denny: (Dangerous Steve has defeated gravity!)
[personal profile] denny
Okay, started making some progress again (I think)...

Always tricky to tell with these new scales, as they're quite sensitive/random (I'm actually going to return them and try a different brand), but the trend seems to be on the move again - which is nice, given that I've been going to the gym a reasonable amount the last few weeks.

For the third day in a row, this morning my body-fat was ~16.0% and my muscle was ~40.0% - previously they'd been holding at ~16.8% and ~39.5% for quite a while.

To recap, my original targets were just to hit the averages for my age - which I worked out at the time were about 15% for body-fat, and about 42% for muscle. So, I'm getting very close to that now - but the gains are coming verrrrrry slowly, which is mildly dispiriting.

I think at this point I'm just trying to get into a routine, without any hope of motivational levels of improvement happening in any appreciable timeframe, which is harder to get your head around than 'work harder, look better within weeks'. Still, progress is being made, however slowly, and I am starting to get this bloody-minded sort of attitude that "it's a day with a Y in it, hence I am going to the gym" (works about 50% of the time).

Anyway, a couple of thoughts on those 'average' goals... firstly, as I approach it, my body-fat goal seems possibly a bit too high. Having looked at a whole load of photos online showing how various levels of body-fat look on various men, I'm now thinking I may want to try to keep cutting that down a bit more, to around 12% or thereabouts. Yay for moving the goalposts! :-p I will still be happy when I reach 15%, because hitting your goals is awesome, but I do suspect that I'm probably not going to want to stop at that level. On the other hand, losing fat does get harder the lower you go, and I know I'm going to hit the point of diminishing returns pretty soon where I'm not happy to change/restrict my diet or spend any more time on exercise, and at that point I'll take whatever I've got and be happy about it! :)

Secondly, for the muscle percentage... it's possible that I'm already above average, for my age at least. My scales show a bar chart along the bottom of each measurement indicating whether you're below or above average (it runs from - to ++, with 12 steps). According to that, I'm already up to the first bar in the '+' region, or 'slightly above average'. I did have some trouble finding what an average muscle level for my age might be when I first started all this body-shaping stuff - the only thing I could find was Wikipedia saying 42% is average for men in general. I also found another site that said if unused, muscle deteriorates at a rate of about 0.5% per year, so maybe the scales are assuming some wastage along those lines is normal. Or maybe they're just full of shit! So um, yay for my above average muscles, maybe. :-p Anyway, as with the other goal, at this point I think my muscle goals are transferring to strength goals (and Fitocracy challenges!), and it's possible that I'll continue to challenge myself on weights regardless of what it does or doesn't do for my muscle levels.

As a footnote that probably belongs in here, although it's proper health/strength stuff rather than the more vain body-shaping stuff; since I started doing barbell squats at the gym, a load of the musculature etc around my hips has started working far better than it previously did. Mobility restrictions that physio-prescribed stretches and exercises didn't touch seem to have been blown away by the simple act of trying to balance my own body-weight* on my shoulders while sitting down and getting up again! Now, that could have just as easily (or more easily) gone the other way and made everything much worse, so I'm very pleased (and a little surprised) that it's had such positive results for me. Yay for lifting heavy things.

* I managed to barbell squat 80kg last week. In a Smith machine, which is a bit like stabilisers for barbell squats, but even so, that's considerably more than I weigh (66kg or so). I was quite pleased with myself after managing that :)
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