Percent body fat reduction through muscle mass increase

Over the last few days, I was disturbed by concerns from some of my running friends and close friends about my body weight. Some of them have not seen me since Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon in May 2017. Several of them last saw me about 2 months ago. One last saw me over two years ago.
  • You have lost weight again?
  • You look so slim now! Too slim already! Please don't lose any more weight!
  • What happened to you? You don't eat enough? Too much running?
  • Your face has sunken. I couldn't even recognize you.
  • You look better with more weight
I fully understand that they are concerned about my well being. And I'm truly grateful for their care and concern.

But did I actually lose more weight especially over the last two months?

InBody body composition analysis

InBody body composition analysis: July 5 to September 4, 2017

I decided to do InBody body composition analysis again in the fitness center yesterday to look at my latest body composition.

Here is my body composition history for the last two months:
  • July 5, 2017 
    • Body weight: 65.4 kg
    • Skeletal muscle mass: 32 kg
    • Percent body fat: 12.6%
  • July 19, 2017
    • Body weight: 66.3 kg
    • Skeletal muscle mass: 32 kg
    • Percent body fat: 13.6%
  • July 27, 2017
    • Body weight: 65.8 kg
    • Skeletal muscle mass: 32.4 kg
    • Percent body fat: 12.0%
  • September 4, 2017
    • Body weight: 65.5 kg
    • Skeletal muscle mass: 33 kg
    • Percent body fat: 9.9%
Body weight has fluctuated within 1 kg (65.4 kg - 66.3 kg). Overall, it's stable at around 65.5 kg

Skeletal muscle mass has increased from 32 kg to 33 kg over the last two months.

End result?

Percent body fat has reduced from the high of 13.6% down to the low of 9.9%

Further 0.5 kg weight loss due to increased running mileage

Photo taken on September 4 after InBody body composition analysis. :)
Even though my body weight stays stable at around 65.5 kg over the last two months, but over the years, I'm still at my lightest. For example, compare to my body weight at the high of 74-76 kg few years ago, and also to my body weight at 66 kg after 4.3 kg weight loss end of 2016 (you can read more by clicking here), it looks like my friends are right. I still lost 0.5 kg more. Sob Sob!

In retrospect, I'm trying to figure out why I still lose another 0.5 kg. I believe it's due to my increased running mileage. You see, since I had ITB band injury in April, I have stopped from running after Hat Yai Marathon. I only resumed running end of June. 

I take a look at my running logbook and here is what I found about my weekly running mileage:

  • June 2017    : 10-20 km weekly running mileage for the last two weeks.
  • July 2017     : 40-50 km weekly running mileage
  • August 2017: 50-60 km weekly running mileage

With my 90% vegetarian diet and food intake remains largely the same, no wonder I couldn't put on weight but to lose a further 0.5 kg. 

However, I have added more protein into my diets - two egg whites a day on training days.

I really try to force myself to do more carbo loading, to eat more like the time when I was 74-76 kg. Somehow I have no appetite to eat more than what my stomach can take now. Is it true that as a person gets older, he / she tends to eat less?

Include strength exercises into fitness program

Besides running, now I have more time for strength exercises
Since July 1, I have been goyang kaki and "shaking legs". ha!ha! It also means that during weekdays, I can spend a bit more time in fitness center to do strength exercises after running on treadmill. No need to go to office mah! lol!😋

That's what I have been doing for the past two months.

After treadmill running of 20-30 minutes, I would then do some strength exercises focusing on different muscle groups for each day:

  • Chest and triceps
  • Back and biceps
  • Shoulder, legs and core
I'm not intending to become Arnold Schwarzenegger. I'm also not intending to become "durian seller" Jordan Yeoh. I just want to increase my own overall strength for fitness and health. This will also help to balance out my overall fitness level - instead of 80-90% on cardio exercises (running, cycling and swimming) only. 

Balance is the key. But somehow, I still tend to run more. What to do? A marathoner is a marathoner! But at least it's more balanced now.

Surprise outcome: percent body fat reduction

Through the InBody body composition analysis, I realized that in actual fact, a person can reduce body fat percentage by increasing muscle mass, not necessarily reducing body weight. 

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when I realized that my percent body fat has reduced to around 10%, not through body weight reduction but through increase in muscle mass

I know there are many triathletes and athletes out there who have less than 10% body fat. 

But at the age of 50, I 'm pretty happy with 10% body fat! No complaints! But of course, keep it there is a great challenge, especially if I want to put on some body weight! 

Yeah, I can't continue to lose more body weight! I think I should try my best to eat more now ... healthy food of course - to put on weight.

That means I can't train and run ultra marathons, or half Ironman triathlon anymore. 

That means I need to run less full marathons to prevent further weight loss.

Is it a good news or bad news?

For a marathoner, it's a bad news! lol! I don't know if I can control my legs not to run!

Oh well - I will just go with the flow. Let life!

As long as I keep myself as healthy as possible at my ripe age, regardless of weight and how I look if too slim due to running and eating less, I'm happy!

Isn't life about happiness? 😊

Written by Vincent Khor on September 5, 2017


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