Monday 29 April 2024

End of Week 11 of '90 day transformation challenge'

Only two more weeks left in the '90 day transformation challenge' period. After that I will commence the next 3-month 'phase' where I will increase caloric intake slightly and put more emphasis on weight training to try to only lose fat. That had been my original intention for the '90 day challenge' period, but I think I put a bit too much emphasis on caloric restriction and walking, and didn't do enough resistance training.

I didn't do any weight training sessions at the gym at all last week, so it isn't really a surprise that I am continuing to losing some lean mass and my body fat % isn't dropping as fast as I would like. I'll make sure I go to the gym tonight and also try to ensure my weight training sets are done to failure so I can check that the reps and/or weight is showing progressive increase over time.

Last week's stats were more in line with what I would expect for my current level of caloric restriction, so I don't need to adjust to meal plans or walking for this week, but do need to ensure I get enough sleep and do the three planned gym sessions each week. On the 'gym days' I'll probably aim for 15K steps rather than 20K.

Week 11 results: Weight Change during week: -1.5 kg

Avg Weight: 104.2 kg

Avg Body fat %: 32.2%

Avg BMI: 33.6

Avg daily cals: 1,592

Avg daily steps: 20,748

Avg daily caloric deficit: -1,238

Avg g protein/day: 168

Avg % cals from carbs: 30%

Avg % cals from fat: 24%

Overall I have lost 14.8 kg during the past 10 weeks. This is a rate of 1.39% of initial body weight per week, which is higher than the recommended 0.5%-1.0% per week for fat loss without losing lean mass at the same time. So far my weight loss appears to have been split between 75% fat loss and around 25% muscle loss. Hence the need to both ensure I go to the gym three times a week from now on, and also increase my caloric intake slightly (since just a 60 minute weight training session will require an extra 200-300 calories). Looks like adding an extra 150g portion of grilled chicken breast daily would be a good idea (which would provide an extra 50g of protein).

If my weight loss continued to be around 25% lean mass (muscle) and 75% fat, then by the time I reach my target weight of 78kg I would have lost another 25kg, but only 19 kg would be due to fat loss and 6 kg from loss of muscle mass. I would still end up with a respectable body fat of 18% in that scenario, but I would like to retain more muscle and get my body fat down to around 13%.

If my next 25kg of weight loss was entirely fat loss, I would reach 78 kg with a body fat of only 10%, which is quite a drastically low level (and probably unrealistic, unachievable, and probably not healthy at my age). But to reach 78 kg with 13% body fat my future weight loss (over the next 9 months or so) still needs to be about 90% fat loss, and only 10% muscle loss. So I need to focus more on retaining muscle mass. That is probably achievable if I just ease up slightly on the caloric restriction by eating a bit more protein and do a sufficient amount of resistance training each week.

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Monday 22 April 2024

End of Week 10 of '90 day transformation challenge'

Seemed to hit a bit of a 'plateau' this past week. I did two weight training sessions at the gym, and on two other days did a stint on the waterrower, plus I did quite a lot of daily walking - averaging 19,640 ste[s [er day. I also stuck to my planned caloric deficit and macros, averaging 1,554 cals/day with an average of 162 cals/day of protein and 29% of the overall calories from carbohydrates and 27% from fat. Due to the increased amount of walking, the average calculated caloric deficit vs BMR was -1,256 cals/day. Howver, my weight loss for the week was only -0.9 kg and my body fat (according to the bathroom scales) actually increased by 2.2% from a week ago! Comparing the 7-day average weight and BF% for this past week vs the previous week gives a slightly more positive outcome -1.3kg change in average weight and -0.34% in average body fat reading. I suspect the normal week-to-week calculated changes were thrown off by getting woken up unusually early Sunday morning, so I only had 5 hrs sleep. That might have thrown off the morning weigh-in results somewhat. Anyhow, I won't change my diet or exercise routine this week, just keep sticking to 'the plan' and hope to see more typical results next week.

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Wednesday 17 April 2024

Exercise snapshot

I've gotten into a routine of doing my daily walking in multiple blocks of 2K to 4K steps in a 15-30 minute sessions. Spread throughout the day this makes it quite easy to achieve my goal of at least 14K steps/day (up to around 20K on some days). I went to the gym for weight training yesterday, as I am now losing 1 - 1.5 kg/wk fairly consistently, but would like to rmitigate the lean mass loss from the current ~25% of the overall weight loss to under 20%. And the only way to achieve that is to do regular weight training sessions to achieve muscle hypertrophy. On the days I don't go to the gym for weight training I will do one (or more) 5 min 'high intensity' sessions on my Waterrower to boost aerobic fitness and VO2max. My performance is (so far) improving with each day of rowing, but I still tend to run out of 'puff' after about 5 mins (around the 1.4 km mark). Hopefully this will slowly improve until I can do the 2km distance in under 7 mins. Apparently the Waterrower is about 15% faster than the Concept2 machine used for competition events (and WR times), so achieving 2km in 7 mins on the Waterrower would still be considerably slower than the WR for the 60-64yo male category of around 6.5 mins.

I remembered to wear my Fitbit watch while rowing today, so did a record of a 5 minute rowing session and the start of a walking session about 30 minutes later:

It was interesting that my 'resting' heart rate while sitting in my home office working was around 72-78 bpm prior to the rowing session, but after the rowing it only dropped back to the 88-94 bpm range. This is why doing HIIT training is good for weight loss, as boosts your metabolism long after the brief exercise period has ended. The indoor rowing HR falls into the 'hard' exercise intensity band (for my age bracket), while the walking is 'light' exercise (which is good for fat loss without losing muscle mass).

While weight training my heart rate tends to sit in the 115-135 bpm range, which would be 'moderate' to 'hard' intensity for that hour or so.


I plan on sticking to this exercise routine from now on. But I will increase my caloric intake as I approach 80kg to slowly transition into 'maintenance' mode (this has been my biggest issue when previously losing weight -- I would tend to revert to 'ad libitum' eating after finishing (or giving up on) a diet, with snacks and junk food leading to a rapid regain of excess weight.

In the long term I hope to stick around 76-80kg body weight with around 12%-15% body fat, and ideally would do this on a modest 15%-20% 'CRON' (caloric restriction with optimal nutrition) food intake (for the possibly lifespan benefits). Just keeping to a healthy BMI and doing regular exercise will be a major improvement.

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Monday 15 April 2024

End of Week 9 of '90 day transformation challenge'

Diet and walking was on track during the past week, resulting in a -1.3 kg change in weight for the week, and a -1.3% reduction in body fat percentage. The diet and walking resulted in an average daily caloric deficit (compared to estimated BMR) of -1,206 kcals/day on average during the past week. The charts of weight loss per week vs. average daily caloric deficit show an almost perfect match with the predicted loss of 1kg/wk for a 1,000 kcals/day (7,000 kcals/wk) deficit for the weeks where my diet was 'ongoing'. There was a higher rate of weight loss during the first weeks, and the week immediately after I had paused my diet and exercise regime due to my BPV episodes. The higher rate of weight loss can be explained by the usual 'water weight' loss that usually occurs when a diet commences (and overall bulk of food consumption decreases).

I still haven't resumed going to the gym for weight training sessions yet -- my new Waterrower arrived on Tuesday, so I did rowing sessions on Wed, Thu, and Sun instead of going to the gym. This week I'll try to doing rowing on the 'rest' days when I don't go to the gym for weight training. While indoor rowing is a good 'full body' workout, it is only 'bodyweight' and is more limited by aerobic capacity than muscle exhaustion. So far I have only managed to do one or two 6 minute sessions on the rower, covering 1.3km in about 260 seconds. Despite 'only' being 1.3 km, this pace is still about 30% slower than the WR pace for the 2km event for the 60-65yo age male open category, so I'll need to first improve my aerobic fitness and endurance to be able to row 2km at a decent stroke rate, and then (hopefully) improve my technique and strength to slowly improve my time for the 2km indoor row. The rowing can be quite strenuous, so I'll start wearing my fitbit watch while rowing so I can keep an eye on my maximum heart rate.

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Saturday 13 April 2024

FFMI calculation

Watching a youtube video about weight loss and body building by Dr Michael Israetel I found a reference to FFMI (Fat-free Mass Index) calculator at that lets you enter current body measurements and get an estimate of your (theoretical) drug-free genetic potential for lean muscle mass. At my age my maximum muscle potential will be considerably less than this, but it is good as a guideline.

My current measurements entered into the app are: (male, metric units, goal is lean muscle mass for fat reduction from 30% to 14%):

*height 176 cm

*weight 106 kg

*wrist circumference 19 cm

*ankle circumference 26 cm (unusually thick - and I measured my smaller leg - the other has some odema)

*torso circumference 115 cm

*upper arm circumference 41 cm

*forearm circumference 34 cm

*neck circumference 42 cm

*thigh circumference 59 cm

*calf circumference 43 cm

Calculated Results:

Lean body mass left to gain 14.6 kg (need to do more weight training!)

Fat mass left to lose 17.3 kg (more if I don't add the above muscle)

If I don't put on any lean mass, this means losing about 32 kg of fat to reduce weight to 74kg, which is about right). Ideally I can add some lean mass, especially on my thighs.

Evaluation of current physique and possible improvements are:

Neck 6% overdeveloped

Torso 3% overdeveloped (probably overestimated due to fat on my chest and back)

upper arms: perfect (I doubt this as I need to shed fat and gain muscle here)

forearms 4% overdeveloped (again, probably inflated due to excess body fat)

thigh 11% underdeveloped (I've noticed my thighs are not as thick as when I used to do weight training -- need to use the leg extension machine more)

calf 2% underdeveloped (more time doing calf raises)

Potential gains:

Torso max 125 cm (more chest and lat work needed)

Upper arm 46 cm (more bicep curls and tricep work)

Forearm 37 cm (some forearms curls)

Neck 45 cm (shoulder shrugs?)

Thigh 75 cm (definitely need more leg work)

Calf 50 cm (more and heavier calf raises)

Max natural bodyweight 103.3 kg. Normalized FFMI 24.2 (24.9 is upper limit drug-free for most people's genetics) Max natural recorded is 28.0

The app provides a cool visual summary of the above results:

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Monday 8 April 2024

End of Week 8 of '90 day transformation challenge'

Only did about 10K steps/day for the first two days of the week, but then picked up and by the end of the week the average daily step count was on target. My average daily protein and % calories from fat and carbs was also what I am aiming for. However, I didn't go to the gym to do weight training at all during the past week, which resulted in my weight continuing to drop but my % body fat not decreasing. Overall my weight loss have been about 72% fat and 28% lean mass, so I really need to restart my regular weight training to preserve muscle mass while in caloric deficit.

My progress so far:

         Body Recomposition       Averages (per day)

Week#    Wt (kg)    Body Fat %    cals    g prot    % carbs    % fat    steps/day

1        -3.4       -1.1%         1,348     85      35%        39%      11,118

2        -1.0       -0.4%         1,378     92      39%        31%      12.126

3        -2.3       -0.8%         1,528    121      27%        26%      12,358

4        -0.1       -0.5%         2,223    122      41%        30%       6,459

5        +1.1       +0.4%         2,457    117      51%        29%       1,107

6        -3.1       -1.2%         1,856    114      50%        22%      10,550

7        -0.9       +0.2%         1,782    153      40%        28%      14,293

8        -1.1       -0.0%         1,594    157      29%        26%      15,770

DS1 didn't want the elliptical machine, so we just shifted it into the garage for the time being, so I'll have room in the loungeroom for the Joroto Waterrower when it arrives. The M280 model I bought comes with bluetooth (BLE) connectivity and FTMS (Fitness Machine Service) device support, so I am hoping to be able to data log workout using python on my laptop. After trying to find some existing examples for people who had already developed code for this (to closest I could find was specific to certain models of stationary bike machines), I resorted to asking ChatGPT to "write a python script to connect to a FTMS device using bluetooth" and it came up with a script to connect using pygatt and print the received data. Apparently all I will need to do is specify the MAC address of my FTMS device (the waterrower). We'll see if it works. If it does, I should be able to run the python script within excel to import the data during an exercise session and chart relevant details (eg. heartrate, stroke rate, distance etc.). If I can't get the python working in excel I can always do the required charting in python using matplotlib or similar.

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Friday 5 April 2024

Bought a rowing machine

The gym I go to for weight training has stationary bikes, stair walkers and treadmills, but doesn't have any rowing machines. I quite like indoor rowing and would like to replace the elliptical machine I have sitting in my lounge room (that I never use). So I decided to buy a Joroto Water Rowing Machine after seeing it was relatively affordable ($600) and was available with a $100 discount and free shipping on Amazon. It has a nice oak finish, so will fit in quite nicely with the decor of the lounge room. And I'll be able to watch TV while rowing.

I was inspired by reading about Richard Morgan, who started rowing in his 70s and at age 93 was four times master world champion indoor male rower. I don't expect to set any records (although entering the Pan Pacific Masters Games being held at the Gold Coast in November this year would be fun), but it will be interesting to see how my 2,000m times compare with the relevant world records (male, <75kg class):

Age    <75kg    Open

60-64  6m24s   6m20s

65-69  6m46s   6m33s

70-74  6m55s   6m44s

75-79  7m24s   7m07s

80-84  7m40s   7m26s

85-90  8m13s   7m54s

DW has been asking me to sort out (throw out) a whole lot of old uni notes and miscellaneous electronic knick-knacks that are cluttering up my 'home office' as it encroaches into an area where she has an exercise mat and would like to rearrange the furniture there and make it into more of a 'sitting room' and exercise area. So I think I'll have to make sure I finish doing the clean-up this weekend and also ask DS1 if he wants a free elliptical machine (as long as he takes it away this weekend!) when he visits on Sunday. That way when the new rowing machine arrives in a week or two DW is less likely to complain about me having bought a new 'toy' to clutter up the house ;)

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Tuesday 2 April 2024

Net Worth - MAR 2024

Chart updated to end of March in sidebar.

Stocks/cash increased $11,724 (+4.81%) to $255,683.

Retirement savings (SMSF etc) increased by $55,047 (+3.19%) to $1,783,193 in line with the market trend and our asset allocation.

Est. valuation of our home (my half) increased by $1,036 (+0.09%) to $1,140,089. The 'Other real estate' (my 'lake house' and the investment apartment) increased by $6,069 (+0.29%) to $2,114,079.

The outstanding balance of the investment property mortgage remains at $999,993 during the 'interest only' period of the mortgage. Another ~4 years remain of the 'interest only' period. During that time I will accumulate as much cash as possible in the offset account to reduce the effective loan balance.

Other assets (my online depository bullion account at Perth Mint, and the bullion value of my gold and silver proof coin collection) increased by $3,528 (+9.28%) to $41,560.

Overall, NW increased by $77,404 (+1.81%) to $4,342,611 during March.

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Monday 1 April 2024

End of Week 7 of '90 day transformation challenge'

Maintained a good daily step count on most days, and tweaked my meals to include a bit more protein and reduced carbs slightly to keep the overall caloric deficit sufficient to continue losing weight.

My progress so far:

         Body Recomposition       Averages (per day)

Week#    Wt (kg)    Body Fat %    cals    g prot    % carbs    % fat    steps/day

1        -3.4       -1.1%         1,348     85      35%        39%      11,118

2        -1.0       -0.4%         1,378     92      39%        31%      12.126

3        -2.3       -0.8%         1,528    121      27%        26%      12,358

4        -0.1       -0.5%         2,223    122      41%        30%       6,459

5        +1.1       +0.4%         2,457    117      51%        29%       1,107

6        -3.1       -1.2%         1,856    114      50%        22%      10,550

7        -0.9       +0.2%         1,782    153      40%        28%      14,293

I did a reasonable amount of walking on all but two days last week (my average step count for the other five days was actually 16,001) but was a bit busy at work (due to the shortened week due to the Easter 'break' -- still had the same amount of work to get completed, but one less day to do it in) so ended up not going to the gym at all. I actually felt like going for some weight training, but ended up having to choose between  doing more walking to hit my step count daily target, or else go to the gym for weight training, due to the extra time in the evenings getting work tasks finished off. As my main focus is weight loss (I am doing to weight training to try and preserve as much lean mass as possible) I prioritized walking last week. I should be able to make it to the gym as planned next week, although I might suddenly have to spend some extra time on my PhD confirmation of candidature report and presentation (I did OK on my 'rehearsal' presentation last week, but have a few statistics areas to brush up on, and some additions to make to the report and powerpoint presentation. I don't know when the CoC presentation/meeting will be scheduled -- I could get an email invite from the HDR office at any time).

Although I lost weight last week my body fat% seemed to stay fairly constant. Although I didn't do weight training I think it is more likely just due to my scales not being particularly accurate for measuring body fat -- I've noticed that there can be a 1%-2% variation is you just get off and on again within a few minutes, so I only use the average weight and % fat taken over a 5-day period to estimate changes in lean mass.

I was hoping to be able to not lose any lean mass while reducing body fat, but the figures suggest that my weight loss is around 75% fat and slightly under 25% lean mass. However, changes in water retention can also affect the body fat readings, so I am not too concerned at this halfway point in the transformation challenge. I'll stick with my meal planning and walking, but want to ensure I do at least two full-body weight training sessions each week from now on. By the end of the 13-week challenge I hope to have lost around 20 kg of weight but only 4kg or less of lean mass.

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