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The Unconventional Way to Measure how much Fat to Lose

The Unconventional Way to Measure how much Fat to Lose


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There are a million ways to try to measure how much fat you need to lose to come in competition ready. After you've had a few competitions behind you you'll know exactly where you need to be. But that first one is a bit of a guessing game. So here's a non-scientific way to try to estimate how much you need to lose.

For my first competition I lost a lot of muscle during the 12 weeks prior due to miscalculations on my part about how much fat/weight I needed to lose to step on stage with confidence. I panicked as the weeks counted down and cut my carbs and calories way too much, while simultaneously increasing cardio. The unfortunate result was robbing my body of precious calories and carbs it needed to sustain my hard-earned muscle mass. I stepped on stage a smaller version of my old self, with little muscle definition to show for all my hard work.

Now that I know better and understand more clearly what my body needs to function at its best, I craft a plan and pretty much stick to it for the 12-14 weeks of competition preparation. My calories don't dip too low (no less than 1400/day for me) and I cycle my carbs to keep my metabolism confused. It means I will generally lose 1/2 to 1 pound of fat per week, stepping on stage at a lean, but muscular form of myself.

As the weeks tick away I try to be careful not to over-analyze my progress. I think it's easy for us to find ourselves obsessing about our progress. So I tend not to measure myself too often, and use a tactile method to estimate where I am in my progress toward fat loss.

How does this work? Cup your hand and grab the fat in your problem areas. Using the photo shown here (1 pound of fat illustrated) you can safety guesstimate how much in fat you need to lose in that area. Here's an example for a pear-shaped woman - glutes, thighs and hams roughly 6 pounds, abdominal area roughly 1 pound, then add a few pounds for the non-problem areas to account for inter-muscular fat and all other areas of the body.

Scientific method? Absolutely not. Absurd? Maybe a little. It certainly doesn't replace getting your body fat measured by an expert. But it's a remarkably helpful, reasonable gauge that will help you not to panic as you get closer to competition.

Author: Kristin Shaffer

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