How to calculate muscle loss or gain

By keeping track of changes in your weight, body fat, and lean mass over time, you can determine if you've lost, maintained, or gained muscle. This information will reveal whether your exercise and diet program is working or if you've hit a plateau and need to make changes.

To determine changes in body composition over time, you simply subtract your previous weight, body fat, and lean mass from your current weight, body fat, and lean mass. You record this information on your progress chart and then decide what changes, if any, need to be made to your program.


Week one: weight: 194 lbs body fat: 21.1% fat weight: 40.9 lbs. lean mass: 153.1 lbs.

Week two: weight: 192 lbs. body fat: 20.5% fat weight: 39.3lbs. lean mass: 152.7 lbs.

change in weight: -2 lbs. change in body fat: -.6% change in fat weight: -1.6 lbs. change in lean mass: - .4 lbs.

In this example, our subject has lost two pounds in one week. By taking a body fat measurement, we can see that 1.6 pounds of the weight loss came from fat, and .4 pounds came from lean body mass.

These results are very typical. They're not bad, but not perfect either because .4 pounds of lean mass was lost. It's very difficult to lose more than 1.0 - 1.5 pounds per week without losing some lean body mass. Seeing the numbers makes the case for slow weight loss even more clear.

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