T Nation

Office Body Comp Challenge Questions

Hey all,

I am a long time T-Nation member, and I am looking for a little advice regarding a physical fitness challenge at my office.

I started working at this job this spring, and apparently in the past they would always do a weight loss challenge in January (new years resolutions). Over 30 people participated last year and went as far as spitting in cups to lose weight before weigh-ins! I think the winner lost 18 pounds in a month and a half!

Now here is where my question comes into play. Everyone in my group is pretty healthy and slim as it is a young and relatively active deptartment. Last year the only criteria was pure weight loss with no specifics on what kind of weight was lost (i.e. “The Biggest Loser”). This may not be a bad idea for a morbidly obese collection of slobs, but the people I am working with are not. I have created a system which I think would be much better to work with and I wanted to get your feedback on the design and if anyone here has done anything like this in the past.

Initially, I would begin with a weigh-in and body fat % test. Over the course of 1.5 months, points are accumulated as follows:

Lean body mass will be calculated at day 1, and at day 45 based on weight and body fat %. This way if a subject loses 10 lbs of fat and gains 2 lbs. of muscle, they will not be penalized for muscle gained, this also allows the more physically fit to be involved! Lets face it, not everyone’s fitness goals revolve around weight loss!

I am thinking a points based system which will award 1 point for a lb. of fat lost, and 1 point for a lb. of muscle gained.

The main issue that I am running into is this: What is the best way to get a Relatively accurate BF% off of 20+ people that it would not really be proper to strip down and start pinching. Also hydrostatic testing is not really an option here. I think Calipers and a simple 7-point system would work, and I am okay with a ± of 2% or so. Thoughts?

looks good.

The only issue is that an electrostim test would be innaccurate and easy to cheat. At the least, you would need a 3 point caliper pinch test. Otherwise, those that are smart enough could cheat the test by just manipulating water intake.

Good idea, use calipers.

talk to the company’s counsel before pinching the ladies. Just sayin…

or you could combine that for the biggest lean muscle gains

I’d give 1 point for a pound of fat lost and 2 points for a pound of muscle gained. Much harder to gain muscle, especially if you’re already in decent shape.

[quote]SetItOnFire wrote:
…went as far as spitting in cups to lose weight before weigh-ins![/quote]

honestly? i can feel a mail-order weightloss program coming on. now where did i put that pamphlet on making your own info-mercials?

I just ordered an Accumeasure set of Calipers, I think a 7-point seems like it would work relatively well. Diomede- gonna have to trust the ladies to pinch themselves, unless they ask nicely…

I had considered doing 2 points for a pound of muscle gained, and maybe having a male and female class would work so that the guys wont have a huge advantage.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
I’d give 1 point for a pound of fat lost and 2 points for a pound of muscle gained. Much harder to gain muscle, especially if you’re already in decent shape.[/quote]

Definitely more points for muscle, although I think 1.5 points per lb. is probably a bit more equitable with beginners both male and female. In terms of experience levels, no matter how you cut it the more advanced you are, the less chance you’ll have against some newb able to put muscle on while losing fat. Women also don’t build muscle like the dudes, so you can’t favour LBM too heavily.

I’d also penalize fat gain and muscle loss by their respective amounts as well. Maybe that was already assumed, but if you reward LBM gains more strongly without penalizing fat gains, then contestants might be left with a bad feeling if someone who got thicker and more pudgy than them won, while everyone who got ‘toned down’ and healthier looking lost.

At any rate, here’s a point break down of what I think are reasonably good results using my suggestions, just to give you an idea of how it might play out:

-20 fat / -3.3 LBM = 15.05 pts.
-15 fat / 0 LBM = 15 pts.
-10 fat / 3.3 LBM = 14.95 pts.
-5 fat / 6.7 LBM = 15.05 pts.
0 fat / 10 LBM = 15 pts.
5 fat / 13.3 LBM = 14.95 pts.

Just a thought.