Next weekend our box is starting a nutrition challenge and one of the components of the challenge is keeping track of your body fat percentage. Instead of relying on a fellow gym member and a pair of plastic calipers to do the calculations, TJ decided to call in the big guns–a mobile body fat testing unit. It looks like a giant budget truck but inside has a small dressing room, a table with a computer, and this large, metal tub filled with hot water. Everyone else is being tested next weekend at the gym, but we will be at the Ice Climbing Festival in Ouray (woo!) so I tracked down the truck yesterday [luckily another member of Jai was there yesterday, as well... I did not just have the test facilitator take this photo ]
To do the test, first you measure your height and dry weight. Then you sit in the tub in a swimsuit, push all the air out of your lungs that is possible, then go under and push out even more air, then wait 2 seconds and come back up. Do that 3 or 4 times and take the best reading of the lot. Pretty harmless.
After you dry off, the person running the test hands you a print-out of your stats, and I found out that my body fat percentage is 24%. I wasn’t really surprised by that number because my strength and speed (or general lack thereof) pretty much give away the fact that I am not carrying around tons of muscle in my 123 pounds of bodyweight, but I was surprised to find out that this apparently classifies me as “unhealthy.” The chart used to rank my body fat percentage percentile (you still with me?) was taken from a lab at the University of Texas, but after talking to a few people about this and doing some of my own independent research, it seems that 20-25% is actually a pretty healthy range for most women. More than anything I would be interested to know what my body fat percentage was a year ago, before I started CrossFit when I was 10 lbs heavier and had never lifted weights before in my life!
So now that I know my body fat percentage, I am trying to figure out what to do with that information. It has always been my goal to lose body fat and gain muscle, but how do I use this info to achieve that? Well, my first step was to calculate my zone blocks more accurately based on this new info. After some kind of confusing math, I found out that I actually have been right on track with my 3-3-1-3-1 block structure. Next up is considering whether or not to follow the advice of Matt Chan, who is something of a Zone/Paleo expert in the CrossFit community. I recently watched a short video series of a nutrition lecture Matt Chan gave where he talks about zone for different fitness goals. One of the things he says is that if your goal is to lose body fat, you can spend a couple of weeks cutting one block of carbs per meal and replacing it with 3 blocks of fat (roughly the caloric equivalent), because as we all know (or if you don’t know this, listen up), dietary fat does not equal body fat, and carbs are what trigger your body to store fat in the first place. So I’m going to give that a shot, which I am pretty excited about because it means I get lots more almond butter!
Have you ever had your body fat tested? If not, would you ever be interested in knowing that much detail about your body?