Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dessert? Yes please!

Today I had an appointment at the UIC Human Performance Lab. They have a hydrostatic water tank available which is the current gold standard for accurate body composition testing. The purpose of my visit was to find out how much excess fat I was carrying around. We all know that carving off the non-essential "dead" weight makes us faster, but like all good things there are limits. So I wanted to know how far I should go before cutting into essential fat and protein.

The shocking result: My percentage is 6.6% !

Good news: I am officially non fat. The ACE Personal Training Manual states the healthy range for male athletes is 6-13%. However, they also state that “Essential Fat” is from 2-5%. This seems to be quite a big range. From what little I could glean online 5% is a typical fat percentage for elite male marathoners. That being said with my natural chunkyness, there is still no mistaking me for an elite Marathoner these days.

Bad news: It comes as an unwelcome realization that I don’t have the gold mine of performance gains in reserve that I thought I had via weight loss. My plans of someday easily converting 10 more pounds of fat into pure speed might never happen. And there is not much more I can do to reduce unused musculature short of going under chemo. Definitely not hoping to go the Lance Armstrong route to better performance (testicular cancer).

I guess the silver lining is that I can now pretty much eat what I want!


Anonymous said...

that's the place that told me I was clinically obese -- somehow it's no comfort to me that I could reap tremendous improvements in my performance by losing weight!!! I would rather be told I'm skinny :p Sorry Rick, I have very little sympathy for you. Love, Danni

JP said...

I'll wait to test my body composition until the first mesocycle of my training is complete... by then I should at least be in single digits.

How much was the testing?

Did they do VO2 Max?

Rick said...

The hydrostatic weight test will cost you $45. They do perform VO2max as well as LT tests. BTW, Jeremy Borling wrote a good 2 part series article about his experience at the UIC Human Perf Lab for Chicago Athlete: