Choosing to lose bodyweight and or fat is great, setting a specific goal for yourself is even better, but how do you measure your progress? The obvious answer here is to just step on a scale and look at the number it shows you. If that is your way of measuring, I have a question for you. What happens when you, your client or a friend drinks 2 full glasses of water before going to bed and weigh yourself in the morning? I can guarantee that you will be heavier than you actually are. Even worse, my goal is to lose fat but I am stepping on the scale to measure it. Even if the number on the scale is going down, what piece of information is telling me that it’s actually body fat that I am losing rather than muscle mass or water weight? It doesn’t, a scale can’t tell you that because it doesn’t factor in these different things.
The scale isn’t all bad, but it’s very far from being perfect. It will give you a very broad idea of where you’re or what progress you’re making. If we’re solely focused on the scale, we’re missing out on a lot of information that other measurements do take into consideration.
If the scale isn’t our ideal measuring tool, what is? There’s no such thing as a perfect measurement. For example, the most accurate way of measuring your body fat percentage is by ”Hydrostatic weighing”. Here you weigh yourself on land and while being fully submerged, because fat floats it will accurately measure this. However accurate this number is, it doesn’t actually measure your overall bodyweight including muscle mass and water weight. Besides, this is an expensive and technical way of measuring.
So, let me give you some options you can actually use without spending a lot of money. Keep in mind, none of these methods will accurately measure both, you will need to use multiple tests to measure both bodyweight and fat loss.
Skinfold calipers are one of the most accurate ways of measuring bodyfat. Essentially, you use these clippers to tape measure your body fat (picture down below). The problem with this measurement tool is that you have to be very accurate every time you perform this. Being off by a couple centimeters could make a big difference between progressing and disappointment.
Body circumference measurements
This measuring method is a little bit less accurate than the calipers method. With the circumference method you’re measuring the entire body part not just the skin/fat. With this measurement comes the risk of measuring increase or decrease in muscle mass. The good part about measuring this way is that literally anyone who has access to a tape measurement can do this. Make sure you’re as accurate as you can be every time you perform this.
Honestly, this is my favorite way to measure any sort of physical progress. Even if the number on the scale stays the same, who really cares when you look better in the mirror and feel better at the same time? Unless you’re really stuck on a number, I would highly recommend putting more stock into the way you feel and look.
Besides, it’s very hard for us to notice our physical progress because we see ourselves every single day. So, looking back to 6 weeks ago will give you a way better indication of where your body is going.
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