December 30, 2006
I am back in Dallas for Christmas.
Part of my Christmas present from my sister is a body fat test (next year, I get to do a stress test).
I have had body fat measured in a bunch of different ways:
*calipers – got a reading of 18%
*handheld electronic machine – got a reading of 9%
*body fat scale – got a reading of 16%
The method used at the Cooper Clinic is the submersion version.
I strip down naked and get into a hot tub of sorts (in other words, the water is pleasantly warm). I need to be fully submerged and sitting in a “deck chair” scale. I have some problems with this, because sitting in the chair regularly (which is probably standard, my feet are touching the bottom. No good.
Then, I try sitting cross legged, but my knees are hitting the sides of the pool.
We finally find a position where I am only on the chair (very awkward) and I find it almost impossible to stay submerged, blow out all my air and stay under long enough for them to get a reading. They finally get a couple of readings of 23%. Afterwards, they do the caliper test and get a reading of 21%.
I don’t really trust the caliper test because it is a measurement of averages. They measure your belly, your lower back and your thigh… but if you’ve seen me, my legs are a large part of my body, and for the most part, not a bit of fat on them. I don’t think you can use the same averages as someone who has shorter legs and a large frame (I have a small frame – yes, small and 6’6″).
I did manage to do a couple of practice stress tests on the treadmills at the Cooper Gym. The stress test is walking on a treadmill at 3.3 mph (about 18:00/mile) at 1% grade. Every minute, they increase the grade by 1% until they reach a maximum of 25%. You cannot hold on, and probably every 3-5 minutes they are taking your blood pressure and electrodes are attached as well. It’s awkward. If you make the maximum grade, then they start increasing the speed by 0.3 mph every minute until you just about collapse. I think my sister may have gone for 37 minutes, which is very very good.
There are treadmills at the gym that go up to 50%. At about 30%, you HAVE to hang on, because it is too steep. What I didn’t realize is that you have to have a “key” in to pass 25% (and it kept falling out on the angle), so it kept stopping before I could get a decent reading. I will have to wait until next year to see how I can do for real.
My sister runs with a club in Dallas (maybe more like a team), but there are several clubs in the area that do multiple monthly races. As far as I can tell, the Plano Pacers never do runs together… unless they are races. Basically, your membership is discounted races.
I do their 8K (5M) run in Schimmelpfennig Park by the Plano Senior Center. My parents come out and stay inside the warm car until I am done.
For some reason, the park asphalt surface feels too solid on to me or knee busting. I just do my best to stay with people I think I would be competing with (I’m a terrible gauge on how old people are.).
Even with a small race, they give out trophies to the top 3 in every age group, and they even have a Clydesdale Category (190+ pounds). My time of 36:38 is good enough for 1st in the Clydesdale category (I’m probably the lightest, at 205 pounds), but wouldn’t have been more than 6th in M35-39.
This group has at least two races a month, so next time I am in Dallas to visit, I will run with them again (race was $10).