Back in late April I got a DEXA scan done to determine my body fat percentage, bone density, lean tissue mass, and fat
mass. You can view the full article detailing my past exam here.
It’s now November, 7 months later, and I just had a new DEXA scan done.
This post will detail how I lost 6 lbs of fat and gained 1 lb of muscle over those 7 months.
Results and comparison
But first, let’s check out my results and how it compares to my previous test. As you can see below, I ended up losing about 6 pounds of fat and gained nearly a pound of muscle. I had the largest body fat lost in my arms at 6%. My hips lost about a pound of fat and retained the muscle I already had. My legs lost about 2 pounds of fat and about a pound of muscle. And my waist lost about a pound of fat and muscle remained the same.
Whenever you’re losing fat, your body isn’t prioritizing gaining muscle, therefore you’ll have to work EXTREMELY hard to maintain what you have. If you’re untrained or took some time off lifting (like me), then you may even be able to gain a bit of muscle, but again you have to be very diligent with your training and diet. I kept my calories somewhat high and did a long cut so that I could minimize muscle loss, so I’m very happy to see I actually gained 1 lb of lean mass.
April 25, 2018
|Natural Waist (in)||28.7|
|Body Fat (%)||25.4|
|Body Fat (lbs)||34|
|Lean Mass (lbs)||94.6|
|Bone Mass (lbs)||5.0|
|Visceral fat (lbs)||0.03|
November 8, 2018
|Natural Waist (in)||27.3|
|Body Fat (%)||21.7|
|Body Fat (lbs)||27.9|
|Lean Mass (lbs)||95.4|
|Bone Mass (lbs)||5.0|
|Visceral fat (lbs)||0.00|
Before (left) vs after (right)
My Diet and Routine
Now onto the boring but important stuff: how I did it.
Prior to the first scan, I wasn’t tracking my calories and was honestly slacking off in the gym. I had no goals and would eat pretty intuitively. I was still maintaining a healthy weight and felt pretty fit, but wasn’t pushing myself.
After the first scan I decided I’d try to keep my calories about the same as what I was currently eating (estimated about 2000 calories average), but begin working out 5 days a week with a focus on heavy lifting.
I did end up losing some weight doing this, simply because I was now burning more calories because of the more intense workouts. Of course as you lose weight, your body requires fewer calories. After about two months of eating higher calories, I stopped losing weight. I knew that meant it was time to reassess how much I was eating. I dropped my calories to about 1800 (average throughout the week) and continued with my 5 days per week workout schedule.
I kept this up for another 3 months or so. Eventually I got to the tough point where I only had about 2 lbs of fat left to lose (per my goals), so I knew I’d have to bring my calories again one more time. I settled on about 1600 calories and carried this on for about 3 weeks and was able to lose another pound of fat.
What did I eat?
I follow a flexible eating diet, which just means I track my calories and macros (carbs, fat, protein). I let myself eat whatever I want, as long as it falls in my set macro range. Now for me I’m not very strict with the specific macros. I try to hit my protein goal (around 80 grams) and then eat whatever else I want as long as I don’t exceed my calories, meaning I don’t worry about carb or fat percentages.
Again, when it comes to losing weight, calories are king.
What was my workout routine?
As far as workouts, I mostly focused on weight lifting. I was having some ankle pain, so I didn’t really do much cardio, but I did try to make sure I was doing some higher rep movements to at least get my heart rate up a bit.
I didn’t do a set workout plan, but I basically did a 5 day split. I worked legs/glutes 3 times a week and then a mixture of upper body and abs the other two days. The final month I was squatting 3 times a week, deadlifting 3 times a week, and benching twice a week.
An average leg day would look like this:
Squats: 3 sets of 8 reps – 130 lbs
Hip Thrust: 3 sets of 12 reps – 185 lbs
Curtsy Lunge: 3 sets of 10 reps – 95 lbs
Step Ups: 3 sets of 10 reps – 25 lbs
Stiff Leg Deadlifts: 3 sets of 8 reps – 115 lbs
An average upper body day would look like this:
Bench: 3 sets of 8 reps – 90 lbs
Pullups: 3 sets of 5 reps
Skullcrushers: 3 sets of 15 reps – 25 lbs
Dips: 3 sets of 6 reps
Bent over dumbbell rows: 3 sets of 12 reps – 35 lbs
Flys: 3 sets of 15 reps – 20 lbs
Now that I got that last DEXA scan, my plan is slowly increase my calories back up to maintenance (around 1900). and then a little over maintenance after that. My workouts will remain the same, but with the extra calories I should be able to lift a bit heavier and begin to put on more muscle.
I highly recommend getting a DEXA scan if you’re looking to push yourself. It’s a much better way to measure progress than stepping on a scale every day and looking forward to your next test will keep you accountable. Hope this helps and I’ll be back in a few months with a DEXA measuring my progress after this mini bulk.