I got another DXA bodyfat scan this morning. The last one I had done was on May 22nd, about a month before my bodybuilding competition. I think it’s a safe assumption that I didn’t gain much lean mass or fat in the month before the show, so the results from today’s scan would tell me about how my strong woman training changed my body composition and set a new baseline as I start this German Volume Training.
After the show, I was pretty careful with my nutrition for the first month. I increased my intake as the strong woman training went on. I didn’t log food, but I watched the scale and my lifting logs. I didn’t have many cheat meals, but I did add back the foods I drop out when my show prep gets serious – eggs, Greek yogurt, whey and casein.
So… here’s what happened inside me since July…
The Good News
The net change in lean mass was an increase of one pound. That’s a big deal. I only gained two pounds last YEAR, but gained one pound during those 10 weeks of strong woman training?? Looking at the data closer, I actually gained about a pound of lean mass in each leg (or glutes), which would bring me up two pounds, but I lost a pound of lean mass in my upper body. A little came off my left arm, but I think the lean mass loss came from my chest. Makes sense. I didn’t do much lifting other than practicing the events. Chest was very neglected. The scan doesn’t separate out data for shoulders. I think I gained there, too. The data is reported as “trunk” and “arms”. I know I gained mass in my back, so yeah, it must have been the chest that shrunk.
The Bad News
I gained about 11 pounds of fat. Oh well. Had to eat to grow and my body is apparently very good at getting ready for a food shortage. Not going to dwell on it. Just need to start logging again, keep intake at maintenance or just below, add a couple cardios back, and monitor how I’m recovering. I’ve got a few extra calories stored now for winter.
More Good News
Looking at where I gained lean mass and where I lost it, my left side and right side are closer in size. Lost a little size in my left arm and got bigger in my right so they are almost the same size now. Both legs developed muscle, but the little one gained more. So on paper, I have more symmetry from left to right.
The Best News
I gained 17 grams of bone mass!!!!!! Maybe not so exciting for a bodybuilder, but SUPER exciting for post-menopausal woman who, just this week, heard of two women my age or older who broke bones doing things that shouldn’t have broken bones. I’ve been getting these DXA scans a couple times a year since June 2011. From June 2011 to May 2013, I gained 30 grams of bone mass. This summer, I built 17 grams doing the strong woman training. Yes, I hated that training. But that heavy lifting that redefined what “heavy”meant to me paid off big time – 36% of the total new bone I’ve built in the last 28 months I did in the last 3 months?? That just blows my mind!!
Sure, I know some women are going to be alarmed about the fat. I’m not thrilled, but I’m not surprised or worried about it. I suspect a big chunk (no pun intended) of it has accumulated in the last month when I wasn’t training hard and was eating like a teenage boy. That was my little rebound, I guess. Didn’t happen after bodybuilding – happened after strong woman. I had no intention of keeping this up, but I wasn’t motivated to log and knew I needed a kick in the butt. I knew the DXA scan today was going to show me the fat and I knew the data would compel me to charge up the BodyBugg, slap that sucker back on my arm, and get back to my routine. I know how to lose fat slowly and safely. And now I know that doing what most people do to gain muscle – eat in surplus – is going to build respectable muscle on me, too, but ONLY if I’m training really hard. I’m hoping the GVT protocol will do what the strong woman training did. I don’t like the 1:11 ratio, though, and I don’t think that’s common. But it’s how my body works. I need to follow my own coaching now – watch the calorie intake and add in a cardio or two a week. Growing muscle now is the primary goal. I am at a healthy weight (154#) and a healthy bodyfat percentage – 26%. That’s been my weight and bodyfat during the off season the last two years.
I’m going to say it again -gaining that much bone mass makes me VERY happy! Saw a stat somewhere that women can lose as much as 7% of their bone mass during the first year after menopause. Unless you’re a lifter.
I decided to make little videos of something I’m doing each day. I’m not sure if they are for me or for others. I learn a lot from watching my form, so these will be good records to use later for comparison.Let's connect! Follow me on social media: