Two years ago, I was shocked to learn that my body fat percentage was nearly 25%. This led quickly to a series of changes in what I eat, how I work out, and how I schedule my day. I set an audacious goal of achieving 10% body fat at 165 pounds. This goal–and the vision of lean strength it represented–infused me with positive energy that would not have come from a more modest target. It launched a bold new set of practices and allowed me to “return to form” after breaking my arm in March 2012 and losing many hours of sleep from having an infant in the house.
Two weeks ago, after the body fat measured 18% at 148 pounds, I decide to recommitted to a new goal of 12% body fat at 155 pounds. Still audacious yet easier to maintain once reached, and the weight is more appropriate for my frame size.
As a way to fill you in, here is the post that launched things:
Fatter than you think
For years I’ve been a slender guy. Not a lot of fat. Not a lot of muscle. Three years ago, I decided to build more muscle and coined a slogan to inspire progress: “No more skinny guy.” After several months of strength training and protein-heavy diet, I gained several pounds of muscle. And remained at 10-12 percent fat, at least according to my $20 body fat caliper, Accu-Measure, one of the best of its kind.
Then I started a full-time job while running my business on the side. Every day, people put sweets in front of me. Because I was working so hard, I thought, “What’s a little cookie? Hey, I deserve it.” Then Jacob came into our life. A year of sleepless nights followed. I began drinking caffeine–often mochas–and eating even more sweets. “What’s a little brownie? Hey, now I really deserve it.” At the same time, I was exercising less because either (a) I was too tired or (b) I felt like I didn’t have the time. And in truth, with a 55-hour work week and an infant son who woke up ten times a night, I didn’t have a lot of spare time.
In April, when I returned full-time to my business, I began to pay more attention to my health and body. One of the first things I noticed is that I had a belly. For the first time in my life. And it appeared to be growing.
Now the funny thing was that nobody else seemed to notice. When I pointed to my belly, they would laugh it off. If I made an offhand comment like, “You know, I think I’m getting fat,” they’d give me that looks that says: You, sir, are deranged.
Well, I may be deranged, but today came proof that I am indeed fat. 24.5% by body weight. That’s double what it was (or so I thought) three years ago. Here’s the machine that produced the data:
This space module thing is called a Bod Pod. It’s nearly as accurate as underwater hydrostatic testing but takes far less time (only 5 minutes total) and effort. I paid $46 for the first measurement and will pay $36 for all future measurements. A friend in the Midwest paid $25. Here’s a useful article that the Seattle Times ran about the Bod Pod.
24.5% body fat. Surprised? I am. But I’m also inspired. Here’s why:
- I have what in business we call a “burning platform.” It’s one thing to improve health practices when you think you’re doing pretty well. It’s quite another when you realize your habits are placing you at risk of serious health problems.
- Fat percentage is for me a leading indicator. It’s not a heart attack or a cancer diagnosis. There are steps I can take to reduce risk.
- I have a plan.
- I have money at stake. Recently I challenged two friends to a fat loss competition (without realizing how much I really needed it).
More on the plan–and the competition–in upcoming posts.