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Optimum body fat for general athletic endeavors and overall health

Andi-in-BKK

Level 4 Valued Member
Body fat article from Maffetone.

That was a very good article. So the range for men needs to be 8-14% according to the article or a waist to height ratio lower than 1:2. Excepting specific sports that require higher or lower percentages.
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
That was a very good article. So the range for men needs to be 8-14% according to the article or a waist to height ratio lower than 1:2. Excepting specific sports that require higher or lower percentages.
I could be off, but I believe the levels were set based on , Too high = inflammatory responses, Too low, hormone problems. People will vary, and some can supplement around these issues.
 

Andi-in-BKK

Level 4 Valued Member
I could be off, but I believe the levels were set based on , Too high = inflammatory responses, Too low, hormone problems. People will vary, and some can supplement around these issues.
That actually makes a lot of sense. And I would be willing to bet that there is a bit of fudge room at the top and bottom of that range as well, if we are dealing with normal biomarkers like inflation and hormone blood test results. It’s more of a general bell curve where a few people may not have hormone issues at 6% but most would or inflammation is present in most people over 14%.
 

Steve A

Level 6 Valued Member
Body fat article from Maffetone.

And the paragraph of note for those citing percentages

"Measuring body fat

Obtaining accurate body fat percentages is not easy for most people. The process must be accessible, relatively inexpensive, safe, and come with the ability to repeat the same test regularly for ongoing monitoring. While DXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) is one of the most accurate and precise methods of evaluating body fat percentage, it does not fit these criteria. Hydrostatic (water) weight and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis are close in accuracy to DXA, but also don’t fit the above criteria. The rest of the body-fat measuring devices are not recommended due to reduced accuracy and reproducibility. "
 

Kenny Croxdale

Level 6 Valued Member
Hydrostatic (water) weight and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis are close in accuracy to DXA,

Body Fat Percentage Measurement Method

They all have flaws. James Wright wrote a few article examining the flaws of each one.

This is the Cliff Notes of it...

  1. Always remember that any number you get from a body fat test is a VERY rough estimate, and could be significantly off. Thus, don't put too much faith in the specific number.
  2. Point #1 holds true even when measuring change over time. I've heard many people say things like, "I lost 4 pounds of fat and gained 1 pound of lean muscle." The numbers are never even close to being this precise. Given the error rate for measuring change over time, there's a good chance those numbers are way off.
  3. Even the best techniques have a 4-5% error rate when measuring change over time.
Hydrostatic Weighing

As noted above, there is a 4-5% error rate with this method. That's huge.

If an individual weighed 200 lbs, that means that a 4% could mean they have 8 pound more muscle or 8 pound more fat.

Secondly, the accuracy of Hydrostatic Weighing is depend on...

a) How good the Technician is.

b) The amount of air you are able to blow out of your lungs, as you sit on the scale motionless for what feel like forever. Many individual such, such a myself have a hard time blowing all the air out of their lungs and then sitting on the scale until they can come up.

c) Residual Lung Capacity Measurement. With Hydrostatic Weighing an individual Residual Lung Capacity need to be measured. Any Hydrostatic Weighing without it is meaningless.

BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance)

It is incredibly inaccurate with multiple issues.

The protocol is....

1) You cannot have eaten or exercise three hour prior.

2) You need to be well hydrated. Thus, taking a reading later in the day yields a better number that upon waking.

3) It is site sensitive to the proximal area where it is taken.

a) Lower Body BIA

If you are standing on a BIA Scale, it primarily measure the lower body number.

If you store a lot of fat in your lower body, you will register a higher body fat percentage.

If you more muscle mass in your lower body, you will obtain a lower body fat percentage number.

The same applies with the...

b) Upper Body BIA

If you store a lot of fat in your upper body, you will register a higher body fat percentage.

If you more muscle mass in your upper body, you will obtain a lower body fat percentage number.
 

Kenny Croxdale

Level 6 Valued Member
is there an optimum level of body fat for general life?

"Judging The Book By Its Cover"

While there is some health factors involved with some individual with higher body fat percentage levels; it is often incorrect.


Dr Glenn A. Gaesser's book provide some interesting research on the issue of body fat levels.

Gaesser dispels many of the misconception.

Some individual with higher body fat percentage are healthy; while some individual with lower body fat percentages a laden with heath issues.

Looking Under The Hood

In many respect, it similar to looking at a car with a great body and nice paint job.

What really matter is what is under the hood; is the engine, transmission, etc in good condition.

One of the primary method of looking under the hood for people is a Blood Lipid Panel Reading.

Unfortunately, many physicians don't know how to interpret a Blood Profile.

And the majority of patients are clueless.

Athletes Body Fat Percentages

The body fat percentages are in part dependent on the sport and as you state, the Weight Class Sports.

As you know, there is no correlation the ability of an athlete in regard to their body fat percentage.

However, in any given sport, there is usually a body fat percentage rage that they fall with in.
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
And the paragraph of note for those citing percentages

"Measuring body fat

Obtaining accurate body fat percentages is not easy for most people. The process must be accessible, relatively inexpensive, safe, and come with the ability to repeat the same test regularly for ongoing monitoring. While DXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) is one of the most accurate and precise methods of evaluating body fat percentage, it does not fit these criteria. Hydrostatic (water) weight and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis are close in accuracy to DXA, but also don’t fit the above criteria. The rest of the body-fat measuring devices are not recommended due to reduced accuracy and reproducibility. "
Yes, not many folks are going to get a MRI to ck. their BF, and not many ( except Tim Ferriss ) will spend 2 grand on a home ultrasound unit,
a BodyMetrix professional unit. The price was from 2010, might have come down since then.
 

Andi-in-BKK

Level 4 Valued Member
"Judging The Book By Its Cover"

While there is some health factors involved with some individual with higher body fat percentage levels; it is often incorrect.


Dr Glenn A. Gaesser's book provide some interesting research on the issue of body fat levels.

Gaesser dispels many of the misconception.

Some individual with higher body fat percentage are healthy; while some individual with lower body fat percentages a laden with heath issues.

Looking Under The Hood

In many respect, it similar to looking at a car with a great body and nice paint job.

What really matter is what is under the hood; is the engine, transmission, etc in good condition.

One of the primary method of looking under the hood for people is a Blood Lipid Panel Reading.

Unfortunately, many physicians don't know how to interpret a Blood Profile.

And the majority of patients are clueless.

Athletes Body Fat Percentages

The body fat percentages are in part dependent on the sport and as you state, the Weight Class Sports.

As you know, there is no correlation the ability of an athlete in regard to their body fat percentage.

However, in any given sport, there is usually a body fat percentage rage that they fall with in.
I always enjoy reading your posts. So I would assume “optimum” for health is really better determined by the actual other bio-markers themselves. Though there probably is some bell-curve where overfat and obese and undernourished fall on the extremes with less “healthy” people but the number is never zero (I guess when you hit 600lbs it’s hard to remain metabolically healthy, but within context of the discussion)
 

Kenny Croxdale

Level 6 Valued Member
I’ve done extremely restrictive cuts before (1200-1500/day for almost a year to get down to 75kg from 97kg). The trouble was when I went to 2200 “maintenance” I gained weight rapidly.
Dramatic Decreases or Increases Of Calories Intake

Research shows that dramatic decreases or increases in calorie intake for cutting or gaining weight is contraindicated.

What occurs is in...

1) Cutting Weight

With a dramatic decreases in calories, a greater amount of muscle is lost in the process of losing body fat.

2) Bulking

With a dramatic increase in calories, a greater amount of body fat is added in the process of gaining muscle; as you found out. Something I found, as well, years ago.

I’m really hoping to do a slower cut this time around (5-7kg over 4-5 months) and be able to stabilize at comfortable intake when I get to my goal.

Losing Weight

Research shows the that for Losing Weight, a slower, more methodical approach is more effective.

Three Day Recall Diet

1) Count your calorie intake for three says. One day need to be a weekend day, when you diet often changes.

2) Divide your three intake by 3 to obtain your Average Daily Calorie Intake.

3) Decrease you calorie intake 20%.

Dr John Ivy and Dr Layne Norton, independent of each other, determined decreasing calorie intake around 20% was the most effective for losing body fat and maintaining muscle mass.

4) Calorie Rotation

Maintain your 20% calorie reduction for Two Weeks or until you weight loss stops or stalls.

Then increase your calorie intake for Two Weeks.

Continue to repeat this Calorie Rotation Method until you weight loss goal is met.

The reason for this is...

Weight Loss and Metabolic Adaptation

Metabolic Adaptation has to do with "The General Adaptation Syndrome". Essentially, you adapt or die.

Research shows in approximately Two Weeks, the body will adapt to it new, lower calorie intake. To ensure you don't starve to death, the body slows down your metabolism to preserve your fat store and muscle mass.

By increasing your calories after Two Weeks or once your weight loss stalls or stops, the body will increase your Metabolic Rate.

Once that occurs, decreasing your calorie will jump start your weight loss, once more.

The same occurs with Periodization Strength Training. You need to trick your body into doing what you want it to do.

Gaining Weight and Metabolic Adaptation

The same concept for Gaining Weight as Losing Weight applies; in reverse.

1) Maintenance Calories

Determine the number of calories you are consuming and maintaining your body weight.

2) 20% Calorie Intake Increase

a) Increase you calorie intake approximately 20% above your maintenance level.

b) After Two Weeks or once you stop making gains, decrease your calorie intake for about two weeks..

c) Rotate you calorie intake up and down until you weight gain goal is achieved.
 
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Period

Level 6 Valued Member
Dramatic Decreases or Increases Of Calories Intake

Research shows that dramatic decreases or increases in calorie intake for cutting or gaining weight is contraindicated.

What occurs is in...

1) Cutting Weight

With a dramatic decreases in calories, a greater amount of muscle is lost in the process of losing body fat.

As far as I understand it, "cutting weight" is a term only used for temporary weight loss prior to a competition in a sport with weight classes. The strategies for cutting weight are varied, but all of them focus on temporary water loss. Some don't restrict nutrition at all (an afternoon in the sauna), others restrict only carbs, while others restrict calories severely. Most weight cutting strategies only last a couple of days to a week at most, and are not targeted specifically at fat loss, but at gaining a competitive advantage. If any muscle loss occurs during the process, that is generally accepted as part of the deal.
I think you are talking about "crash diets"?
 

Kenny Croxdale

Level 6 Valued Member
As far as I understand it, "cutting weight" is a term only used for temporary weight loss prior to a competition in a sport with weight classes. The strategies for cutting weight are varied, but all of them focus on temporary water loss. Some don't restrict nutrition at all (an afternoon in the sauna), others restrict only carbs, while others restrict calories severely. Most weight cutting strategies only last a couple of days to a week at most, and are not targeted specifically at fat loss, but at gaining a competitive advantage. If any muscle loss occurs during the process, that is generally accepted as part of the deal.
I think you are talking about "crash diets"?
Weight Loss

The information that I posted was for individuals interested in losing weight or gaining weight, which I elaborated on in my post. I have posted information on this before.

With that in mind, rather than refer to it as "Cutting Weight" or "Bulking", lets go with Losing Weight and Gaining Weight.

Weight Class Sports

Yes, many individual in sports with Weight Classes "Cut Weight" by water loss.

One of the best book on this is, "The Art and Science of Making Weight".


This is a good article for individual interested in "Cutting Weight" to get down to a lower Weight Class.

As you know, the second part of the equation is that once the weight is lost, knowing how to gain it back with a 24 hour or longer time frame.

That is done with something like Pedialyte (or something similar). Also, Glucose IV are used by some athletes.

Fat or Muscle Loss

No Fat Loss occurs and Muscle Loss is going to occur with Water Weight Loss.

However, if the muscles are not completely rehydrated prior to the competition, strength is dampened.

With the in mind let look at...

Superhydration

In a pervious post, I went into how Superhydration of the Muscles enhance strength. Carb Loading, Creatine, NSAIDs can cause water retention and edema in some people and certain Anabolics produce this "Cell Voluminizing Effect.

Crash Dieting

"...a way of losing a lot of weight very quickly by limiting how much one eats He went on a crash diet and lost 20 pounds in a month."

I addressed to some degree as one diet approach that many individual take. I noted that this approach ensures failure.

I then outlined...

A More Effective Method of Gaining or Losing Weight

Since that information is posted above, there no need to go back over it again.
 

Andi-in-BKK

Level 4 Valued Member
Dramatic Decreases or Increases Of Calories Intake

Research shows that dramatic decreases or increases in calorie intake for cutting or gaining weight is contraindicated.

What occurs is in...

1) Cutting Weight

With a dramatic decreases in calories, a greater amount of muscle is lost in the process of losing body fat.

2) Bulking

With a dramatic increase in calories, a greater amount of body fat is added in the process of gaining muscle; as you found out. Something I found, as well, years ago.



Losing Weight

Research shows the that for Losing Weight, a slower, more methodical approach is more effective.

Three Day Recall Diet

1) Count your calorie intake for three says. One day need to be a weekend day, when you diet often changes.

2) Divide your three intake by 3 to obtain your Average Daily Calorie Intake.

3) Decrease you calorie intake 20%.

Dr John Ivy and Dr Layne Norton, independent of each other, determined decreasing calorie intake around 20% was the most effective for losing body fat and maintaining muscle mass.

4) Calorie Rotation

Maintain your 20% calorie reduction for Two Weeks or until you weight loss stops or stalls.

Then increase your calorie intake for Two Weeks.

Continue to repeat this Calorie Rotation Method until you weight loss goal is met.

The reason for this is...

Weight Loss and Metabolic Adaptation

Metabolic Adaptation has to do with "The General Adaptation Syndrome". Essentially, you adapt or die.

Research shows in approximately Two Weeks, the body will adapt to it new, lower calorie intake. To ensure you don't starve to death, the body slows down your metabolism to preserve your fat store and muscle mass.

By increasing your calories after Two Weeks or once your weight loss stalls or stops, the body will increase your Metabolic Rate.

Once that occurs, decreasing your calorie will jump start your weight loss, once more.

The same occurs with Periodization Strength Training. You need to trick your body into doing what you want it to do.

Gaining Weight and Metabolic Adaptation

The same concept for Gaining Weight as Losing Weight applies; in reverse.

1) Maintenance Calories

Determine the number of calories you are consuming and maintaining your body weight.

2) 20% Calorie Intake Increase

a) Increase you calorie intake approximately 20% above your maintenance level.

b) After Two Weeks or once you stop making gains, decrease your calorie intake for about two weeks..

c) Rotate you calorie intake up and down until you weight gain goal is achieved.
My experience mirrors that, in so far as my BF% stopped increasing (even though my weight kept going up) when I started at 2800 (maintenance) and gradually increased every 4 weeks by 300 calories. Which I guess means that I was gaining equal parts fat and muscle during the process.

Minor side note, I started back with BJJ three weeks ago and I’m down 1-2% (1” from waist measurement is showing 19ish% versus 20-21%) and about 1-2 kilograms (currently 89-89.5 depending on time of day). Trying to keep measurements consistent, at the navel and weighing at the same time of day. Eating is intuitive as I’m just watching protein intake, though I’m sure I’m not getting as much as before, but I’m never hungry.
 

Period

Level 6 Valued Member
Weight Class Sports

Yes, many individual in sports with Weight Classes "Cut Weight" by water loss.

One of the best book on this is, "The Art and Science of Making Weight".

[...]

This is a good article for individual interested in "Cutting Weight" to get down to a lower Weight Class.

As you know, the second part of the equation is that once the weight is lost, knowing how to gain it back with a 24 hour or longer time frame.

That is done with something like Pedialyte (or something similar). Also, Glucose IV are used by some athletes.

Fat or Muscle Loss

No Fat Loss occurs and Muscle Loss is going to occur with Water Weight Loss.

However, if the muscles are not completely rehydrated prior to the competition, strength is dampened.

Most competitions I have been to had weigh-ins an hour before the competition. Some people manage to rehydrate significantly in this time frame, others don't. In general, research seems to be very critical of cutting weight, and strength losses are emphasized frequently. There are also other and potentially more serious factors, some people have collapsed etc. In my experience from competing in a weight class sport for about ten years, some people handle a large weight cut very well, others have problems cutting as little as ten pounds. Those who do handle it well typically get both a little bit faster and a lot more aggressive from it (you basically blame your opponent for having to go through the process). Aside from the various strategies, there seem to be various genetic factors at work, as well as adaptation. Efficient weight cutters will periodically restrict calories, train in a sauna suit or go through a cycle of sweat baths even when they don't have to make weight. Some approaches to weight cutting only involve water, others will severely restrict calories (<1000 per day, either mostly protein and fat or fats and sugar), so the effects will vary.
 

Kenny Croxdale

Level 6 Valued Member
Most competitions I have been to had weigh-ins an hour before the competition.

Limited Weight Loss

As you know, having to lift within a hour after Weighing-In severely limits weight loss.

Some Powerlifting Organization allow lifters to weigh as early as 9 am the day before the meet; as do some MMA and Boxing Events.

The lifter that I got "The Art and Science of Making Weight", weighted in with me at 9 am the on Friday at 219 lbs/99.3 kg (in the 220 lb/100 kg Weight Class) before the meet on Saturday.

Lifting for him began Saturday Afternoon. Saturday Afternoon he Weight-In at 239 lbs/108.4 kg.

In my experience from competing in a weight class sport for about ten years, some people handle a large weight cut very well

Amount of Weight Loss

As you know, no athlete that loses 20 or 30 lbs is going to be able to rehydrate in an hour or less and perform well.

Efficient weight cutters will periodically restrict calories, train in a sauna suit or go through a cycle of sweat baths even when they don't have to make weight. Some approaches to weight cutting only involve water, others will severely restrict calories (<1000 per day, either mostly protein and fat or fats and sugar), so the effects will vary.

24 Hour Ahead of Competition Weigh In

The majority of these individual, as you realize, cut water weight.

With a 24 Hour Weight In before lifting, very little severe restriction of calories occurs.

Sauna Suit

The best Sauna Suit that I have seen is...


I have the complete Kutting Weight ensemble. That because my gym equipment is in the garage and on the back porch, that has a roof on it.

Temperatures in the winter get down below freezing. Sometimes, I have to sweep the snow off my Power Rack and make a path to it, when it is blowing snow.

I perform my exercise sets in the garage and on the back porch in the winter. Then immediately get back in the house, between sets and exercises. The Kutting Weight Sauna Suit, in layers, allows me to spend a few minute long in the freezing weather.

Rehydration

The most interesting method for rehydration after a 24 hour weigh that I was privy to was in was giving a lifter a glucose IV. One of his buddies was a medical person who had access and knew how make it work.

Practice

As with anything, there is a learning process with cutting weight for competition. It is something that need to experimented with and practiced in the off season.

The Issue With 24 Hour Weigh-In

There is a greater health risk of lifter dropping 20 lbs/9kg to 30 lbs/13.6 kg and then regaining it 24 hour later.

With events that mandate a one hour Weight-In before competition, it's impossible to drop that kind of weight and perform well.

Efficient weight cutters will periodically restrict calories, train in a sauna suit or go through a cycle of sweat baths even when they don't have to make weight.

Heat Shock Protein

Calorie Restriction, Training In Sauna Suites (Heat), etc. are effective methods that are beneficial. Addressed in Post 3...


Heat Shock Protein are elicited during stress such as extreme heat, cold, exercise, starvation (Intermittent Fasting), etc. They promote healing and trigger an anabolic muscle building.

Shocking Muscle Growth | Iron Man Magazine

HSPs
transport proteins across cellular membranes, sensing that they have something to do with increased protein synthesis. ...that increased muscle protein synthesis is the very core of gains in muscle size and strength, ...

Heat treatment boosts anabolic effect of strength training



Heat treatment, or heat stress, has a mild anabolic effect.

...heat treatment activates the key anabolic regulator molecule Akt, which starts a cascade of reactions in the muscle cell.

Heat Training: Does it Boost Running Performance?

...A study performed by the University of Oregon which tested the ability of cyclists to perform a time trial after spending time training in hot conditions. Twelve high performance cyclists spent 10 days training in a 100-degree room for 100 minutes per day and experienced an amazing 7% boost in performance...

The Performance Benefits of Training with a Sauna Suit

https://www.acefitness.org/educatio...rmance-benefits-of-training-with-a-sauna-suit

The Bottom Line
The primary finding of this study is that short-term training in a sauna suit improves heat acclimation and endurance performance.

The athletes who took part in this study saw a 3% increase in their speed after only two weeks of training in the sauna suit. That may not seem like a huge improvement, but it can easily represent the difference between victory and defeat.

Cooking Cancer


One of cancer's vulnerable weaknesses is heat. Healthy cells are able to withstand heat, cancer cells cannot.

Cancer Centers of America ...

Local hyperthermia
is used to heat a small area like a tumor. Very high temperatures are used to kill the cancer cells and destroy nearby blood vessels. In effect, this cooks the area that is exposed to the heat. Source: Hyperthermia to Treat Cancer
 
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Period

Level 6 Valued Member
Limited Weight Loss

As you know, having to lift with in a hour after weighing in severely limits weight loss.
[...]

Amount of Weight Loss

As you know, no athlete that loses 20 or 30 lbs is going to be able to rehydrate in an hour or less and perform well.
Yes and no. People tend to cut about 10 pounds more on average if they can weigh in the day before. I have, however, met at least one person who could make extreme weight cuts (86 to 68 kg, almost 40 pounds), rehydrate 25 pounds in an hour and a half, and this is how he performed at his best. But then again, he is a statistical outlier. Cutting up to 25 lbs and rehydrating about 12.5 lbs in an hour and a half I have seen more frequently and also done myself. Most of these however where "long cuts" and achieved over at least a week with calory restriction, bowel depletion etc. People who just go to the sauna prior to matches will tend to cut less - 10 to 15 pounds at most - and rehydrate almost completely.
 

Period

Level 6 Valued Member
Heat Training: Does it Boost Running Performance?

...A study performed by the University of Oregon which tested the ability of cyclists to perform a time trial after spending time training in hot conditions. Twelve high performance cyclists spent 10 days training in a 100-degree room for 100 minutes per day and experienced an amazing 7% boost in performance...

The Performance Benefits of Training with a Sauna Suit

https://www.acefitness.org/educatio...rmance-benefits-of-training-with-a-sauna-suit

The Bottom Line
The primary finding of this study is that short-term training in a sauna suit improves heat acclimation and endurance performance.

The athletes who took part in this study saw a 3% increase in their speed after only two weeks of training in the sauna suit. That may not seem like a huge improvement, but it can easily represent the difference between victory and defeat.

Cooking Cancer


One of cancer's vulnerable weaknesses is heat. Healthy cells are able to withstand heat, cancer cells cannot.

Cancer Centers of America ...

Local hyperthermia
is used to heat a small area like a tumor. Very high temperatures are used to kill the cancer cells and destroy nearby blood vessels. In effect, this cooks the area that is exposed to the heat. Source: Hyperthermia to Treat Cancer
This I find quite interesting - thanks for the links! We used very basic sweating equipment most of the time - double hoodies and sweatpants, a torn-up trash bag and maybe some rain pants in between the layers.
 

Kenny Croxdale

Level 6 Valued Member
"long cuts"

Long Cuts

I dropped from the 198 lb/90 kg Class to the 181 lb/82 lb Weight Class.

I did so methodically over a three month period and was able to maintain most of my strength.

Weight Classes

I have lifted in the 132, 148, 165, 181, 198. and a light 220 lb. I bounced up and down between these weight classes.

I have worked with some lifter with cutting weight, as well.

So, I have a fairly good idea on how this works. That based on doing the wrong way and the right way.

We used very basic sweating equipment most of the time

That Works

I used it as well.

The Neoprene Kutting Weight is much nicer; but not necessarily better. :)
 
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