I am done with the third full week of the program, and this time there is a most interesting development..!
At first sight this looked like another miserable result. That is, I put on a bit more weight, but my circumference (stomach) also grew. Again it looked very much like all the gain was fat.
But that is not, it seems, the real story.
First things first. This week I lifted these weights, all of which indicate good progress (the percentages indicate total change since I started):
A1 - 7 reps at 40 kg (+60%)
A2 - 6 reps at 2 x 12 kg dumbbells (+140%)
B1 - 7 reps at 2 x 16 kg dumbbells (+60%)
B2 - 10 reps at 40 kg (+23%)
On the diet front, I continued with the milk, but cut down on wine, added Cissus, and converted to my new unflavoured protein.
Now, results. My own measurements show a slight weight gain and some slight size gains. I am up another pound this week (half a kilogram). Unfortunately, once again the clearest size gain applies to my stomach area. The circumference at navel has increased at a perfectly steady rate of one centimetre per week, three weeks in a row. No other body part has grown that much.
When once again I plugged the details into the Navy formula for body fat percentage approximation, it looked like I had gained almost one full percent of bodyfat just since last week.
Actually, based on this method, it looked like the entire weight gain since I started on the protocol, has been fat gain, increasing my bodyfat from 17% to 19%.
This was all starting to look very bad indeed. I felt despair. I was lost.
But then... everything changed.
Until now I have been looking at circumference at navel as an indicator of body fat, as indeed Tim suggests. The Navy method is also mostly depending on this single measure for estimating bodyfat.
Yesterday, however, I also went back to have my bodyfat measured in a different way, namely, by the same 12-point caliper test as I have used before. Actually it is the Poliquin Biometric Modulation, which is kind of overkill for this purpose, but I feel it is very reliable.
This test shows a completely different picture. Compared with one month ago (same test, same practitioner), it looks like my bodyfat percentage has been perfectly stable (at 16%). None of the skinfold readings have changed significantly, except I have lost a lot of fat from my chest area. According to this method, almost all my weight gain has been muscle.
That was a pleasant surprise. Suddenly it looks like the protocol works for me after all..!
Totally during the three and a half weeks of Occam's, I have gained 3 kilograms (7 pounds), almost all of which I now believe is lean mass (6 pounds).
So I am feeling much more confident now:
It does leave a big question, though. What is the reason my stomach keeps expanding? I suspect it is the same reason that I have been feeling a bit sick for much of this time. There must be something in my diet or habits that is blowing up the tummy. I now need to find out what the reason might be – hopefully it is something easy to fix.
The list of candidates is fairly short. It could be ALA, creatine, glutamine, etc. I will stick to Tim's philosophy of changing only one or two items at a time, until I find out. In the first instance I will continue with milk, but will stop taking creatine and glutamine. If you have any other ideas about this issue, please let me know...
Thanks for all the encouragement so far. I will now be travelling for the next two weeks, hence will probably not be able to follow the program with the same regularity. But I will stick to the principles as much as possible, and get back to it properly in due course..!