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  1. #1
    Registered User darkjfman's Avatar
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    Losing too much lean mass

    TL;DR:

    From BuiltLean pictures, I estimated my BF at 33%, so I did a 1000 calorie deficit. Once I was below 30%, I reduced to 900. Now being closer to 20% I have changed it to 700 calories. I was losing about 1.5lb/week, however my lean mass went from 137.3 in August to 133.6 as of last week 1/6/22. I use the same scale and check my BF every week on the same day on an empty stomach. The scale might not be accurate but it's the same one being used every time.

    So why am I losing so much lean mass, do I need to reduce my deficit?

    Full Story:

    I started this journey around August using the "Ironbuiltfitness Caloric Deficit For Fat Loss", using my scale to obtain my BF, even though it might not be 100% accurate, it matched BuiltLean pictures and I went with it. I started with 204lb and 32.5% BF, 5 months later I'm at 171 with 21.9% BF. Based on those numbers, I lost about 4 pounds in lean mass. My main method of losing weight has been a calorie deficit, along with cardio through a stationary bike. I estimate my calories to the best of my ability and log EVERYTHING, and my workout along with burned calories are based on Fitbit. I know this information isn't 100% accurate but based on my own research such as workout type, duration, my current build, etc..., Fitbit was close enough.

    This loss in lean mass is really upsetting me, even though I lost 33 pounds, it was not my intention to lose lean mass. Is it inevitable or am I doing something wrong?

    Since December, I began doing more weight oriented workouts to offset this loss instead of doing just cardio, after only a month it didn't seem to help. Most of my workouts are 30 minutes long, 6 days a week with a minimum of 4 being cardio related. I do keep my HR in the "fat burning zone" rather than push it high, but not always. I feel and look much better so I'm not all that disappointed.

    My meals have been ~30% protein, ~40% carbs, and ~30% fat mostly unsaturated. I was taking weight loss supplement from EVL but I stopped after it ran out. I am contemplating getting creatine since my lean mass is going down. I'm not interested in gaining muscle now as I do want my BF to go below 18%. That's the ultimate goal.

    Is my deficit too high? Should I take additional supplements? Any advice is greatly appreciated it.
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  2. #2
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    You probably aren't losing any lean mass if your strength has not declined a lot.

    Just that you are most likely using a BIA device to measure your lean mass - those things are notorious for being inaccurate and misleading people. You can't even rely on it to show changes over time.
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    Registered User darkjfman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    You probably aren't losing any lean mass if your strength has not declined a lot.

    Just that you are most likely using a BIA device to measure your lean mass - those things are notorious for being inaccurate and misleading people. You can't even rely on it to show changes over time.
    It is a BIA device, despite their inaccuracy I just hoped they would be somewhat consistent between measurements. I don't feel weak by any means, so maybe continue on the same path? Any other supplements besides creatine? Thanks.
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    As long as you aren't losing more than 1% per week and you get enough protein and do enough weight training, that's as much as you need to do.
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    Originally Posted by darkjfman View Post
    It is a BIA device, despite their inaccuracy I just hoped they would be somewhat consistent between measurements.
    Their imprecision is worse than their inaccuracy.
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    Registered User darkjfman's Avatar
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    Besides the images you see online, would a caliper be a better alternative? If done correctly that is.
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    NASM-CPT xsquid99's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by darkjfman View Post
    Besides the images you see online, would a caliper be a better alternative? If done correctly that is.
    You do understand that "lean body mass" is not just muscle right? Its everything that's not actually fat, including water, blood, skin, organs, & bones.

    There is no device in existence that can pinpoint actual muscle mass other than an autopsy, but of course you would have to be dead for that.

    Its very common (especially for nattys) to have less muscle than they actually thought and put too much belief into measuring methods that are extremely inaccurate.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.

    Don't be upset with the results you didn't get from the work you did not do.
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    Their imprecision is worse than their inaccuracy.
    What if they're consistently imprecise and inaccurate?
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    Registered User darkjfman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    You do understand that "lean body mass" is not just muscle right? Its everything that's not actually fat, including water, blood, skin, organs, & bones.

    There is no device in existence that can pinpoint actual muscle mass other than an autopsy, but of course you would have to be dead for that.

    Its very common (especially for nattys) to have less muscle than they actually thought and put too much belief into measuring methods that are extremely inaccurate.
    You just gave me a good idea with autopsy...

    I agree with your definition of lean body mass, however, we can agree organs and bones don't change. Blood and skin does decrease as you lose weight, but nothing substantial, the thing that fluctuates the most is fat and muscle at this point. So losing weight and having a decreased lean body mass (depending on the accuracy of the measurement) does indicate a decrease in muscle and not bones for example.

    In the end, whatever muscle (or lack of) I may have, I was just curious if the path I'm following is jeopardizing it in anyway.

    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    What if they're consistently imprecise and inaccurate?
    I'm not so sure anymore. The reason for this thread, 2 nights ago I checked my BF using the same scale I've been using for year, I was 171 with 20.4% (I usually don't check at night). The next morning I was at 170 with 22.2%, this was repeated again between last night and this morning. I was hoping the consistent inaccuracy is enough, but it doesn't seem like it. It makes sense to lose weight between evening and morning time as body burns calories while sleeping. But going from 20% to 22% is very off, that's even after going to the restroom in the morning.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by darkjfman View Post
    I'm not so sure anymore. The reason for this thread, 2 nights ago I checked my BF using the same scale I've been using for year, I was 171 with 20.4% (I usually don't check at night). The next morning I was at 170 with 22.2%, this was repeated again between last night and this morning. I was hoping the consistent inaccuracy is enough, but it doesn't seem like it. It makes sense to lose weight between evening and morning time as body burns calories while sleeping. But going from 20% to 22% is very off, that's even after going to the restroom in the morning.
    Sorry, was being facetious about the reliability of those measurements - thought that was clear. Don't try to pinpoint bf% or lean body mass. Even bodyweight on a typical bathroom scale can vary based on room temp, floor temp, etc. You can use those as a ballpark range but go by what you see in the mirror.
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    Originally Posted by darkjfman View Post
    I agree with your definition of lean body mass, however, we can agree organs and bones don't change. Blood and skin does decrease as you lose weight, but nothing substantial, the thing that fluctuates the most is fat and muscle at this point.
    Water weight counts as lean mass.
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    Water weight counts as lean mass.
    So... All things being equal it would have measured higher lean mass if he had done it before peeing rather than after peeing? 😁

    Hold the pee for increased muscle gains for the win
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    Registered User darkjfman's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the advice. I'll use the scale BIA with a grain of salt moving forward and rely on self-improvement instead.
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Millz12323 View Post
    So... All things being equal it would have measured higher lean mass if he had done it before peeing rather than after peeing? 😁

    Hold the pee for increased muscle gains for the win
    Actually, yes. Lean mass is total body mass minus fat so would also count stomach and intestinal content.
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    NASM-CPT xsquid99's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by darkjfman View Post

    I agree with your definition of lean body mass, however, we can agree organs and bones don't change. Blood and skin does decrease as you lose weight, but nothing substantial, the thing that fluctuates the most is fat and muscle at this point. So losing weight and having a decreased lean body mass (depending on the accuracy of the measurement) does indicate a decrease in muscle and not bones for example.
    You glossed over the most important one I mentioned when it comes to BIA devices, which is water.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.

    Don't be upset with the results you didn't get from the work you did not do.
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