Body Composition, BMR & TDEE

Know The Numbers 

The whole business of trying to trim down and lighten your frame can be very frustrating to say the least.  I'm not one to recommend that you wholly focus on numbers like weight, body fat and calories in calories out, but having a basic understanding of where you are, the caloric value of food, how much you are burning on a daily basis and what your metabolism responds to can be very helpful in sorting out what the best approach is for you for in getting 

stronger and fitter for life.   

Methods for Measuring Body Composition

Measuring your body composition can be an intimidating proposition. Especially when you think of  using body fat calipers; with your skin and tissue being pinched and squeezed by someone else.  It can be either a moment of brief pride or extreme mortification, depending upon where you are on your journey and your mental state at the time.   

For many, it is enough to make them want to avoid the whole process of measuring body composition all together.

What if I told you that there are ways for you to find this information out on your own without the skin pinching and embarrassment?

I use two methods when measuring body fat and recommend these to my clients. 

The Accumeasure single sight skin fold measurement.
The U.S. Navy Method and Formula.

Accumeasure Skinfold Technique

This technique uses the skinfold caliper produced by "Accumeasure".  You take a single measurement at the hips and then gauge your body composition by referring to Accumeasure's skin fold chart.   

I used this method on myself when I was working to shed 40 pounds of fat.   But after several months, I found it frustrating from week to week for two main reasons.

I wasn't 100% sure that I was taking the measurements in the right place.  (This was before I was PT, but even then, it is confusing.)
I was disheartened because the Accumeasure can skew the results for women who have a high body fat ratio.

At the time, I had about 40 pounds or 18 kg to lose.  As I lost weight, the data I was getting from the Accumeasure showed that I was losing nearly as much lean mass as I was burning fat.  For example:  If I shed 1 kg of weight in one week the Accumeasure would reflect that 50% of my weight loss was fat and 50% was lean mass.  That's not really the desired result that I was looking for, especially since I was at the gym 4 days a week lifting heavy weights to maintain muscle and eating plenty of protein to feed the muscle; so I didn't buy it.

(One of the main reasons for exercising and measuring body composition while you work on getting leaner is to maintain your precious lean muscle mass. But that is a topic for another day.)

Introducing the U.S Navy Method For
Measuring Body Composition

Eventually, I found the U.S. Navy method. This method uses factors including body weight, height, and specific circumference measurements that can easily be taken with a simple tape measure.
I find it to be a pretty easy and reliable method for "do it yourself" measurements.
This method can tend to slightly overestimate the body fat percentages for women because of our wide child bearing hips. BUT as long as you are consistent with how and exactly where take your measurements, you should get reliable calculations for measuring changes in body fat and lean mass as you lose or gain weight.
Watch the quick tutorial videos to find out what you need at hand and how to do it.

Navy Method Measurements For The Ladies

Be Kind To Yourself!  2 Cups of water weighs 1 pound or half a kilogram.

Please remember that water retention just before your period is going to skew your results. The numbers may not budge that week or they may even be a little higher for the "non" lean mass part of your calculation.
Your lean mass is all the muscle, fascia, organs, tendons, cartilage, bone and brain in your body.
The "Non Lean Mass" is body fat and water weight. If you retain water during the late phase of your menstrual cycle as most women do, your numbers are going to be off, but it ain't because you miraculously gained 3 pounds overnight, it's because you have extra water in your body.

Navy Method Measurements For the Gentleman

Now You Are Ready to Calculate Your
Body Composition, BMR and TDEE

Step 1 - Body Composition

Plug your numbers into this calculator to get an estimate of your Body Composition. 

Step 2 - BMR

Apply your composition numbers to this Katch-Mckardle BMR calculator to get an estimate of your Basal Metabolic Rate, the minimum number of calories that you need to breathe.

Step 3 - Total Daily Energy Expenditure

Find out how many calories you need to adequately fuel your daily activities or your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditures).  Take a look at the bullet points below and estimate your level of daily activity, then multiply your BMR from Step 2 by your activity level factor.  Once you have this number, you can put together an informed plan to reach your fitness goals. 

BMR x 1.2 = Sedentary, little or no exercise
BMR x 1.375 = Light exercise or sports 3-5 days/week 
BMR x 1.55 = Moderate Exercise or sports 3-5 days/week 
BMR x 1.725 = Hard Exercise or sports 6-7 days/week
BMR x 1.9 = Hard Daily Exercise or sports physical labor job

Source for TDEE activity level multipliers: Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle, Tom Venuto

Is Calorie Counting Right For You?

 Book a 20 - minute Clarity Call to see what kind of Fitness Approach is the best for you to gain the results and Freedom You Desire.  

The call is $30 AUD, but if you purchase a program package, the $ is invested towards your purchase.  

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Is Calorie Counting Right For You?

Book a 20 - minute Clarity Call to see what kind of Fitness Approach is the best for you to gain the results and Freedom You Desire.  

The call is $30 AUD, but if you purchase a program package, the $ is invested towards your purchase.  

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