 2 pounds fat loss a week. This means you'll be eating enough to still gain strength and some muscle whilst maintaining the fat loss. The last thing you want to do is rush the fat loss.
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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  fantombe on Thu May 06, 2010 11:57 am

Nice photos. I know it's completely unrelated to the purpose of the photos, but it's nice to see someone smiling in their befores for a change! Very Happy

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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  luthersetzer on Thu May 06, 2010 3:38 pm

This is a typical P90X Phase 1 (Fat Shredder) menu on which I lost a substantial amount of fat when I went onto it back in late 2004 to early 2005:

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The only difference here is that I omitted the P90X Recovery Drink I consumed once daily after the main P90X workout although I may take it after my weekly "Big Five" workout.

The "Meal Names" are actually just placeholders as I spread these consumables evenly throughout the day and refrained from eating after 6 PM whenever I could help it.

I usually eat Post Shredded Wheat for cereal and often substitute Muscle Milk for the meat serving.

The "Protein (Protein)" lines are standard commercial whey protein powder drinks while "Bar (Bar)" is an Atkins or similar protein bar.

I probably need to add Beano to this list because lately lots of protein has given me lots of gas!

As an aside, my current avatar comes from my peak of P90X fitness in April 2006 when I weighed 198 lbs and had 10% body fat.

Current weight is 216 lbs.
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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  luthersetzer on Fri May 07, 2010 8:38 am

Holy smokes! That was ... intense. I am really glad I paid the trainer fifty cents per minute to push me through the "Big Five" workout. She was worth every penny. I doubt I would have been able to push myself the way she pushed me.

I expected to feel tired, but I was shocked that a workout lasting less than twenty minutes would leave me feeling like the energy vampire drained me from head to toe. I went straight home, guzzled a P90X Recovery Drink per the trainer's recommendation, and went straight to bed before 8:00 PM. Sleep was a bit restless but still decent.
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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  luthersetzer on Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:56 am

Seven "Big Five Workout" sessions later (plus three liters of water per day and a diet favoring whole fruits and vegetables and fish over grains and other less wholesome items):

Weight loss: eight pounds
Fat loss: one percent (21% to 20%)

I had sought more fat percentage loss but expect in the coming months to get to a better place.

I will wait a few more months to post new photographs but my wife and I can definitely see a difference in the mirror!

As an aside, I also did a round of GNC Super Colon Cleanse and am now taking regular Colon Cleanse which relieved some bloating issues.

I only do the "Big Five Workout" once weekly on Thursdays with a trainer at Planet Fitness though occasionally I have a two week gap due to trips out of town.

I started this program May 7.

I am not unhappy with the results thus far given the small amounts of time the program takes.
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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  sgsims1 on Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:39 pm

Great job Luther! Your mention of P90x reminded me of someone I work with. The guy is 10 years younger than me, and lost a good 50lbs in a short period of time doing p90x and dieting. Now, I lost a bit less over a longer period of time, but I KNOW that my weight is STAYING off and that I can stay on this program well into old age.....to see that guy huffing and puffing I doubt he is going to keep up that kind of a regimen for any length of time.

Funny thing is, you still can't convince anyone that they can make major changes in their body by changing the quantity of their intake and training once a week for 15 minutes....I get comments and compliments all the time, but when I start to exlpain how I did it, I get this: Rolling Eyes
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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  luthersetzer on Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:53 pm

The P90X program is great for someone in decent shape who really needs to whip himself into great shape in a hurry. I have ready that the military has been using it on reserve soldiers to do just that. But I cannot imagine anyone except a professional trainer managing it over the long haul. It takes too much time and unless you already exercise for a living, it makes no sense to maintain that kind of frantic pace. Of course, it has never been sold as anything but a crash program, and even one of the guys who helped in its development admits, "[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]."
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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  fantombe on Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:03 am

A lot of interesting accounts from both P90Xers and Crossfitters after the article. Even McGuff gets a mention:

I like Body By Science’s approach: 12 minutes on, 10,068 minutes off! I just ordered the book. Can’t wait to see what it’s all about…

Dave, RN wrote on March 5th, 2010

Right on, Dave.
Been doing BBS for 6 weeks and loving it. Progress in resistance levels has been amazing. I’m an amputee (don’t let a car hit you while riding your motorcycle), and every other system I’ve seen requires use of both legs. BBS is for everyone else.

Jim (retired) wrote on March 6th, 2010

Starting Strength for form, BBS for program and the science behind it… can’t go wrong. Simple and effective and you can even do it with dumbbells in a pinch.

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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  luthersetzer on Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:11 pm

I am down to 200 pounds now. I credit part of my success to close monitoring of food intake. A dietitian recommended [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for this purpose. It is a free site. What I love is its seemingly limitless database of foods. Just search for a food by name, select it, and enter it into your menu for the day. Quick copy tools make entry a snap.

I am currently targeting 1540 calories of intake per day. My goal weight is 185 pounds. So far, so good.

My arms and chest are noticeably more muscular but I am not ready to post "after" photographs yet.
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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  HDHITman on Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:57 pm

I am slightly surprised by the total lack of calories in your weight loss plan. Could you please explain why you have chosen to go that low, at that number most I think would not even have the energy to train. I am worried that when your weight loss plateaus that any further reduction in calories would put you to low and not be able to maintain a well balanced diet. I think in John Heart's Get Lean First program he uses this type of approach for quick weight loss mixed with the Ideal Principle Routine(High Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way), so that you maintain muscle, but goes to further say that once you go below 1200 calories in your diet, being able to maintain a balance diet is impossible, and for you at your current level leads to only another 340 calorie reduction. Also when do you compensate for increased muscle mass by giving them calories to maintain the muscle?

Just my thoughts could you please explain.

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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  luthersetzer on Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:51 pm

The tool allows the user to select the target number of pounds to lose per week. I initially targeted 1.0 pound per week (~1850 calories per week) but just recently raised it to 1.5 pounds per week (~1540). But I would be lying to say I have kept my intake that low. I have noticed that most days I do "cheat" and get an extra snack (or more) during the day. The main benefit of the tool is that it keeps me honest and prevents me from going overboard on the snacking.

The only reason I made that change was because I was "cheating" at the higher calorie intake and eating even more than the reasonable (~1850) number of calories per day.
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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  fantombe on Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:39 am

I regularly have men on as little as 1200 calories as part of a calorie cycle, and women on as low as 1000. Generally you'll find when you're working out for less than half an hour three or less times per week, it's plenty to maintain energy throughout the day and allow the energy from fat stores to build the muscle.

Although bare in mind their diet is around 50-60% carbs, so a large portion of their calorie needs (in my case) does come from the "energy" calorie, which certainly helps.

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Re: Metrics to Measure Progress

Post  luthersetzer on Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:02 pm

I had my fat measured today with calipers to reveal 18% body fat. That is a 3% overall drop since I started in May at 21%. My weight has dropped 16 pounds since May from 216 to 200. So I calculated as follows:

21% * 216 = 45 pounds of fat
18% * 200 = 36 pounds of fat
-----------------------------
Net fat loss = 9 pounds of fat

While I am quite happy about this, I actually thought I would have gotten leaner based on how I look in the mirror. I will continue the "Big Five Workout" well into the future while working on reducing my calories. (I manage to cheat enough now to average close to 2000 calories per day.) I am thinking 185 pounds might be a good weight for me.
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