Have I gained fat or muscle?!

A year ago I was 7st 12, now I am 8st1. All my measurements are exactly the same. In November I started going to the gym and doing a variety of exercises. My strength has increased (I can lift twice as much as I started). My diet has pretty much been the same but must admit my alcohol intake has increased! (Not to dangerous levels of course). I do have progress photos. They ALL look exactly the same. My stomach and arms look slightly more toned.

I'm quite certain my waist is half an inch larger but that could have been a miscalculation?

Also what would be the most accurate way to measure body fat? When I got it done by a personal trainer it read 15%. Two fat analysis websites said I was 16.6% and the other said 17%. My home scales say 20%. What gives?!

Replies

  • quiksylver296
    quiksylver296 Posts: 28,443 Member
    Go with your personal trainer's number. Cuz it's the awesomest. ;)
  • richardgavel
    richardgavel Posts: 1,001 Member
    The most accurate method is a Dexa scan. Problem is that won't answer your question because you don't have a baseline measurement to compare it with. Each type of measure has enough room for error that I would not compare the results.
  • charlireah
    charlireah Posts: 100 Member
    Go with your personal trainer's number. Cuz it's the awesomest. ;)

    I'd love to but everyone is telling me that can't be right because for a woman to be that low she must be shredded and I'm not shredded-just toned! Lol
  • L1zardQueen
    L1zardQueen Posts: 8,754 Member
    What does it matter then?
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    charlireah wrote: »
    Go with your personal trainer's number. Cuz it's the awesomest. ;)

    I'd love to but everyone is telling me that can't be right because for a woman to be that low she must be shredded and I'm not shredded-just toned! Lol

    That is true. 15% BF would be low for a female. How tall are you?
  • Luna3386
    Luna3386 Posts: 888 Member
    Low body fat could be shredded or just thin. As far as the weight gain, perhaps a bit of both. I know newbie gains is a thing but to actually build muscle I believe a calorie surplus is needed.
  • quiksylver296
    quiksylver296 Posts: 28,443 Member
    edited April 2017
    charlireah wrote: »
    Go with your personal trainer's number. Cuz it's the awesomest. ;)

    I'd love to but everyone is telling me that can't be right because for a woman to be that low she must be shredded and I'm not shredded-just toned! Lol

    Who cares? It's just a number. A number that has +/-10 percent variation (or more), based on what method is used to find it. Do you like how you look? Great. Not satisfied? Do the things that will get you to your visual goal.

    Your scale # is wrong, that is guaranteed.

    On-line predictors, that don't see or touch you, are likely wrong.

    Your personal trainer at least used calipers. That method is the most likely to be right, out of the ones you used.

    Dexa scan is the best option, as stated above, but costs $$$ and may not be available near you.
  • charlireah
    charlireah Posts: 100 Member
    Luna3386 wrote: »
    Low body fat could be shredded or just thin. As far as the weight gain, perhaps a bit of both. I know newbie gains is a thing but to actually build muscle I believe a calorie surplus is needed.

    Why would it be both if I have eaten the exact amount of calories? I have way upped my protein.
  • charlireah
    charlireah Posts: 100 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    charlireah wrote: »
    Go with your personal trainer's number. Cuz it's the awesomest. ;)

    I'd love to but everyone is telling me that can't be right because for a woman to be that low she must be shredded and I'm not shredded-just toned! Lol

    That is true. 15% BF would be low for a female. How tall are you?

    I am only 5ft 2
  • leajas1
    leajas1 Posts: 823 Member
    charlireah wrote: »
    Luna3386 wrote: »
    Low body fat could be shredded or just thin. As far as the weight gain, perhaps a bit of both. I know newbie gains is a thing but to actually build muscle I believe a calorie surplus is needed.

    Why would it be both if I have eaten the exact amount of calories? I have way upped my protein.

    ...and your alcohol intake, you said. If you've gained weight, then you've most likely been in a calorie surplus and have gained both muscle and fat. But, that's not a bad thing! There are plenty of us on here who have or who are trying to do this on purpose! If you like the way you look then enjoy!
  • charlireah
    charlireah Posts: 100 Member
    leajas1 wrote: »
    charlireah wrote: »
    Luna3386 wrote: »
    Low body fat could be shredded or just thin. As far as the weight gain, perhaps a bit of both. I know newbie gains is a thing but to actually build muscle I believe a calorie surplus is needed.

    Why would it be both if I have eaten the exact amount of calories? I have way upped my protein.

    ...and your alcohol intake, you said. If you've gained weight, then you've most likely been in a calorie surplus and have gained both muscle and fat. But, that's not a bad thing! There are plenty of us on here who have or who are trying to do this on purpose! If you like the way you look then enjoy!

    Thank you for your advice. Would you recommend restricting calories or maintaining what I'm doing? I plan on cutting down on alcohol haha!
  • leajas1
    leajas1 Posts: 823 Member
    If you're truly at 15% body fat you shouldn't cut anymore, as it could cause health issues. Where you go from here, though, would depend on your goals. If you want to build more muscle you could either recomp or bulk. And totally no judgement on the alcohol intake!! I just pointed that out because it adds calories ;)
  • charlireah
    charlireah Posts: 100 Member
    leajas1 wrote: »
    If you're truly at 15% body fat you shouldn't cut anymore, as it could cause health issues. Where you go from here, though, would depend on your goals. If you want to build more muscle you could either recomp or bulk. And totally no judgement on the alcohol intake!! I just pointed that out because it adds calories ;)

    I don't want to bulk. I am enjoying getting stronger and having more tone. I am happy with my body :) but I do religiously measure and weigh myself so when I see a fluctuation I want to fix the situation! I have never seen the scale go up :( so I panicked!
  • leajas1
    leajas1 Posts: 823 Member
    Meh, don't panic. It could be due to the extra calories from alcohol. If you go back to your old ways I'm sure it'll be fine ;)

  • jseams1234
    jseams1234 Posts: 1,215 Member
    edited April 2017
    Luna3386 wrote: »
    Low body fat could be shredded or just thin. As far as the weight gain, perhaps a bit of both. I know newbie gains is a thing but to actually build muscle I believe a calorie surplus is needed.

    You can be thin and "shredded" or thin but with a lot of fat. People call that "skinny-fat" and it's a real issue with a lot a lot of people. :wink:

    edit: oh - and "Finally, try to time your drinking. Research from Penn State shows that alcohol decreases protein synthesis by 15% to 20% after 24 hours, but not sooner. It may sound crazy, but having a few drinks on Friday night after training is better than having them on Saturday night (when your body is recovering)."
  • not_a_runner
    not_a_runner Posts: 1,343 Member
    I have a female friend who is supposedly 12-14% bf via Bod Pod I believe. She has very little muscle mass though, so despite having a very low bf % she doesn't have the "shredded" look a woman with more muscle would have at that bf.
    Honestly knowing the exact number isn't *that* important though..
    In her case, she needs to put on more muscle in order to look more "toned". (Hate that word but you know what I'm saying...)
    Since you don't want to bulk, I would look into recomp. But keep in mind the progress is going to be very slow. It sounds like you're headed in the right direction though!
    Other thoughts - what does your training routine look like? Getting stronger is a good sign, but if your goal is hypertrophy perhaps what you're doing isn't right for your goals? Are you getting adequate protein?
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,477 Member
    edited April 2017
    Posting pics for feedback may help.

    But going from this post and a couple of previous ones I would say you have gained a little fat. Maybe, possibly, best case 2 fat: 1muscle. (jmho)

    2-3 lbs spread over my body does not show on tape measurements, so it may not show on yours.
    I'm 5'1 and weigh 101lbs so little room to move.

    Cheers, h.
    ETA:3lbs water retention shows more for me than true fat. All belly and face.