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Old 04-03-2007, 09:18 AM   #1
R. Alan Hester
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Default “Natural Weight/ BF%”

Do we as humans have a natural “set point” with regard to body composition and weight? I, for example, have fluctuated between 188 at 7% BF (endurance fetish days) and 232 at 22% BF (I want to be a heavy lifter; therefore, two chins are okay days) for the last 12 years. For me to attain the former, I must be VERY strict with food choices, which causes me mental and emotional angst—sort of , whereas the latter requires that I eat an amount of food that feels unnatural and would surely have me kicked out of my tribe because of my overconsumption of food. The weight and BF% at which my performance is best both anecdotally and empirically is 205 (9% BF) at ~6' 2".

Am I making sense?

Alan
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:03 AM   #2
Robb Wolf
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Alan-
Totally making sense and I think it's an excellent question. Art Devany threatened to write something on this topic, essentially putting bodybuilding and it's associated goals into a health/evolutionary perspective. I think he forgot about it!

On a purely empirical level I'd say that whatever body weight/composition one gravitates towards when following a low carb, high fat diet is about optimum from a health perspective. it is damn near impossible to keep any extra weight on. I think Shaf mentioned getting down around 200 when he was following the metabolic diet. Shaf are you about 6' tall? Alan how about you? 200-205 sounds about right with 8-10%bodyfat. For myself if I do not make a conscious effort to eat more than i want I will head from ~170 down to 160. I can run super lean and have great strength/BW for gymnastics type stuff but things like the Olifts suffer a bit. I think this is one of those intersections of performance, health and longevity. i know my overall athleticism runs best if I am up to 180-185. Excellent strength/BW and absolute strength but that is a major strain on my system and psyche to get to and maintain that level.

Historical accounts of hunter gatherers paint a picture of lean, muscular but not "big" people. I think both devany and cordain have thrown out the 8-10% BF for men 12-15% for women. This is a lean, athletic level but one still maintains normal androgen levels and has enough of a reserve to fight off infections and recover from injuries.

I think it is also telling that one can achieve a pretty high level of performance while eating when hungry but that last 15-20%, which is obviously huge if you want to be competitive, but that last bit comes about largely from the fueling beyond normal appetite levels.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:13 AM   #3
R. Alan Hester
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Robb,
Thanks for the reply!

I am about 6’ 2” tall, so I guess at 205 and 8-10% BF I would be about right.

Alan
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:29 AM   #4
Neal Winkler
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But is appetite somewhat a function of activity level and activity type as well? When I eat only as much as I like I weigh about 140ish at 5'8.5". But I have also have problems with working out consistently. Since I have inconsistency with training my body doesn't have much of a reason to increase in size and hence in appetite. If I did workout consistently and in such a way that an increase in size was necessary to overcome the stresses that are being placed upon my body, would then my appetite increase (and hence I would no longer feel as if my eating is unnatural)?

If this is the case, then I don't think that there would be a set point that we want to gravitate towards for body comp and weight. It would be a function of enviroment with the upper and lower limits determined by individual genetics.
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:01 AM   #5
Dave Van Skike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robb Wolf View Post
Alan-

Historical accounts of hunter gatherers paint a picture of lean, muscular but not "big" people. I think both devany and cordain have thrown out the 8-10% BF for men 12-15% for women. This is a lean, athletic level but one still maintains normal androgen levels and has enough of a reserve to fight off infections and recover from injuries.
.

I think the lit suggest this is also pretty variable based on climate with colder areas driving addaptations for retaining additional BF- more in the ranges of 12-15. Been a long time since physical anthro so I might be off.
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Old 04-04-2007, 05:10 PM   #6
Robb Wolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal Winkler View Post
But is appetite somewhat a function of activity level and activity type as well? When I eat only as much as I like I weigh about 140ish at 5'8.5". But I have also have problems with working out consistently. Since I have inconsistency with training my body doesn't have much of a reason to increase in size and hence in appetite. If I did workout consistently and in such a way that an increase in size was necessary to overcome the stresses that are being placed upon my body, would then my appetite increase (and hence I would no longer feel as if my eating is unnatural)?

If this is the case, then I don't think that there would be a set point that we want to gravitate towards for body comp and weight. It would be a function of enviroment with the upper and lower limits determined by individual genetics.
Neal-

It's a good question...not sure other than if I am not taking in many carbs I am just not very hungry, almost regardless of activity level. I just tend to get leaner and maybe a bit skinnier (if that is possible).
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