When a person says she wants to lose five or 10 pounds, it’s understood that she means five pounds of fat, not five pounds of muscle, bone mass, or body water. But when the typical dieter loses five or ten pounds, barely half of that weight is fat. The other half is, in fact, muscle, bone mass and body water.
Losing weight is not as good as losing fat. If you lose five or 10 pounds of mixed fat mass and lean body mass, your health, appearance, and endurance performance will not improve as much as they will if you lose an equal amount of pure fat.
Here are some tips to ensure that any and all weight you lose in pursuit of your ideal racing weight is body fat.
Track Your Body Composition
Ensuring that fat loss accounts for all of your weight loss begins with consistent monitoring of your weight and body composition. This is easily done with a body fat scale. Step on the scale once a week to check your weight and body fat percentage. Multiply your weight by your body fat percentage in decimal form to obtain your body fat mass. If changes in your total body weight equal changes in your body fat mass, then 100 percent of your weight loss is fat loss.
For example, suppose your body weight four weeks ago was 160 lbs, and your body fat percentage was 15. This means your body fat mass was (160 lbs x 0.15 =) 24 lbs. Now suppose your body weight today is 156 lbs and your body fat percentage is 12.9. This means your body fat mass is now (156 x 0.129 =) 20.1 lbs. So your total weight loss is 4 lbs and your body fat mass loss is 3.9 pounds. Congratulations! Almost all of your weight loss has been fat loss.