Saturday, May 10, 2008

How Do I Calculate Exactly How Much Muscle I've Gained?

You cannot calculate your muscle gain, short of having a biopsy. You can calculate your lean mass gain. Many people confuse this with muscle, which it is not - it is a combination of anything that is not fat. That means the contents of food in your gut, the water that your muscles may draw in, water you may be retaining in various parts of your body, and muscle. This is why I tell people not to get too caught in the numbers, because you can easily lose/gain 5 pounds of lean mass from food/water alone. It's best to focus on consistent, long term gains and use reliable markers such as the ratio of your biceps circumference to your abs (both flexed).

For example, let's say you started with 16" biceps and a 34" waist, and ended up with 16" biceps and a 32" waist. Here is the ratio:

16:34 = 0.47

16:32 = 0.5

When that ratio goes up, it is a good thing.

On the other hand, if you started with 16" biceps and a 34" waist, and ended up with 15" biceps and a 34" waist, the second ratio would be 0.44 -going down, indicating muscle loss.

You always want this ratio to maintain or go up. That is a positive indicator.

As for computing lean mass, it's like this:

200 pounds @ 10% body fat = 200 x 0.1 = 20 pounds of fat

The rest is lean, so 200 - 20 = 180 pounds lean

Now, let's say we ended up at 205 pounds and 12% body fat.

210 pounds @ 12% body fat = 210 x 0.12 = 25 pounds of fat

The rest is lean, so 210 - 25 = 185 pounds of lean

In this case, you could comfortably say you were gaining lean mass. Whether that was water weight or quality muscle would not be known, but generally this would be a positive movement because you are not gaining more fat than muscle.

How Can I Get Rid Of My Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are thin, stretched skin tissue. They typically appear when you lose weight or put on weight rapidly. Stretch marks contain a normal, upper layer of skin but the lower layers that contain collagen and elastin have become damaged.

There is no specific cure for stretch marks. However, there are many measures you can take to minimize their impact and prevent acquiring new ones.

The first step is not to gain or lose weight too quickly. Usually stretch marks are caused by rapidly gaining weight. When losing weight, it is important to lose weight slowly. When you lose weight too quickly, you risk having an issue with looser, damaged skin. By losing weight at a steady pace, you allow the skin to replenish itself and use its natural elasticity to shrink with your body.

What is a steady pace? Most women can safely lose 0.5% - 1.0% of their body weight each week. Men can lose a little more quickly, from 0.5% - 1.5%.

Losing faster than this can prevent the skin from adapting to the changes in body weight.

You must also nourish the skin from the inside and the outside. Inside, taking a quality multivitamin TOP FORM BASICS is important to supply the body with the materials it needs to repair damaged tissue. Because fats are used to repair cell membranes, especially in the skin, taking the right type of healthy fats TOP FORM BASICS (such as fish oil and flaxseed oil) is also important.

On the outside, quality skin care is important. In addition to regular regimens of the right soaps, shampoos, and lotions, many people report great success with applying cocoa butter on a regular basis.