If you’ve read anything at all about nutrition and building and the perfect muscle building diet, you know you should be paying attention to what you’re eating. Putting on extra pounds is good if those pounds are muscle mass. However, if the weight is more fat than muscle, this is probably not the result you desire.
Have you ever looked around the gym and noticed weight lifters looking more “bulky” rather than “muscular”?
How do you know if you’re added weight is muscle or fat? How do you monitor your fat versus non-fat weight so you don’t fall into the same trap? There is a simple way to tell.
See my posting on Achieving The Right Balance for more info on what you should be eating and when.
First you’ll need to know your percentage of body fat. There are many methods to measure this important figure, but for the purposes of this site, the best one is by far using calipers to do the measuring. Since your a weight lifter, you’re probably going to a gym where you can have a professional perform this test. Doing it at home is also a possibility and there are calipers you can purchase, such as AccuMeasure MyoTape MT05 and AM-3000 Fitness 3000 Personal Body Fat Tester Kit that will a fairly good job.
However, for the most accurate results, measurements should be taken at several different sites on your body, over the course of time. This is best performed each time by the same qualified person.There are other methods as well, such as the “U.S.Navy Method” where you use a tape measure to determine the size of different parts of your body and plug the figures into a formula. Or expensive tests done at doctors or fitness offices using elaborate machines. Some are more reliable than others. Some are more expensive.Once you know your percentage of body fat, you’ll want to calculate how much of your total weight is fat, versus non-fat (lean muscle, organ tissues, water, etc.)
Simply take your total weight and multiply it by your percentage. This is your total fat weight.
Then take your total weight, subtract your body fat weight, and the result is your non-fat weight.
EXAMPLE: Body weight = 200 lbs Percentage of body fat = 15% Total fat-weight = 200 x .15 = 30lbs.Total non-fat weight = 200 – 30 = 170 lbs.
Now that you know your fat versus non-fat weight, it’s important to keep track of the numbers over time, as you train. By doing this you’ll get a good idea of your progress. As you put on weight (and you should if you’re goal is building muscle mass), doing these calculations will give you an idea if your weight gain is more muscle or fat. Once you know this, you’ll be able to adjust your diet accordingly.
For instance, using the above example, if your weight increased to 230 lbs, your fat-weight is still 30 lbs, and your non-fat weight is 200lbs. you’ve just increased your muscle weight by 30 lbs. and added 0 fat. On the other hand, if your fat-weight is now 35 lbs. and your non-fat weight is 195 lbs. you’ve added 25 lbs of muscle mass and 5 lbs. of fat.
This is a great way to keep track of your progress.