Early 2011 on the left and my recent vacation photo on the right.  Not sure percentage on left but I now am at 30%.

Early 2011 on the left and my recent vacation photo on the right. Not sure percentage on left but I now am at 30%. 56 inch waist on the left and 44 on the right.  I am starting to develop some noticeable quads.

When I started this journey, way back in April of 2012 and a few years earlier I had reached my heaviest weight, 365 pounds and was in the worst shape.  I had never been an athlete and rarely would the concept of athletics ever come up, unless it involved television or video games. Back then I fought to catch a breath walking the trash to the curb or getting the mail, I could not swim and I vowed to never get on a bike.  If you have followed this blog for a bit you will know April 2012 all that changed and by the end of the year I completed not one but three 5ks.  The following year I completed numerous 5ks, a 10k, 15k and several other short distance races as well as three sprint distance triathlons.  The big achievement was my first half marathon at the end of the year.  Throughout this period I started to loose weight and by the beginning of this year the scale was reading closer to 290-295, dropping from a 56 inch pant waist to a 50 inch pant waist. For the first couple of months of this year frustration set in, as I saw my waist slowly reduce and my leg size increase, yet the scale stayed the same.  I know muscle is denser than fat and thus its volume weighs more.  By the time I got to June I was wearing a slightly tight 44 inch pant waist and still weight 290 pounds.  I decided I need a way to quantify how much fat and muscle my body currently contained and remove my reliance on the scale. Enter water dunk testing or Hydrostatic Weighing often referred to a water dunk testing. The basic idea behind Hydrostatic Weighing involves the fact that fat is less dense than muscle and thus you can weigh a person submerged in a body of water and get the weight of their musculature without their fat.  This gives a more reliable means of determining weight loss progress as the body gets leaner, especially in athletes who are very active and might have an abundant amount of muscle mass compared to fat mass.


A simple dunk tub, not the company I use, but the same setup.

A simple dunk tub, not the company I use, but the same setup.

When getting tested you are asked to wear a tight pair of shorts.  Then the technician takes your body weight on a regular scale and then you gt into the dunk tank.  There are a few tanks that have different setups, but the concept is the same, you get into water and onto a scale.  Then you plunge your head into the water and exhale as much air as possible while the technician gets your muscle weight.  This is done a couple of times and then you are done and you just have to wait for the results.  Pretty simple actually.

Comparative results.

Comparative results.

I had my first test done in June and at the time I kept the results to myself til I could get another test done a month or two later.    Yesterday I got my second test done in two months.  I knew I had been loosing some weight but I wanted to get an idea how much fat I had lost and I wanted to verify that I had not lost too much muscle.  Overall I lost 2.4 percent body fat in the month and a half between dunk tests.  The 29% goal did not mean much at the time as it needs multiple tests to get an idea for how fast you can loose weight.   I was amazed and pleased to see I had not only lost weight (there is usually a 2-3 pound difference between my home scale and her doctors scale) but I retained all but 3 pounds of my lean muscle mass and I lost body  fat.

The Nitty Gritty

  •  The 3 pounds of lean mass lost supposedly is not a huge deal at this point as I was told it was an acceptable limit.
  • 2.4 Percent body fat lost – 11.8 pounds of fat lost
  • 15 pounds of raw weight dropped

Not too bad for two months.  Of course this is a result of carefully watching my calories and keeping them in control.  Some days I have worked to keep my caloric deficit below 1000 and others I had to work to keep the caloric deficit from going over 1000.  It was a struggle.  Other changes I have made include changing my breakfast from a bagel and protein shake to a protein nut bar and some raw nuts.  Additionally I have worked to make snacking healthier by choosing better alternatives such as fruits and vegetables and nuts.  Of course I am not a food saint, but obviously making smarter choices most of the time is paying off.  I am working hard currenlty to reduce my weight to hopefully give myself a better ultra marathon race experience in November.   Not bad results for my first comparative result sets.  Time to get back to work and keep my eyes on my end goal. Til next time.



  1. Aaron, very impressive results.
    I’m glad to hear that you still have the desire to keep going. For so many people they hit a plateau, get frustrated and go back to pizza and beer before bed.
    Exercise and smart eating is the best way to do this. To do what you have down with only diet or exercise would have taken much longer and been much more difficult.
    I have no doubt that with your positive attitude, you will hit your goal and NEVER go back!
    Cheers – Andy

    1. I think the important thing is that weight for me is a piece of a larger picture. To get faster I need to be leaner and if I really want to be a better athlete then I need to take all aspects of my training seriously including food. I was so stuck at 290 for so long it was crazy, but i stuck with it and felt stronger and it paid off. Thanks for the encouragement my friend.

  2. Is the hydrostatic testing really expensive? I’ve been considering something like that.

    1. It all depends on the company. On average I think its 40-60 dollars. My first test was done at packet pickup of a triathlon and they took ten dollars off the usual 50$. The third one and I think all after is done for 30$. I am planning to do monthly but to cut cost you could try every other month instead and still be able to get an idea of your progress and set your goals. Hope this helps.

  3. So impressive! Congrats on your progress.

  4. Aaron, well done on the journey I’ve had a similar journey and my reliance on the scales and the numbers are still a constant battle. I’ve been looking at body fat analysis and I might see if any companies ofer the dunk test here as that would be useful for me to track progress. Keep it up and well done again on your achievement to date.

  5. Fantastic progress keep it going

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