T Nation

Fat or muscle?

I have been on a bulking phase for about 2 months now and have gained about 10 to 12 pounds. What I was wondering is, is there any way to tell what has been gained in fat and what has been gained in muscle? I can tell you that I have gained a half inch to an inch in my waist depending on the time of day and my calipers show that I have added 1mm on my waist. I also took tape measurements on different parts of my body and the only one that has changed is my thighs are close to 1 inch bigger. Any info. would be appreciated.

Man those are really great results. You’ve gained 10-12 lbs of muscle with hardly any increase in bodyfat at all. I would guess that you’ve only put on somewhere between 1.0-1.5 lbs of fat. I know for me an inch on the waist is worth about 3 lbs of fat but i would guess a lot of your waist increase is water retention due to the skinfold measurement only increasing by 1mm. Next time you want to get your bodyfat measurements taken before you bulk so you can be more precise.

You have to check and monitor your body composition; that is, your ration of muscle to fat or body fat percentage. At this stage, if you haven’t done so, it will be difficult to tell whether you’ve gained primarily fat or LBM.

Of course, it is never too late to begin tracking your progress by way of body comp. There are several ways to do this, which can be found in the "Body Composition..." articles, parts 1 and 2, by Jason Norcross in the past few issues of T-mag. Once you choose a method, it's a matter of being consistent. Checking your body comp the same day every week at the same time (ie Monday, 9am, after you take your morning wee wee) will help you get more accurate readings. Go read the articles, and good luck. I'm sure Jason will post more on this. Hope this helps.

It is a guessing game unless you took body comp measurements or at least some pictures before you started as a reference point.

If you know what you weighed and what your caliper measurements were when you began, you can estimate what your Fat-Free mass was; if you know what you weigh and what your caliper measurements are now, you can estimate what your fat-ree mass currently is. Subtract the former from that latter and you have a rough idea of how much fat-free mass you’ve added. Not all of that will be muscle (some will be water), but some of it will. Total weight gained minus fat-free mass gained equals fat gained. I believe Jason Norcross’ recent two-part bodyfat measurement article discusses this and related topics.