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  1. #1
    cmdace18 is offline Junior Member
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    Diet/Weight Loss: "Firm Fat" vs "Soft Fat"

    5'10"
    29 YO
    Athletic

    i've struggled with my weight for a number of years and was as high as 228lbs. My stomach area has always been an issue, every other area on my body has been muscular.

    Anyways, I lost 18lbs over the course of a year or so doing various workouts, and my fat around my stomach stayed the same in terms of firmness (love handles, lower abs, etc.).

    Starting this past Jan, I rev'd up my workouts, and been on a strict diet, and am working with a trainer and have gone from 210 down to 201 this morning. I'm doing tons of cardio, and strength training 3x week. The last few days I've noticed a huge difference around the lower part of my stomach and love handles as the fat is very soft (almost gross). This is obviously the fat breaking down. I've never had this soft fat persay.

    My question: Now that the fat is starting to loosen up, will it break down quicker then if it was firm? I'm assuming its the combination of foods and my workout program.

  2. #2
    maxwkw is offline Associate Member
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    I've lost a fair amount of fat over the course of the last few years. In my experience (not scientific, just what I noticed) My body would get very squishy, before it would melt away.

    It sounds like what you're doing is working. Good job, keep going.

  3. #3
    Damienm05's Avatar
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    ^^ same here. I could actually feel like "bubbles" in the fat it was so soft when I got to around 18% body fat in a short time after being close to 30% for a couple months. Nothing scientific but I believe it was just a combination of loose skin and the fat breaking down. Like you, at said 18% coming off my crash diet, my extremities and such were vascular and lean and it was all condensed around that area. Once it started to go, it went fast. I did have some loose skin for a while but time heals all wounds.

    Now, I have always wondered about soft fat vs. fat stored in a more flattering way. For example, when I did let myself go for a year and I got fat - I was jiggly. Meanwhile, I see some guys (mostly black - no racism intended) who are well over 30% but it seems to be well marbled in and solid - they actually have the look of someone who's much lower in terms of bf% despite having a gut that sticks out like mine never could.

    Really have never researched a scientific/genetic explanation. Just always wondered.

  4. #4
    gbrice75's Avatar
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    I'm very interested in this as well. I have a friend whose bodyfat is way higher then mine (he's easily 20%) but his fat looks 'hard', almost like it was meant to be there. One would say he 'carries it well'.

    I'm in the 13% range right now, yet i'm jiggly and soft. The only difference is he was a very thin guy who put on alot of fat (and muscle) in recent years, whereas up until 2 years ago, I was a fat fvck since I was about 18 (i'm 35 now).

  5. #5
    Damienm05's Avatar
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    See I always thought it was the opposite: I was thin my whole life and then let myself go during one year of undergrad when an injury kept me off the ice for an entire hockey season. I just smoked pot and ate to fill the void in my life and gained my weight so fast. Therefore, my logic was that because it was gained so quickly it was bound to look erroneous and not marbled in. As where had I been fat for most of my life, it would have been carried appropriately. I'm super interested now.

  6. #6
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    it would make sense that it gets soft and squishy as it disappears.. just think of a banana decomposing or something like that.. it breaks down before it disappears.. my uncle has a beer belly that is hard as my arms... i think it is genetics on how you carry it.. but would think it does get squishy/soft before it melts away.. looking forward to finding this out with myself

  7. #7
    gbrice75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damienm05 View Post
    See I always thought it was the opposite: I was thin my whole life and then let myself go during one year of undergrad when an injury kept me off the ice for an entire hockey season. I just smoked pot and ate to fill the void in my life and gained my weight so fast. Therefore, my logic was that because it was gained so quickly it was bound to look erroneous and not marbled in. As where had I been fat for most of my life, it would have been carried appropriately. I'm super interested now.
    LoL this definitely makes sense... this is getting very interesting! Great topic OP, now you've got everybody's wheels turning!

    Quote Originally Posted by MACHINE5150 View Post
    it would make sense that it gets soft and squishy as it disappears.. just think of a banana decomposing or something like that.. it breaks down before it disappears.. my uncle has a beer belly that is hard as my arms... i think it is genetics on how you carry it.. but would think it does get squishy/soft before it melts away.. looking forward to finding this out with myself
    See, and the banana analogy makes sense to me too! I definitely think genetics plays a role as with anything else. How you carry fat will very much be dictated by genetics.

  8. #8
    00ragincajun00's Avatar
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    i would think genetics plays the biggest role in this. both my mom and dad's sides of the families are big girthy people. we all carry our fat in certain parts. i have been a chunky kid my whole life. heaviest was probably 12 years ago in high school at 230. now i am down to 190 but still have fat that needs to be taking care of. the banana hypothesis is a pretty good one. i will be following this thread.

  9. #9
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    Between 11-14% I'm the same. Lower abs and love handles squishy and wobbly. If I squeeze it beteen my thumb and fingers I can almost 'feel' the individual fat cells. I know that below 11% this squishiness goes away. A good reason to get that bodyfat down to single digits.

    btw I was really skinny growing up, let myself go between ages of 30-35 and then got back in shape over the last 5 years.

  10. #10
    FireGuy's Avatar
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    This is all very true, at higher bodyfat levels the fat is compact and very dense. When it begins to break down it becomes much softer and "squishy". This is one of the main reasons why calipers dont work well with people over a certain fat %. Many time the fat is so dense you cant pull it away from the skin to get an accurate caliper reading. What happens quite often is as these people get leaner the fat breaks down and you can finally pull the fat away and get a reading. Unfortunately many times this reading jumps dramatically making it appear the subject has put on bodyfat instead of losing it. In reality they were too fat in the beginning to measure it with a caliper. This is why I always caution these people (men) who are in that 20-30% range who say "my 3pt caliper reading said 16%". Then they drop 20 lbs and get a caliper reading of 17%.

  11. #11
    gbrice75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireGuy View Post
    This is all very true, at higher bodyfat levels the fat is compact and very dense. When it begins to break down it becomes much softer and "squishy". This is one of the main reasons why calipers dont work well with people over a certain fat %. Many time the fat is so dense you cant pull it away from the skin to get an accurate caliper reading. What happens quite often is as these people get leaner the fat breaks down and you can finally pull the fat away and get a reading. Unfortunately many times this reading jumps dramatically making it appear the subject has put on bodyfat instead of losing it. In reality they were too fat in the beginning to measure it with a caliper. This is why I always caution these people (men) who are in that 20-30% range who say "my 3pt caliper reading said 16%". Then they drop 20 lbs and get a caliper reading of 17%.
    I've seen you say this many times before FG (about readings being very difficult/inaccurate at a higher BF%). It makes perfect sense and reinforces what I see with myself vs. my friend whose sitting around 20%.

  12. #12
    cmdace18 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireGuy View Post
    This is all very true, at higher bodyfat levels the fat is compact and very dense. When it begins to break down it becomes much softer and "squishy". This is one of the main reasons why calipers dont work well with people over a certain fat %. Many time the fat is so dense you cant pull it away from the skin to get an accurate caliper reading. What happens quite often is as these people get leaner the fat breaks down and you can finally pull the fat away and get a reading. Unfortunately many times this reading jumps dramatically making it appear the subject has put on bodyfat instead of losing it. In reality they were too fat in the beginning to measure it with a caliper. This is why I always caution these people (men) who are in that 20-30% range who say "my 3pt caliper reading said 16%". Then they drop 20 lbs and get a caliper reading of 17%.
    This is exactly where I was headed with this thread. The caliper readings (in my opinion) are an awful indicator of true BF%. In my case, if someone were to pinch my lovehandles, they would be getting loose skin and therefore throw off the entire reading. The caliper doesn't know the difference between skin and fat, it's just measuring the blob!
    I know BF scales are even worse - what's the BEST way to get body fat %? Eye test? Hmm...

    Thanks for the feedback, I think its an interesting topic.

  13. #13
    FireGuy's Avatar
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    ^^When your skin is loose the caliper reading is very accurate, all that "stuff" between your fingers is bodyfat. It's when the fat is so thick it wont pull away from the skin the caliper wont work. When you say the caliper doesnt know the difference between skin and fat I am not sure what that means? Everyones skin is nearly identical in it's thickness. What matters is the person doing the calipers knows where to pinch and how to pinch.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireGuy View Post
    This is all very true, at higher bodyfat levels the fat is compact and very dense. When it begins to break down it becomes much softer and "squishy". This is one of the main reasons why calipers dont work well with people over a certain fat %. Many time the fat is so dense you cant pull it away from the skin to get an accurate caliper reading. What happens quite often is as these people get leaner the fat breaks down and you can finally pull the fat away and get a reading. Unfortunately many times this reading jumps dramatically making it appear the subject has put on bodyfat instead of losing it. In reality they were too fat in the beginning to measure it with a caliper. This is why I always caution these people (men) who are in that 20-30% range who say "my 3pt caliper reading said 16%". Then they drop 20 lbs and get a caliper reading of 17%.

    Yes...all so true. This was what I was getting at in 11Ways thread regarding bodyfat. My bf is typically higher than other girls....even if same weight and height. And, we'll look different...slightly.

    When dieting...and its starts to break down...my trainers will pinch in places and feel each time i visit. They can assess what changes are needed just from that.

  15. #15
    FireGuy's Avatar
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    ^^Exactly, even if the calipers are off 1-2% points they are extremely consistent and will tell you whether or not you are losing subq fat or not.
    cmdace18, read here for more info,
    http://forums.steroid.com/showthread...Site-Body-Comp

  16. #16
    00ragincajun00's Avatar
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    just wanted to bump this thread. i have been losing weight slowly and can tell that the fat on my body is getting 'softer', especially is the spare tire department.

  17. #17
    SlimmerMe's Avatar
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    Very interesting....so then I ask this:

    Scenario 1: Lose 30 pounds over 6 months
    Scenario 2: Lose 30 pounds over 9 months

    Will that 30 pound weight loss turn to flabby skin no matter what the time frame? or logically less flabby over a longer period of time? or does it really matter?

  18. #18
    cmdace18 is offline Junior Member
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    i'm experiencing this first hand slimmer. i think time has nothing to do with less flab vs more flab unless you STOP working out all together. i can almost feel the fat marbles on the lower part of my stomach, and i think if i were to stop working out, the marbles would lump together and therefore the skin would become "firm". the longer you take to lose the 30 lbs, the longer it will take until you see the flabby skin. the flabby skin is almost a good thing; this means youve lost the fat!

    my questions is that after being somewhat over-weight (no huge stretch marks when i was fat), does the skin around the bottom stomach area ever tighten? im working out like an animal, top 6 abs are looking good, just need to burn off the bottom. "it's the last to go" so i hear ....

  19. #19
    MJRuff01 is offline Junior Member
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    If you have what you call "firm fat" it is representative of a high amount of visceral fat. That is fat deposits around organs and such. This is a more dangerous type of fat from a health perspective. So what happens is that you will lose weight, then the fat on your belly will start to feel softer but generally you look the same shape in the mirror. You will notice though if you have been keeping measurements that your wasteline will have gotten smaller even though the outward appearance is the same.

    Nothing to worry about and once your visceral fat has been consumed, your fat in your skin layers will be next.

  20. #20
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    This phenomenon has been true for me as well. I think it's the main reason I was discouraged every time I would try to cut. Even though I would get leaner (12%), I felt fatter because of the soft fat, whereas when I was heavier (15%) I was more marbled. I have known other people (guys and girls) that struggle with this emotionally difficult phase of fat loss as well. Decided a few months ago to lose it all (sub 10%) once and for all. So I have been going through this lately. Just as difficult emotionally for me is the loose clothes, small feeling I get as I get leaner. I take pictures every few weeks which help remind me that I actually am progressing and look better than when I was at a higher bf%.

  21. #21
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    Great timing on this thread. I have been noticing lately that my fat is softer. I have consistently lost fat over the past six months and hold it all on my chest and waist. It is all getting droopier and...spongier.

    I wish I would have taken pictures along the way so I can compare. Sometimes I feel like nothing is changing (body image issues) until I get dressed and remember how differently they are fitting.

  22. #22
    FireGuy's Avatar
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    Losing bodyfat is often a harsh reality check for many people. Once they get the bodyfat down to where they are truly lean there often isnt nearly as much muscle as they assumed there would be.

  23. #23
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    LOL, Ive been noticing the same thing with my belly fat. Ive always been lean but with some love handles and belly fat. This is the first time Ive ever done a true cutting diet and I'm getting soft to. Not sure what my BF is, but if I cough I notice my obliques and much more definition in my upper abs.

  24. #24
    SlimmerMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireGuy View Post
    Losing bodyfat is often a harsh reality check for many people. Once they get the bodyfat down to where they are truly lean there often isnt nearly as much muscle as they assumed there would be.
    hmmmmmmm.....SURPRISE!!! ! LOL!

  25. #25
    dirtybrd's Avatar
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    ^^^true!!!!

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