6 Month Progress and Lean Body Mass Conservation

Roza42 Posts: 246 Member
In the last 6 months I have lost 24 lbs and an estimated 6.8% body fat. It would seem that the loss was primarily body fat and my LBM was conserved. I am 5'6", 41% BF and 244 lbs and my short term goal is 200 lbs or 30% BF. But from what I have read I might have to revise my goals lower once I get there.

Are there any tools or rules of thumb to estimate how much LBM I might expect to lose with 40 lbs, 60 lbs, or 80 lbs?


  • _benjammin
    _benjammin Posts: 1,224 Member
    Congrats on your loss. The only rule of thumb to preserve LBM is take it slow, eat plenty of protein ("plenty" has a few definitions) and follow a "tried and true" progressive overload routine with appropriate recovery and deloads.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
    Never seen any.

    When carrying around less fat - you need less blood volume - there goes LBM you don't need. Easily be a couple pounds.

    But if doing more cardio, you'll increase LBM. Could be offset.

    When doing more cardio too, you'll increase stores of glucose in muscles - more LBM from the attached water.

    But when carrying around less mass, need less in muscles for endurance because aerobic capacity is also improving - less LBM than.

    There are trade-offs all over the place depending if you are staring exercise at the same time, what type of exercise, if active already with extra mass being carried around, or really a couch potato.

    Remember - LBM is everything that is NOT fat, happens to include muscle, and bunch more.

    You could easily lose LBM and no muscle mass.

    You can also lose muscle mass and not LBM.
  • taco_inspector
    taco_inspector Posts: 7,223 Member
    edited September 2015
    Roza42 wrote: »
    .... Are there any tools or rules of thumb to estimate how much LBM I might expect to lose with 40 lbs, 60 lbs, or 80 lbs?

    This is a fantastic question, and in my early research, I found nothing to support that there was a guideline for LMB variation along with generalized weight-loss.

    My situation is VERY dissimilar from yours, but my focus is on a similar goal of ~25% fat (male) at 215lbs coming from 37% fat at 278lbs.

    Basically, I knew that my starting LBM was 175lbs and that my target is LBM=161lbs, but couldn't find how to assure that I lost only 14lbs of LBM as I dropped a whopping 50lbs of "non-lean" body. My path lead me to use a 7-site caliper measure to regularly approximate fat so that I could watch LBM as I moved along, and try to "adjust" that loss path to avoid the skinny-fat situation as best I could.

    About all I can say is that I've not found loss ratios (Fat/total-weight) to be linear at all, but I've been kinda "OK" at leveraging the "newbie-gains" phenomenon at a few points along the way to help manage the crash of my LBM. (I do see some linearity in a function of BodyWeight^2 ÷ FatWeight as I'm losing, but this is far from being a constant)

    In my scenario, today, I'm still about 10-lbs above my overall weight target, and about 25-lbs over my fat target. I'm shifting my philosophy/strategy to viewing my current weight-loss trend as a "cut". By adopting this approach, I will "cut" to about 190-lbs overall (a 'normal' BMI value) where my fat weight should be about 55lbs (on the trend I'm seeing these past few weeks). At 190, I'll be 3-lbs over fat and 25-lbs under overall; as I reach this weight, I'll increase calories and exercise in progressive overload protocols to transition into a 'recomp' (steady weight) frequently testing my LBM & Fat response in recomp before transitioning to a more conventional lean 'bulk' with the hopes of more correctly approaching my 215 goal as fat@54lbs & LBM@161lbs (the 190-to-215 recomp/rebuild will take a damned long time, but focusing on LBM would leave me waaay to fat & heavy)

    • I couldn't find science to develop the correlation.
    • I found it better to monitor and adjust along the way focusing on a target fat weight