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Old 08-15-2012, 02:15 AM   #1
Brand NOOBian
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Default Getting Smaller...Did I lose Fat or Muscle?

I decided to take some measurements a few months ago and record them each week to track my progress. The numbers stayed the same for a few weeks though, so I stopped and completely forgot about it. I am visibly much skinnier now, but I thought I was maintaining muscle through bodyweight/dumbbell exercises. I took some measurements today just for the hell of it and noticed that I've actually gotten smaller all around. I'm not too knowledgable in this area and I don't know if this is due to losing body fat or muscle mass, or both. Obviously getting smaller around my gut is losing body fat, but not sure about the other areas.

March 6th:
-Left Bicep: 14 inches
-Right Bicep: 14.5 inches
-Left Triceps: 13.25 inches
-Right Triceps: 13.25 inches
-Chest: 39.25 inches
-Waist: 36.75 inches
-Weight: I don't remember exactly how much I weighed at this point, but I'm guessing around 185 lbs.

August 15th:
-Left Bicep: 13.5 inches
-Right Bicep: 13.5 inches
-Left Triceps: 12.5 inches
-Right Triceps: 12.5 inches
-Chest: 37 inches
-Waist: 32 inches
-Weight: 158.5 lbs


I'm not concerned about getting bigger muscles or anything, but I don't want to lose any either. I was surprised that they shrank when I feel much stronger and look more defined now than I did back then. If the decrease in size (arms/chest) is mainly due to losing fat, then I don't plan on changing anything. If it's due to losing muscle, however, I would like to change my diet/routine so I don't lose any more. It's probably difficult to know based just on measurements, but I'd appreciate any opinions.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Getting Smaller...Did I lose Fat or Muscle?

Something tells me your measurements are a little off. How are your biceps bigger then your triceps for a start, and how are you measuring them.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: Getting Smaller...Did I lose Fat or Muscle?

For biceps I flexed and wrapped a tape measure around my arm from the peak of the bicep.

For triceps I extended my arm and did the same thing from the peak of the triceps.

Did I do it wrong? lol.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:44 AM   #4
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Default Re: Getting Smaller...Did I lose Fat or Muscle?

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

I think your going to struggle to accurately diffrenciate between biceps and triceps.
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:00 AM   #5
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Default Re: Getting Smaller...Did I lose Fat or Muscle?

Let's assume that my numbers aren't accurate due to measuring incorrectly. But I did measure the same way both times and the numbers have decreased. So regardless of the accuracy of the method of measurement, it's safe to say that my arms and chest in general have gotten smaller. Would this most likely be caused by fat loss, muscle loss, both, or impossible to tell with the given information?
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Getting Smaller...Did I lose Fat or Muscle?

Impossible to tell ... Though realistically you would have had utilised some protein in order to exercise when depleted of carbs
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: Getting Smaller...Did I lose Fat or Muscle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brand NOOBian View Post
I'm not concerned about getting bigger muscles or anything, but I don't want to lose any either. I was surprised that they shrank when I feel much stronger and look more defined now than I did back then. If the decrease in size (arms/chest) is mainly due to losing fat, then I don't plan on changing anything. If it's due to losing muscle, however, I would like to change my diet/routine so I don't lose any more. It's probably difficult to know based just on measurements, but I'd appreciate any opinions.
You said you feel stronger. So who cares if you lost a bit of muscle?

And who cares if you lost a bit of muscle if you don't really care about muscle mass anyway?
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Getting Smaller...Did I lose Fat or Muscle?

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Originally Posted by viru§™ View Post
You said you feel stronger. So who cares if you lost a bit of muscle?

And who cares if you lost a bit of muscle if you don't really care about muscle mass anyway?
I'm more surprised/confused than anything since I feel stronger and thought I was doing enough strength training to maintain muscle mass. I don't care about getting bigger muscles, yes, but I personally don't want what muscle mass I do have to decrease either as I said before.

For arms/chest, I've been mainly doing:
*chin-ups (3x10)
*dips (3x20)
*push-ups (various types of push-ups and sets/reps, but a total of about 100-120)

Will increasing my protein intake (I currently get about 75-100g/day) and incorporating more isolated workouts (e.g. barbell curls, tricep extensions, etc.) help me maintain? Or any other suggestions?
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: Getting Smaller...Did I lose Fat or Muscle?

I dont get how you can measure your bicep and tricep? surely you wrap the tape round both? I always figured when you give a bicep measurement that includes the tricep?
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: Getting Smaller...Did I lose Fat or Muscle?

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Originally Posted by Brand NOOBian View Post
I'm more surprised/confused than anything since I feel stronger and thought I was doing enough strength training to maintain muscle mass. I don't care about getting bigger muscles, yes, but I personally don't want what muscle mass I do have to decrease either as I said before.

For arms/chest, I've been mainly doing:
*chin-ups (3x10)
*dips (3x20)
*push-ups (various types of push-ups and sets/reps, but a total of about 100-120)

Will increasing my protein intake (I currently get about 75-100g/day) and incorporating more isolated workouts (e.g. barbell curls, tricep extensions, etc.) help me maintain? Or any other suggestions?
What you're doing there isn't strength training. If you're only doing bodyweight exercises you probably didn't get stronger, you lost weight so the weight you had to move decreased making the exercises seem easier.

If you want to maintain muscle mass you're better off doing compound lifts not isolation.
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:03 AM   #11
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Default Re: Getting Smaller...Did I lose Fat or Muscle?

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Originally Posted by viru§™ View Post
What you're doing there isn't strength training. If you're only doing bodyweight exercises you probably didn't get stronger, you lost weight so the weight you had to move decreased making the exercises seem easier.

If you want to maintain muscle mass you're better off doing compound lifts not isolation.
I already assumed that with the bodyweight exercises, but I went to a reg gym a few weeks ago and did dumbbell presses/curls with heavier dumbbells than what I used to do when I just lifted. The problem at my gym is the heaviest dumbbells they have are 12 kg (~26 lbs), so I'm kinda limited there. Aren't chin-ups/pull-ups compound exercises, or am I mistaken? I also do dead lifts and squats, but again, they're pretty limited with 12 kg dumbbells.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:02 PM   #12
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Default Re: Getting Smaller...Did I lose Fat or Muscle?

Chin ups, dips and push ups are compound movements. If you want to get stronger start adding weight to each movement in a progressive manner. Size comes better with higher reps (10 ish) and lots of food and rest, strength with lower reps (1-5). But you've got to keep adding weight to the chin/dip belt. But, 1 rep strength won't do anything for boxing, technique and stamina are much more important. Probably better off training with low reps one session per week and just bodyweight, building up the reps as and when you can, twice a week. Just my two cents.
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