I want to reduce my body fat down to 9 to 10%.

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Thanks for taking the time, your feedback was a welcome sight!

According to “rough” estimates, I am somewhere between 11-13% body fat. There are a couple of places where it is carried to a more noticeable degree than others – namely the “spare tire” and “love handles”. Everything else is pretty lean. And yes, I did try out the Healthy Body Calculator®! That, in fact, is what prompted me to write! It’s a pretty neat program!!! According to the comment on the first page, I am exactly in the middle of the “Healthy Body Weight Range.”

Basically, here’s the routine: Early 6 AM, crunches and/or reverse crunches, pushups, mild arm/shoulder. Noon (lunch break at work) is a stationary bike for 15-20 minutes (normally set to moderate pace). Evening, brisk walk for approximately 2 miles. All of this happens four or five times/week. Then there are days where I will go to the fitness center after work, 3:30 PM and complete an intense heavy weight workout. These alternate generally between the upper body and lower body if on successive days. All of the above includes stretching and when I do the heavy weights, there are warm-ups and more stretching.

My goal is probably 70% wellness and 30% for bodybuilding. (This is Northern California, got to look decent for the beaches – wink) If I could lower my body fat to around 9-10%, but bring my muscle mass up to a weight level of somewhere between my current 215 and 220, I’d be happy. Recently, I just discovered that my favorite jeans require the “fuller” cut – but NOT due to fat deposits around the seat! It’s for the thighs!

Before I came to work (one month ago) I used to ride a bicycle every day to/from my office. It was six miles round trip. Towards the end, I was extending the to-home journey by four or five miles! I guess that it has paid off!!!

Swimming is my favorite aerobic exercise! Period, end of the sentence! I have been swimming since about the time I could walk! I still enjoy the heck out of it!

Ummmmm to fit in more exercise time, I could decree that all days now have 30 hours in them! I honestly don’t know how it all works out the way it does. Fortunately for me, my workout partner at the fitness club here at work is as highly motivated as I am; she (not a typo) is a VERY strong aerobic type whose body composition rivals those of the so-called “Fitness Competitors!” She could compete and do very well, but (fortunately for me) that is not her goal!!!

When I do use the weights, moderate or heavy, it is for at least one hour! Some days, I feel like working out heavy, but then I’m dead and it’s a long drive home (a bit less than 30 miles) in heavy traffic! When I do the moderate weights, which is anywhere from 60-75% of maximum for 10 reps, I feel much better afterward, but know it’s not doing as much good! What a dilemma!

I’ve heard several things regarding testosterone levels. First, that those of us that have had vasectomies have lowered levels. Second that the levels drop off sharply at around age 40! Apparently, this one (number 2) is not the case!!!

I’ve heard that you don’t need vitamin supplement or mineral supplements from a vast majority of sources. Yes, most supplements contain substances that are not identifiable. No argument here!!! If I can’t read it, I don’t want it! I do take a multivitamin supplement once a day, seems to help.

I generally skip breakfasts. If I do eat anything in the AM, it’s usually some toast, a piece of fruit and maybe if I am lucky enough, there’ll be some low-fat cottage cheese in the fridge. Generally, I must fight off my 14-year-old daughter and hide it in containers marked with things she doesn’t like!

Weekends are spent doing manual labor from 8 AM till 3 PM (some volunteer work in the community building/renovating houses for the less fortunate) so there is no workout possible. But, then again I’m sure that the type of work I’m doing is a very good form of exercise in and of itself! I’m always the one getting asked to lift the heavy things like sheetrock and the 3/4 inch 4×8 pieces of plywood!

Oh well, thanks again for taking the time to write back. I really appreciate your assistance and advice!!! Take great care… Ciao.

PS: I work on the stupid computers all day, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t get up and walk around for at least ten minutes in every hour! For sitting exercises (and if not typing) I use a grip strengthener that is so strong and difficult to squeeze, my forearms are burning after only 15-20 reps!!!

Body fat measurement is either by hydrostatic weighing (underwater), skinfold calipers (a handheld device for measuring fat folds) or electrical impedance (a small electrical charge that flows from hand to foot). All of these methods have inherent errors mostly due to technique. The least accurate is the electrical impedance. Basically, untrained and uneducated people often do the testing without adequate preparation. Another method using low dose x-ray (DEXA) but is usually used for research.

Thanks for the feedback on the Healthy Body Calculator®. Play with your current % body fat and different goal percents to see the resulting weight range and Your Nutrition Facts report for how much food to eat.

Unfortunately, “spot reducing” of unwanted body fat doesn’t work well. You could do exercises that get the muscles that wrap around your sides by doing side bends in addition to your crunches aka sit-ups.

All your workouts are good and varied to prevent boredom. Having an exercise partner is one trick to increase success. You know the other person is there so you show up too and partnering can also increase competition. Yes, you are correct in that unless you stress a muscle to exhaustion, it will not grow bigger i.e. heavy weight lifting vs medium. But then since your goal is mostly health, the medium weight lifting should maintain your muscle mass.

What do you drink after heavy lifting? You might want to try a “sports drink” that provides glucose or fructose as weight lifting depletes muscle glycogen specifically in the muscles you exercised to exhaustion. Also, do you drink a lot of water each day? A simple clue is to look at the color of your urine. It should be colorless and odorless (unless you eat asparagus) other than the first voided urine after waking up in the morning.

I would recommend you review your exercise routine and strength/muscle goals with an exercise physiologist. Ask if one consults at the gym where you go. Otherwise, there must be a phone book listing for an exercise physiologist where you live.

Never heard that testosterone levels drop after vasectomies. Ask your doctor who performed your surgery or any urologist.

Skipping breakfast leads to eating more later in the day and early morning fatigue. Try to include some carbs i.e. fruit, grains, bread as well as protein i.e. egg, peanut butter, cheese, lean meat. With the workout you do before work, you are depleting some stored glucose (glycogen) with anaerobic exercise i.e. high-intensity calisthenics for short periods of time.

You sound like a happy, healthy, mind centered person. Nice to hear you also give your time on precious weekends. Yes lifting a hammer or plywood constitutes weightlifting. I do arm curls with gallons of milk on the way home from the grocery store and I have a squeeze ball on my desk, which helps frustration as well. I’ve added an exercycle and treadmill to my office for midday exercise breaks. You don’t have to be in a gym or dressed to exercise to keep fit.