In July/August, I participated in a Whole30 challenge (read about it here and here). I had good success (numbers went down) and I definitely felt better. So when Composition ID announced Whole30 Round 2, I immediately signed up.
Round 2 will commence this Sunday, October 22 and go through Monday, November 20. 30 days of focused eating. Like last time, you get a before and after DEXA scan. So I went this past Saturday for my Round 2 “before” DEXA scan.
My before scan showed that since the end of Round 1, I have gained a few pounds. But . . . the pounds I gained were all lean muscle mass.
Let me back up a bit.
Prior to starting Round 1, the only exercise I did was walk. Now don’t get me wrong, walking is an excellent form of exercise. It benefits your cardiovascular system, helps prevent and manage various conditions, strengths bones, and just generally improves your mood. But when you want to see bigger decreases in body fat and overall weight, you need to combine cardio with strength exercises (check out the Mayo Clinic’s fitness recommendations here).
In Round 1, I started having more energy and feeling better around week 2. As a result, I started doing some basic strength exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc.). Nothing insane. Nothing fancy. Just 10-15 minutes 3-days a week at home with my 5-pound weights. And then as an added bonus, I did a 10-minute nighttime yoga routine. Obviously, all that helped me achieve the success I had during Round 1.
But it also got me motivated to go to the next level.
After completing Round 1, I stayed with my basic, at-home, strength routine. And surprise, surprise, I got better at each exercise. Suddenly, I was doing 10 full-plank push-ups (I started with the modified push-ups where you’re on the knees). And my 5-pound weights seemed light and rather easy to lift.
In mid-September, I moved from working out at home to working out at the gym. (I’m lucky that my work has a small corporate-style gym. It’s nothing fancy, but it has a complete set of free weights, some benches, and various strength and cardio machines—just perfect for my purposes.) I go 2-3 days a week and do about a 30-minute workout.
I’ve been doing this consistently for over a month and it showed in my most recent DEXA scan. While the scale showed my weight went up a couple pounds since the end of Round 1, the DEXA scan showed that the weight gain was all lean muscle mass.
It just goes to show that the typical bathroom scale does not show the full picture. And it certainly isn’t a reliable measure for overall health.
Had I just relied on what the scale told me, I would have been disappointed and maybe even demotivated. I mean, what’s the point of working out when the number on the scale goes up? But you have to remember that lean muscle is denser than fat, AND the more lean muscle you have, the more efficiently your body works.
More importantly, I have felt better since Round 1. I have a better appreciation for whole, healthy food options. In fact, I’ve noticed that foods which are fried, overly-processed, or high in sugar all bother me. I feel sluggish or not-quite-right, which has
forced encouraged me to make better food choices.
With a consistent strength training workout combined with my daily walks (my fitbit currently shows I average about 12,000 steps per day), I hope and my goal is to have even better results at the end of Whole30 Round 2.
The female winner of Round 1 lost an impressive 4.2% body fat and the male winner lost 4.7%. So a 4% body fat loss is my goal for Round 2—that’s double what I did in Round 1. It will be tough, but I
think know I can do it. Besides, who doesn’t love a competition where losing means you’re a winner. That’s my kind of competition!
Have you tried Whole30? Share your results in the comments below. Or JOIN ME in this Whole30 Challenge! Document your month doing Whole30, contact me to let me know you want to share your Whole30 story, and you can be featured in my post-Whole30 Round 2!