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Philph's "reach 8% body fat" challenge

Discussion in 'Fitness Challenges' started by philph, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. philph

    philph Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I recently finished adding some mass - in fact I added 18 lb in about 3 months - and now there's the little matter of eliminating my fat belly.

    About 2 weeks ago, my early morning weight reached a maximum of 95 kg (about 209 lb). I'm guessing my body fat was somewhere between 12% and 14%.

    The challenge for me now - and for anyone else who would like to join me in this and make it a bit less lonely - is to reduce my weight until I have some good definition in the abs instead of a wobbling mound. In my case, because most of my fat sits in a small area around my navel even when there's not much fat elsewhere, to have a decent 6-pack I'm going to have to be about 8% body fat overall. So I've made 8% body fat the challenge for myself - and for whoever wants to join me.

    I'm going to set the duration of the challenge at 12 weeks, and the goal will be to reach the 8% mark by then, but of course if I or anyone else get there quicker, so much the better.
     
  2. jo8216

    jo8216 Active Member

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    Hi

    My name is jo currently weigh 156 lbs. Body fat not too sure my sheet is at home i am at work, probably needs doing again anyway.
    Started a cut diet yesterday to reduce my bodyfat as my target bodyfat percentage is 8 - 12 %. The aim is to get there before the christmas works do if i can and buy a nice slinky dress so that i can flash some toned bits and some muscle. If i am welcome to join your challenge let me know.
     
  3. philph

    philph Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jo, I'd be delighted to have you on board! The christmas do sounds like a brilliant motivation and target!
     
  4. jo8216

    jo8216 Active Member

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    Cool, its probably the motivation i will need. Although 8% maybe a little on the adventurous side to get to but will give it a darn good shot.

    How are we going to track on here. Cant wait all excited know.....worse than being a kid.... yippee.
     
  5. philph

    philph Well-Known Member

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    As a starting point, here's the diet and training I'll be following:

    Most days I'll be eating around 2400 calories. I seem to have a mid-range of calories over which my weight automatically keeps itself steady - anywhere between about 2,500 and 3,000 calories and my body pretty much adjusts to keep things constant. But I find going just a little below this range causes quite consistent weight loss - as long as I stick to it!

    About 50% of my calories is protein. I eat a lot of meat, including lean beef (which I think is often a sadly overlooked food). Eggs are also a frequent protein source for me, with my favourite being an omelet with 1 whole egg and 6 whites. Some of my protein will be from yoghurt - we have a brand here called "Total 0%" which is a fat free strained Greek yoghurt that is 71% protein. Protein shakes will be limited to my post workout drink, and to occasional emergencies.

    Carbs are going to be kept at a low to moderate level. I won't often be eating starchy carbs like bread, cereals, rice or pasta, nor will I be eating dairy products (except for the high-protein yoghurt that I mentioned). I'll get quite enough carb calories from nuts, strawberries, etc.

    My main green vegetable is likely to remain broccoli, which I buy in 250g bags and drink as a smoothie (with strawberries or other low calorie fruit) over the course of the day. This is a great way to reduce hunger. I also will be increasing my consumption of onions, which I find have a similar benefit.

    I'm not going to be aiming to keep fats very low. All of my fat will be from what I see as "natural" fat sources - meat, nuts, whole eggs, etc. I don't eat any fried food or vegetable oil. It will be a challenge not to overeat almonds - the easy solution would be not to have any of them in the house to tempt me, but they are a valuable source of fibre, unsaturated fat, vitamin E and antioxidants, so they will stay, and I'll just have to resist the temptation to eat 8 oz at a time!

    I won't be using fat-burner supplements or stimulants (except for a small amount of caffeine in tea, coffee, and occasional diet coke, etc). I believe these products speed up your burning of calories (at least for a while), but this is calories in general, not only body fat. I don't see any advantage.

    Ok. I'm off to the gym now. I'll write about my training when I get back.
     
  6. philph

    philph Well-Known Member

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    For me, also! I think it's good to have a target that is challenging, though.

    I think it's best for us each to track in whichever way we feel most comfortable with. For me, weekly weigh-ins will be part of it (my starting point as of today is 91 kg). I will also post photos whenever I think I can see a visible change.
     
  7. jo8216

    jo8216 Active Member

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    Sounds like a good plan. I never knew Greek yoghurt was 71% protein was is the rest made up of. May include that in my plan if i can. Would depend on the carb amount.

    Like i said before started a carb manipulation plan on sunday. which kind of looks like this.

    Monday - No carbs
    Tuesday - High carbs (clean foods)
    Wednesday - No carbs
    Thursday - Low carbs
    Friday - No carbs
    Saturday - High Carbs
    Sunday - Low carbs

    Going to give this plan a go for three weeks, not normally prepared to give things ago as i like to keep results consistent and not waste time.

    Protein will be eggs, chicken and tuna (tuna wasnt on the plan but its cheap and i cant always afford to buy heaps of chicken.
    Carbs, will depend on which day im on, low carbs day x3 pieces of fruit, with carb meals, wholewheat pasta, or rice, corn and peas, oats.
    Veggies will be broccoli and salad greens.

    Im hoping i can stick with this for the twelve weeks i normally struggle at weekends but because the days are varied im hoping this will help.

    Workout: my trainer is in the middle of changing my programme, i do weights five days a week and cardio six. One of the cardio days is boxercise and one maybe playing badminton.

    Looking forward to the next twelve weeks to see how far i can push myself. The past couple of months have been good but not been as good as they could have been.
     
  8. Garvic

    Garvic Active Member

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    Hi there,

    I would love to join as well.

    I am around 16% BF @ 166lbs. I am also v motivated to get to 8% as I was there for much of my twenties and have drifted away somewhat.

    I am currently doing hardcore fitness in the mornings 3x per week (they call it "bootcamp" over here and it is a mixture of cardio and strength training.

    I do weights 2x per week and basically do the main compound movements at these sessions.

    As for diet, I am eating around 40% carb, 40% protein and 20% fats. Aside from veges, the only carbs I have are oatmeal and brown rice. I notice you guys are way lower on carbs than me, should I look to do something different? I am lactose intolerant and generally feel sick after a protein shake so I try and keep it all natural. My target calories are 1800-2000.

    I will also post progress photos once there is somehing worth showing.
     
  9. jo8216

    jo8216 Active Member

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    hi Ya

    I wouldnt worry too much what other people do, i guess everyone has to do what works for them. Only started my plan on sunday so im just going to give it three weeks and see how it goes.
     
  10. woodan

    woodan Well-Known Member

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    This is what I'll be aiming for after Christmas but the timing is off for me as I'm still eating big with carguy and the others.

    I just had to quiz you on this. You make broccoli smoothies? What do they taste like? I can't even begin to imagine what that would be like. However, I do struggle get enough green veg as I don't have much time to cook that sort of meal. This could be the solution I'm looking for.
     
  11. philph

    philph Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure if other greek yoghurts are similar - this is the only brand I've found. The remaining 29% would be carbs from the milk (mostly lactose).

    When I was losing weight before, I used calorie cycling, which is a similar principle to your plan. I found it helped a lot in keeping things going (and this was a 10-month diet, so I needed all the help I could get).

    Your training sounds good - I think with that level of weights and cardio, along with the diet, you'll make very good progress.
     
  12. jo8216

    jo8216 Active Member

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    thanx philph comments more than welcome and much appreciated.
     
  13. philph

    philph Well-Known Member

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    Ok, here's a brief outline of my training.

    I do 4 days a week of weight training. Each workout is 40 minutes.

    I'm not doing any cardio. I know this is unconventional, but I find my weight training stretches my energy resources enough as it is. If I reach a fat-loss plateau, then maybe one of my adjustments will be to add cardio. But more likely, I'd add an extra weights day instead.

    At the moment, my workouts are arranged like this:

    Day-A: Back and triceps.
    Day-B: Chest and biceps.
    Day-C: Legs.

    I'm not doing direct shoulder exercises for now, as my delts develop faster than my other muscle groups and they get enough stimulation already from bench presses, etc.

    I have the luxury of having a very good personal trainer, and I get a lot from my 40 minute workouts. Density is kept reasonably high by using supersets (and occasionally tri-sets), and rest periods don't go beyond what we have planned on each occasion.

    The rep scheme changes every week or so, but for most exercises I tend towards low reps especially in the first 20 minutes of a workout when I'm doing big compound exercises and I'll often be doing 3-5 reps per set, or even 2 or 1.

    I do mostly compound exercises, with deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, squats, rows, pullups, and various presses always present.
     
    #13 philph, Oct 23, 2007
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  14. philph

    philph Well-Known Member

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    Hi Garvic, it'd be great to have you on board! Welcome to the Lean Body Express :)

    If you find your present setup keeps you feeling healthy and allows you to keep moving towards your goals, then there's no real advantage in changing it.

    Keeping starchy carbs fairly low and having a high protein helps me to stay disciplined, as I tend to start overeating as soon as I get a whiff of cereal or bread. A friend of mine is even more extreme - he can't tolerate carbs at all, and ends up with high blood glucose even from just a piece of fruit. On the other hand, many people thrive when they have plenty of whole grain foods, etc. It's a very individual thing and I think you should go by results first, always ahead of other people's formulas.

    Excellent! I'm looking forward to that.
     
  15. philph

    philph Well-Known Member

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    Normally, green veggies are a problem for me, and I hate the damn things. But, surprisingly, these smoothies are very tolerable. Adding strawberries definitely helps, and weith only 2.2 calories per strawberry (and a heck of a lot of useful nutrients to complement that of the broccoli) it's a great combination.
     
  16. Garvic

    Garvic Active Member

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    Thanks for the tips. I do OK if I keep the starches low and only use it as an energy boost. I find I get headaches and weak unless I do.

    Glad I am not the only one doing this as it is bloody hard!! At least it is heading towards summer down here so it is great weather for exercise in the morning and it is nice to have a swim afterwards.

    Questions for you; am I better off doing a split program that hits each muscle group once per week or doing the major compounds 2x per week. I am pretty much starting form scratch here as I am now recovered from a shoulder recon and have not lifted anything for quite some time. I am therefore getting quite sore after each time in the joints and muscle which lasts for days.....
     
  17. woodan

    woodan Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, I'll have to give that a shot. Now, if only my broccoli wasn't frozen! :confused:
     
  18. philph

    philph Well-Known Member

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    You'll probably find quite a variety of opinions and preferences about how often to train each muscle group. I'm not enough of an expert to say that one approach will be better. For me, I find it works out quite well training each muscle group just over once a week. But because they are mostly compound exercises, the distinction between "back day", "legs day", etc is blurred to some extent anyway, and the task is really just to find a way of spreading those big exercises out during the week in a fairly balanced way, while maintaining a high work rate each time.

    Probably you'll find many more sophisticated prescriptions on this board (including those from people with a lot of personal and professional experience), but personally I find everything works fine as long as I get the big exercises in, and as long as the work rate is good.
     
  19. smalltex

    smalltex Well-Known Member

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    How exactly do you make these smoothies. I know I need more green vegetables into my diet and this might be the trick.
     
  20. philph

    philph Well-Known Member

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    I have a Kenwood smoothie maker. All I do is put in some water (usually just room temperature, from my Britta filter), drop in some clumps of raw broccoli florets that I've snapped off from the stalks, and some strawberries with the leaf and stem removed. I find 125 g broccoli and 125 g of strawberries is enough for several cups of finished smoothie. Occasionally I put in a bit of cinnamon for variety. Yesterday I added some fresh spinach leafs.

    I then put the machine to "mix" for maybe half a minute, followed by "smooth" for another half minute. The end result is a very gritty, brownish-green product that nevertheless is a lot more drinkable than it looks, and for some reason tastes better than solid broccoli, etc.

    Edit: By the way, another useful thing to know about if you have trouble with vegetables - try eating sea vegetables. A fair sized bowl of japanese sea salad (soaked for a few mins in hot water) only has 10 or so calories, and it is packed with nutrients. It has a distinctive salty taste that, once you try it a few times, is very enjoyable. But despite being very tasty, it helps fill you up, so it's a remarkably good food while cutting. (And as a bonus, the high iodine content will help support your thyroid function, which is pretty cool when you're maintaining a calorie deficit!)
     
    #20 philph, Oct 24, 2007
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2007

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