Caveman Me, The 90-Day Paleo Diet Challenge: UPDATE, "Know Your Numbers!"

After completing the 90-day Paleo Diet Challenge, I felt pretty good.  I had accomplished my goal of reducing my body-fat to single digits and felt, looked, thought, and slept better than I had in years.  The method that I used to test my body-fat percentage, however, didn't work as well as I had thought.

During a recent training session with a veteran strength coach, he remarked that my body-fat looked to be lower than the "9.7%" that I had ascertained through the use of a hand held bio-electrical impedance body-fat tester.  Over the years, competitive bodybuilders have sought him out for his reputation as a skilled body composition assessor and historically, he has never been off by more than 1% point as verified by side-by-side comparison to BodPod testing.

He used a SkinDex computerized caliper and followed the Jackson-Pollock 3-site method which calculates body-fat by measuring skin folds at the chest, abdomen, and thigh.  The results were a jaw-dropping 5.5%.  According to him, I was only several millimeters away from the 3-4% body-fat percentage desired by professional  bodybuilders prior to competition.

Fortunately, he did say that the rate of change that I observed over the course of the 90-Day Paleo Diet Challenge was probably accurate.   This means that I can go back and "reverse engineer" a more accurate assessment of my body-fat percentage based on this new information.

If you're wondering why I'm bothering to post about this its because incorrect information can inform bad decisions.  Thinking that my body-fat was closer to 10% rather than 5%, I was continuing to restrict calories and would have inevitably lost a substantial amount of muscle tissue.  As it is, muscle is harder to build than fat is to lose, so my focus can now shift to creating a moderate calorie surplus by eating a little more than I burn on any given day, and occasionally practicing intermittent fasting (IF) to keep my body-fat levels low.

The moral of the story, get your numbers checked, get them rechecked, and do both often! 
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About Tony Fed

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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