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Use cheap Calipers like these from Amazon
They are pretty accurate and you can find websites and directions online on how to measure points on your body that will give you a very accurate bf%
You can use photos and try to compare to online photo estimates (google images has charts), you can buy a caliper to pinch a fold of skin, some scales you step on can estimate it, all of these options are never 100% accurate. If you have dough to spare you can get a DEXA scan, which shows all of your mass and breaks it down for you into fat, muscle, bone, etc. Some gyms or trainers might have better scales than the home scales, but again that may come with a cost. If money is an issue, get a set of bodyfat calipers on amazon and combine multiple pinch measurements with online photo charts, and try to estimate that way.
Here's the one I have: https://www.amazon.com/AccuFitness-AM99-Accu-Measure-Body-Caliper/dp/B000QURRUK/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1511899912&sr=8-1&keywords=body+fat+caliper
Real talk though, I would rather just get a scan every once in a while. I'm not a competing athlete so frequent metrics I don't care about much.
It might be helpful to shift your focus to another goal. You say you're exercising now. Is there any fitness goal you aspire to? Running a half marathon, or building muscle in the gym? Figure out a plan for that and track your progress towards those goals rather than just your weight. For those goals, part of your plan should be properly fueling your progress, which will require eating a bit more.
If those aren't goals you're interested in, and you are just concerned about body fat, get some skin fold calipers and track your body fat. Set a goal range, and if you start dropping too low, increase your intake to avoid getting too thin. Ideally you'll calibrate your habits to maintain comfortably, and you can just check every couple of weeks or every month to make sure you're in the right ballpark.
If all else fails, at least try maintaining in a scale weight range rather than focusing on seeing the number drop. Maybe aim for a range of 76-80 kg. If you give yourself permission to go back up to 80 kg, then gaining a couple of kilos stops looking like a failure and start looking like you're on track.
Basically, figure out some method of monitoring yourself that doesn't rely on continuous weight loss as your pass/fail indicator. And while it's not fun to think about, try to take the pressure off of the idea of gaining it back. I don't think that will happen, but even if it did, you know how to lose it again and you could be right back where you are now in another 2-3 months of focused effort. I think you can maintain your loss, but even if you didn't, the stakes aren't as high as they feel right now.
I weigh daily and log it in HappyScale, but I don't really make comparisons between my weight day to day. To make any kind of comparison, I look back 2 weeks or even 30 days to see the changes. I tried to take measurements weekly, with varying degrees of consistency over the past 2 years. If my weight is up from last week, and my stomach measurement is up, but my arms, legs, chest, etc. are down slightly, I can usually assume I'm just bloated, but I'm still losing fat. Once I got down into the 230s, I got a set of calipers and started taking weekly skin fold measurements too. There's some technique to being able to get consistent measurements, and I still take my measurements 5 times each week (5 times in a single measurement session) and average them out to avoid measurement error, but it doesn't take too long. I find that the skin fold measurements are the thing that motivates me the most now, because it's a pretty direct measurement of the actual fat on my body. I don't really care too much what the scale says as long as my skin folds are getting thinner. It took a long time, but I found that when weighing daily I eventually learned to predict my fluctuations fairly accurately based on what I ate, when I ate, what activity I did, etc., and now that I'm measuring skin folds, it's easy to verify that the fluctuations aren't actual fat gain/loss, but other components of your weight like fluids, etc.
A cheap solution to estimate body fat percentage would be to buy a fat caliper and figure out how to use it. From what I've heard, the accuracy is directly proportional to correct usage, so make sure you have a way to get that in. Much cheaper than the complicated tests (like water immersion) though.
Awesome progress. Just echoing what others have said, but body fat is more important than scale weight for getting the aesthetic you want. For a 5'11" male, the "ideal weight" is 158-171, depending on which formula you use, but don't take those numbers too seriously. Just know that you've still got room to lose without being underweight if you aren't at the bodyfat level you want yet. I'd recommend picking up some cheap bodyfat calipers on Amazon so you can track fat levels once/week or so. The accuracy isn't perfect, but you can at least know what ballpark your in to get a better feel for how much fat you could still lose. My guess is you could get to around 170 comfortably.
I'd guess 12-13%; its hard tu guess without typical indicator like abs because you don't have a ton of muscle. You should definitely bulk though because you don't have enough muscle to cut into. If you want a better body fat estimate, get one of these "Accu-Measure Body Fat Caliper https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000QURRUK". They are consistent one you get the hang of them.
You have to lower your overall body fat %.
If you give me your age/height/weight, I can predict where you might be right now.
Unless you're like 6'5" or just have a lot of muscle mass, that 193 isn't going to be low enough to lose stubborn fat.
Learn to measure your body fat % with a caliper. A caliper is like $6 on amazon.com. Once you get to 10% body fat, let me know if you still have a gut.
If you want a basic template to follow for a woman:
Log your weight & body fat (caliper) weekly to stay on track. If you get sick of that process, insert some months of eating at maintenance in between.
You could start out by just cycling between 120-132 lbs for a couple of years, but it would be best to have a caliper & do it based on those readings.
*Estimates more accurate for untrained individuals. Use a caliper for actual values.
Body fat %
If you are currently at 17-20% body fat or higher, you want to start cutting. You cut until sub 15% (more like 10-12%) & start bulking again. How comfortable you are with going all the way down to 10% might depend upon how much muscle mass you currently have.
Also you need your weight changing by 1 lb per week MAX on a bulk, maybe even just 1/2 lb. You have gained 35 lbs in 6 months. That probably should have been 13-26 lbs max.
Looking at some estimated data for someone with your stats, 150 lbs would've been 10-11% body fat for an untrained beginner. 185 lbs would be 16-17% for an untrained beginner. Assuming you built some muscle mass, 185 might be more like 15%.
Still, the key would be to get a $5 caliper to understand your body fat %, and stop your bulks at 15-17%, and stop your cuts at 10-12%, and take 3-6 months in each phase, & just keep cycling that way for as long as you need to.
2100 calories is a good starting point for a cut down from 185. Assuming you cut down to about 165, 2800 calories would be a good starting point for a bulk back up. Just weigh yourself once a week & make sure you are in range.
If you are trying to up your protein while not upping your calories, consider bumping up your portion size on the chicken breast, and trying to get some more egg whites (either instead of the whole eggs or in addition). Try using less bread (i.e. one big sandwich instead of two smaller ones) and be careful with the peanuts - they are calorie dense. Chicken breast and egg whites both pack around a gram of protein per 5 calories, which is a better ratio than some protein powders. You can't get that ratio below 4 calories per gram, so chicken breasts and egg white are a pretty efficient way to get your protein levels up.
I don't have any great advice for you on what your goals should be, but if I was your age and size/composition, I wouldn't be super worried about the fat. You don't have a huge excess, IMO, and you're still growing. Maybe eat at a very slight deficit while focusing on getting enough protein for muscle growth? You might consider eating enough calories to maintain your weight as calculated for a sedentary lifestyle, then your workouts will provide you a slight deficit as you burn calories while lifting to bulk up. Keep an eye on your body fat levels by measuring either with a tape measure or a set of calipers ($7 on Amazon). If it starts increasing much, just drop your calories by a couple hundred/day until you're back to a decent level. As long as you don't let it get out of hand, you won't need to take any kind of drastic actions to cut.
hit the weight room! and don't let the scale rule you. if you want a measurement to track that is a more accurate reflection of your body composition start tracking your body fat %. an inexpensive caliper is all you need.
That's a big question but if you take it step by step you'll be able to make progress.
Firstly, do you know you're body fat percentage? By looking at your picture I'd guess maybe 12-17%. If you don't know the cheapest and easiest way to check is to use an accu measure caliper. Dirt cheap on Amazon.
Then, use the Katch-McArdle formula on this site:
Calculate your total daily energy expenditure, add 15-20% to account for bulking and gradually build up you intake by 100-200 kcal per week until you reach your new calorific intake.
Id imagine if you do the calcs you'll end up bulking somewhere between 2500-3000 kcal per day (careful though, if you're an endo/meso like me this may be too high hence the gradual increase).
Bulk up to 15% BF then cut down to 10%. Rinse and repeat!
Heavy, compound lifts, low reps (4-6 for three sets), 3-5 exercises per muscle group. Deadlift, squat, military press, bench press should form the basis of your training. Don't go crazy on the cardio while bulking.
Monitor weekly or daily and tweek accordingly. Ignore people (even me!), and find a system that works, but that's the general starting outline for bulking.
Muscle for life is the website companion to the book I mentioned. Gold mine of info. If this was too much of an info dump, sorry. Or if you knew it already, ignore me.
The answer is to track your body fat % as you go using a caliper (costs ~ $6 on amazon).
A woman wants to cut to 20%, bulk to 25%, repeat, taking 3-6 months in each phase. Just don't let your bulk continue past 25% & you'll be fine.
Also try to limit weight gain to 1/2 to 1 lb per week on a bulk, and weight loss to 1 lb per week on a cut
Link to caliper
How to Accurately Measure Body Fat Percentage Article / Video
I made this spreadsheet which you can use to log your results weekly
Hiya! It seems like you've already got lots of advice and support regarding workouts and such, so here's an answer for tracking progress and working towards a goal of a 6 pack! How long it takes it up to your discipline and how you plan out your workouts + meals. (This information is just something I wish someone had told me long ago, so I'm sharing it with you in hopes you may learn something new!)
It is hard to determine how many pounds anyone needs to lose when is comes to body fat! You could see the number go down up and down on the scale but your body is juggling between growing muscle mass, losing fat, fluctuating water weight, poop, etc.
You'll need to measure your body fat percentage and measure that weekly in order to see if you are getting closer to your target, especially if you desire a certain physique. While the number on the scale can be helpful in seeing the big picture in terms of overall weight loss, the aforementioned factors will rise or fall unpredictably.
If your goal is obtaining a 6 pack, you'll probably need to aim for 15-19% body fat. From the picture, you seem to be within the 25-29% range. It's totally doable!
If you're interested, I recommend investing in a fat measuring caliper and tracking your progress on a weekly basis!
Here's a good video on it how to measure body fat percentage with a caliper tool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCtcajonJpE
Here's a fat caliper tool on Amazon that I've used: https://www.amazon.com/AccuFitness-AM99-Accu-Measure-Body-Caliper/dp/B000QURRUK
Doing cardio and strength training is about 40% of the battle. As the saying goes, you build abs in the kitchen! Cutting down and eliminating saturated fats is a biggie. Make sure to eat enough healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts, greek yogurt) in combination with balancing out healthy carbs (whole grains, quinoa) and lean protein (fish, chicken). Honestly, you've done such a great job already with dropping 50 lbs! I'm 100% positive you are on the right track so long as you keep up with what you are doing. You are also an inspiration to me as I am also looking to get abs as well LOL.
Good progress, man!
I'd estimate you're somewhere around 25 %BF now. You can get some calipers pretty cheap if you're interested in checking it. I use a body composition scale, but it's a bit more expensive.
Edit: the leanest I've been was around 19-20% BF, and I was just starting to show my top 2 abs.
Here's a pretty good caliper with the online calculator. It's pretty much as good as it gets for home tests.
Like that: https://www.amazon.com/AccuFitness-AM99-Accu-Measure-Body-Caliper/dp/B000QURRUK ?
This can be pretty subjective and without peeling the fat off your body and measuring it there's no way to know 100%. That being said there's a few things you can do to get a general idea.
First, you can compare yourself to some of the pictures out there and try to guess where you fit in. Example
Another option is to get some calipers and measure yourself. I've had these recommended to me and they seem to work pretty well.
At the very least, you can get calipers or a tape measure and keep track of trends, even if you don't have your exact bf%.
Buy this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QURRUK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Read this: https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/how-to-measure-your-body-fat.html
I use that site and compare with other sites for calculations. It's still not 100% accurate but when you get it figured out to get consistent results it's a decent benchmark to go by.
I'd guesstimate 25%. I started at 23.3%, down to 20.6%. Got these fat calipers to measure. I had to watch some youtube videos to get it right and I know it's not 100% accurate but it's something. Enter your measurements here.
I'm a big fan of PSS, and they had a big part in motivating me to actually lose weight, but I didn't want to go to a plant-based diet like them, and I'd learned by that point that calories were really all that mattered, so I didn't read Presto. I am interested to read Ray's book though, if it ever gets published. I know others have already told you, but it really doesn't matter a lot when or how you get your calories, just how many you consume per day vs. how many you burn. I lost weight in the past on Body For Life, which also involved exercising 6 days per week and eating 5-6 small meals per day. It worked, but it wasn't a sustainable lifestyle for me long term, and after successfully reaching 200 pounds, I gained weight over the next 9 years until I was 290. This time around, I wanted to lose in a way that represented a realistic way for me to eat long term. And it's worked. It sounds like you're on board with that advice. Just focus on how many calories you eat overall (MyFitnessPal is helpful with that) and how many you burn (I use a Fitbit with heart rate monitor, but www.tdeecalculator.net can give you a starting point.)
As for body fat, I recommend getting a set of cheap calipers. I use these for $6.29. It's not perfect, and it takes some time to get your technique down to something consistent. Personally, I measure myself weekly, using a 3 site formula, and I measure each site 5 times and take the average. I still am not convinced that the number I get is accurate, but it seems to reliably show improvements week over week. What I mean by that is I don't know if I'm 15% or 17%, but I am confident that I was 2% higher a month ago. As long as my skin fold measurements are dropping, I know I'm losing fat.
I've done no weight training and not a ton of cardio during my weight loss. It's been almost entirely diet. Still, I haven't lost much lean mass, and it looks like I'll hit my body fat goals at a higher weight than expected. If I decide to work out more later, I definitely won't be doing it at the intensity you are. I'm not an expert, but my (limited) experience and what I've read tell me that, at least as a beginner, you can get most of the benefit out of only a few intense workouts. When lifting, you should be working a muscle group just about to failure, then giving it several days to recover before working it again. Even on cardio, I seem to improve my performance faster if I do high intensity interval work, then allow 3-5 days for recovery. If your goal is just calorie burn, then heavy volume is probably fine for that, but I'd rather eat a little less and just work out hard 1-2x/week, with maybe some walking or light bicycling another day or two.
That's my workout approach, which doesn't mean it's best for everyone. But, whatever approach you take, consider what is sustainable for the long term. You can follow a strict, aggressive plan, and it will work, but if you just quit and go back to your "normal" diet and lifestyle when your done, you'll just put the weight back on like I did. Give some thought to what you will do after you reach your goal, and then consider if you might want to transition to that now if you find your current workout volume overwhelming.
They measure skin folds, like these accumeasure
Only $7.00 USD. Accu-Measure body fat caliper
I'm not plant based, but I believe they make a pea/rice blend some people call Vegan's Whey? Maybe you could have that once a day to get the protein intake up.
Yeah scales aren't very accurate. I would spend $5 on a caliper & learn how to use it to double check yourself.
You can get a rough idea of your body fat composition by looking at pictures like these. You can also order calipers from Amazon for $6, but if you do, use a 3 point calculation instead of the single point described in the instructions. According to this study your maximum deficit without sacrificing muscle mass is 31 calories per pound of body fat. I'd guess you have enough body fat right now to sustain a 1000 calorie deficit, but as you continue to lose, that may no longer be true. Don't get too hung up about the exact deficit each day. As long as your averages aren't over the max, you should be fine.
These calipers are only $7 and it includes a body tape measure. Measure yourself in several locations (arms, chest, stomach, waist, hips, thighs, etc.) weekly and add up your total inches. I sometimes gain a bit in places week to week, but the total inches consistently drops. For the calipers, use a three point measurement, but don't be surprised if your skinfold measurements aren't dropping consistently. There's a fair amount of variance in measurements. It will drop over time, but don't worry if it shows a small gain in fat percentage some weeks. Also, check out this section of the FAQ and the 2 after it. By adding exercise, you may be retaining more water than usual, and depending one when your cycle is, that might be causing more retention too. Either of those will mask fat loss when you weigh yourself, but in both cases, you're still losing fat and the scale will show it eventually. If you are eating 12-1400 calories/day, you are losing body fat. Just stick to it and the scale will get with the program eventually!
> Also, if you have access to one, maybe a body fat content analysis is in order? (I don't know how to do this but people here talk about it).
I use these calipers to measure my body composition weekly. They are only $7 and that includes a body tape measure. It's not as good as DEXA or Bodpod, but it's cheap and it shows the trend clearly. Use the three point measurement though instead of the single point calculation that the instructions with the calipers say to use. The more sites you use, the more accurate it is, but more than 3 requires someone to help you.
I definitely agree with the other responses. You don't look overweight at all. You look very slender and fit. You can use these pictures to ballpark your body fat percentage, or you can buy calipers for $7 and do a 3 site measurement. Once you have an estimate of your body fat percentage, be sure to use it when calculating your TDEE, because as lean and muscular as you are, you are likely burning 2-300 more calories per day than the average woman at your weight. Body fat percentage would definitely be a better metric for you to focus on than weight. All that muscle is heavy, but that doesn't make it a bad thing at all. 15-20% body fat is at the bottom end of the range to aim for. I feel like you're probably already in that range now.
You could use something like this:
Or just get one of these:
Instead of measuring our diet, measure your goal. If your goal is a leaner look then every 1-2 weeks you need to weigh yourself, check your body fat, and take photos. I think that if you are happy with your progress then it's a shame to get detailed with calories. If you get too obsessive too soon, you might get frustrated and quit. But you won't know if your progress without measuring.
If it provides inspiration: You and I have similar goals and are at similar points but I've been doing SL5x5 about 2 months longer than you and I'm 33 years old. (No way SL5x5 got you to 95lbs press in 1 month! You took bigger steps!) My body fat percentage has decreased from 17.4% to 14.4% and I've lost about 2kg in body weight.