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Old 08-12-2010, 01:08 PM   #21
Steve Shafley
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,285

Obviously DXA sucks.

Get a pair of calipers. Track your skinfolds in a few places. That and measuring the circumference of your body in strategic places will tell you if you are getting bigger or smaller.

Just track the skinfolds, no need to bust out the formula.

Also, the best thing for your purpose is your eye or the eye of someone else. You are looking for a cosmetic appearance that is pleasing to you and others. Using the right metrics (i.e. visual aesthetics) is more important than having some arbitrary numbers.
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:28 PM   #22
Derek Weaver
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2,642

I'm not overly familiar with bodyfat testing methods these days, but if I remember right, DEXA (DXA?) measures all of the fat you've got. Not just the subcutaenous fat?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm curious, but too lazy to look it up right now.

I'd suggest pictures and/or someone else's eye. Dysmorphia is powerful.
And if you don't think kettleball squat cleans are difficult, I say, step up to the med-ball
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:15 PM   #23
Brad Gibbs
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 11

You're right, Derek, DEXA measures all fat in the body (along with muscle and bone), not just subcutaneous fat. If body calipers don't at least make an attempt to roll internal fat estimates into their numbers, that would explain at least some of the variation in the results between the two.

Here's a quick explanation from the site of the place i went to:


I don't think DEXA sucks at all, so, I'm not sure I get that comment. It is confusing, though, since body fat percentage seems to be a measure people who are very precise about these things treat as authoritative and quantitative, but, there's so much variation -- between the inaccuracies of each method and the varying results one person can get from each -- it seems like a rather poor measure lacking a true standard (although much better than BMI). Again, people who are otherwise very precise about how many grams of protein to eat, etc. seem to ignore the body fat measurement method used to arrive at the conclusions they've drawn.

I do take photos, but, again, I'm trying to plan how much fat I need to lose and how long I'll need to be on an extremely reduced calorie diet. My wife says I've clearly made some progress, but, then again, she would... As for my own judgment, if I'd been honest with myself all along, I never would have let things go this far.
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:26 PM   #24
Brad Gibbs
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Join Date: Aug 2010
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Okay, so, I get the 'obviously DEXA sucks' comment now... It sucks bc it gave me the more displeasing result...

Not sure why it took me so long to get that.
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Old 08-12-2010, 04:40 PM   #25
Donald Lee
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 646


Go to Lyle's site and read his stuff on body composition and measuring it. He talks about all the methods and lets you decide which one to use.

This site also has calculations for different number of caliper sites and for the tape measure method:


The Flexible Dieting book goes very well with RFL, but it may not be worth the money for you. Much of the info in the Flexible Dieting book is in RFL, and the rest is available on his site.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:00 PM   #26
Craig Brown
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 220


What has worked for me is getting my strength up first. Then the diet you are looking at will work fine. Something like Dan John's complexes are good work that if you do them fairly heavy will help bring back your muscle mass, as will super basics- dead hang chins, push ups, dips, heavy step ups & lunges. Lots of options. I'd ditch all the endurance work, just never seems to go well for me with either of your goals. Lyles stuff is solid, though I do great on a very fat heavy lacto-paleo. 'Panu' kinda thing, not Cordain.


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Old 08-12-2010, 06:02 PM   #27
Brad Gibbs
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Join Date: Aug 2010
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I read Lyle's body composition measurement articles from his site. He does go into extensive detail about the differences in terms of relative ease, reliability and cost, but, I don't remember reading anything about DEXA producing results substantially different than calipers or BIA in either of those articles.

The linear software site you linked looks promising. I'll have to practice taking measurements or teach my wife to do it.

Also, Craig, thanks for the lacto-paleo idea. I've never heard of it. Something else to read up on. Truth be told, the high fat DEXA scan scared me a little. It's really unhealthy. I thought about putting on some muscle first and then leveraging the extra calories that muscle would burn to get lean, but, I finally decided I need to lose some fat first to get down to a more heart-healthy level. Again, I'm not sure if I need to make some adjustment between my DEXA scan results and the numbers posted on the linear software site, but, my 27% DEXA result puts me in the obese category. Gaining muscle will almost inevitably lead to even more fat.

I'll probably try to drop 15 pounds or so of fat, then gain 5-10 pounds of muscle, then drop another few pounds of fat, then gain the rest of the muscle.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:58 PM   #28
Donald Lee
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 646

Losing fat is a hassle. Generally, you want to get down to some acceptable range before bulking. If you diet right, you will lose very little muscle. Even if you bulk right, you will probably gain about a lb of fat for every lb of muscle. If long-term dieting is your thing, you can bulk first; I'd rather do it in more manageable bits.

Also, muscle does not burn much calories. A lb of resting muscle burns about 6 Calories/day. A lb of fat burns about 3 Calories/day. Stoking your metabolic fire by gaining muscle, whether through intervals or by gaining muscle mass, is a myth.
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:42 PM   #29
Frank Needham
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 543

One of the most simple qualitative means of determing ones state of fatness is to stand in front of the mirror naked, cup your hand over your package, and jump up and down a few times while observing what jiggles and wiggles. Obviously, if it jiggles, it is fat and has got to go if you are after a low bf comp. Just wait till your wife sees you doing that one.
"Lack of sleep makes cowards of us all."
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:36 PM   #30
Roy Sharp
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1

Pretty much every method of bodyfat measurement sucks - DEXA included (James Kreiger recently did a 4-part series explaining why, beginning here: http://weightology.net/weightologyweekly/?page_id=146)

Strangely enough, he neglected to mention the "nekkid package jump method" tho.
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