Archive | November 2012

Body Composition Test with DXA Scan and Goals

I went to the Body Composition Center in Redwood City, CA this week to get a DXA scan (formerly known as DEXA).  This is a low-dose x-ray that can determine body mass.   Here’s what the results looked like:


I had an evaluation using a different tool (the BodPod) in January 2011 which put me at 235lbs, 35% body fat, and 153lbs of lean body mass.

This week I was 218lbs, 27% body fat, and 158lbs of lean body mass.   If these two evaluations can be accurately compared then I gained about 5 lbs of muscle and lost 20 lbs of fat.  I am sure I lost more fat since I gained a good amount of weight after the 2011 scan was taken.

The DXA scan also gave me a bone density score (good) and a visceral fat score (also fine).

How is this useful information?  It allows me to form clearer goals.  For the sake of simplicity I’m assuming  lean body does not change much during cutting.

Let me start with some extreme goals:

  1. 10% body fat at 175lbs – an end goal for the dieting I’ve been doing for the past 15 years
  2. 20% body fat at 213lbs – a likely impossible bulk to 171lbs of lean body mass, an idea of my natural maximum
  3. 10% body fat at 190lbs – again a cut back to 10%

I don’t always buy into calories-in calories-out hypothesis but it’s one way to set a goal.  The generic Harris-Benedict BMR formula gives me that 2500 calories/day number.  The more specific Katch-McArdle formula using lean body mass gives 2300 calories/day.

Let’s say I have a daily caloric need of 2300 cals and I can restrict myself to 1800 cals per day, that’s 1 pound a week.

So smaller, pretty realistic goals from 218 can be

  1. 8 weeks to 210 [3 weeks to 213 for this current DietBet that I’m participating in]
  2. 10 weeks to 200
  3. 10 weeks to 190
  4. 10 weeks to 180
  5. 5 weeks to 175

11 months to 10%.

For some context, the current dietbet takes me to 213 so if I can achieve that then 210 should be possible even with some stumbles.

Of course I’ve set goals like this before only to watch the near opposite happen.

  1. 8 weeks to 230
  2. 10 weeks to 240
  3. 10 weeks to 250
  4. 10 weeks to 260

Building Better Habits with Lift

I’ve been using an application called Lift that helps form positive habits.  After downloading and creating an account, you add tasks that you want to do each day like “exercise” or “eat healthy.”  Each day you check those tasks when they’ve been accomplished.   Some of the fun of the application is that you can see how many other people are trying to form that particular habit.  The mobile interface is incredibly clean and simple to use.

Here are the habits that I’ve tracked for about 5 weeks now:

  • Sleep by midnight
  • Sleep 8 hours
  • Eat breakfast
  • Eat a low-carb diet
  • Exercise
  • Yoga or Stretch
  • Stop drinking soda
  • ZEO

I didn’t check-in on the habits every day but most have been successful formed into my daily routine.  “Stopping soda” and “sleep by midnight“ have been the most successful.

I’m going to retire these habits and replace them with more specific goals or different ones for this next month.  I’ll also attempt to check-in every single day to get a more accurate count.

  • Theraband shoulder stretches – replaces Yoga or Stretch
  • MMA, Lift, or Walk  – replaces Exercise
  • Weigh-in lower than yesterday  – this ends up being a combined measurement of total calories, LC diet, eating breakfast, sleeping
  • GAPS full diet – a different way to define a super-clean diet, more restrictive on food choices than low-carb
  • HRV training
  • ZEO

I also run a few social habits that I’m going to continue.

  • Do something nice for my girlfriend
  • Talk to at least one stranger
  • Write for 30 minutes

Here’s a summary from the Lift website (

November 28, 2012


2856cals.  4% carbs, 16% protein, 80% fat

1 hour boxing, 1 hour jiu-jitsu

DXA Scan

DXA Scan

DXA Scan from 11/28/2012.
27% BF at 218lbs.
Taken at the Body Composition Center in Redwood City, CA.

November 27, 2012

218.8 lbs

Cals: 1748; fat 81%, carbs 2%, protein 17%

Protein Powder
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Egg Yolk
Almond Milk, Vanilla Unsweetened

BCAA, fish oil, creatine, magnesium, D, K, collagen

    Barbell Squat:
        255 lb x 3 reps
        300 lb x 3 reps (PR)
        255 lb x 4 reps
        235 lb x 5 reps
    Power Clean:
        125 lb x 3 reps
        125 lb x 3 reps
        125 lb x 3 reps
    Barbell Bench Press (trying to find working set):
        155 lb x 3 reps
        165 lb x 1 reps
        155 lb x 4 reps
        155 lb x 3 reps
        135 lb x 6 reps
    Pull-Up (negative only): 6,6,6
    Push-Up: 6,6,6

cals: 1748; fat 85%, carbs 2%, protein 13.26%

November 26, 2012

Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Pure Irish Butter
Canned Atlantic salmon
Pure Irish Butter
Vanilla Greek Yogurt
Egg Yolk
Pure Irish Butter
Almond Milk, Vanilla Unsweetened
Heavy Whipping Cream
Large Egg

Creatine Powder, Vitamin D, BCAA, Fish Oil

Calories    2563.25
Carbohydrates    20    3%
Fat        227    80%
Protein        108    17%

60 minutes boxing practice followed by stretching

Fitness Log: November 24, 2012

1 minute jog/1 minute walk intervals for 1.7 miles to gym
Squat 290×3,235×6,235×6
Deadlift 285×5
OHP 85×5,95×5,95×5

I was impressed that I could jog/walk to the gym today and still have energy for a leg workout.
(Warmup sets omitted.  OHP = standing barbell shoulder press)