Measurements can be very helpful.
Growing up you go to the Dr. They check your height and weight, they record it. So it is only natural that as we develop we think that stepping on the scale is one of the best form of measurement for our health, right?
Adults love to assess changes in their body, especially when your hoping to see changes resulting from proper eating and exercise. Unfortunately, however, body weight measurement can be misleading.
Compare two people:
One person loses 20 lbs of fat and gains 20 lbs of lean mass from a new training and nutrition program. They step on the scale after all this hard work and what do you think would happen emotionally? They feel flustered right? Their body weight didn’t change one ounce, but their body composition shifts dramatically, and they LOOK significantly different. They have improved their health for the better, but that number on the scale does not show any change.
A second person loses 20 lbs, but all that weight loss is lean mass. The scale shows a 20 lb loss, they might feel accomplishment. Only they do not look as good and they feel weak and have lost a lot of strength and definition.
As you can see, scale weight doesn’t tell you much about your body composition.
Let’s take a look at other Measurements.
Recommended Body Fat Measurements:
At Conca Sport and Fitness as part of our assessment we use a machine called the Bioelectrical impedance analysis. It is based on the electrical conductivity of body tissues. BIA device sends an imperceptible electrical current through the body to estimate the amount of lean body mass and fat mass (as well as total water mass) this machine is very different than “body fat scales” you can buy in the store, even the super expensive high tech ones that sync to your phone are not nearly as accurate as getting a BIA done professionally.
Another type of measurement that can be incredibly helpful is Girth measurements. This one can be done at home. Pick up a good measuring tape, one that is flexible. Choose the parts of the body to record. The most common areas would be neck, chest, upper arm, abs/natural waist, waist/around the belly button, hip, thigh and calf. If a girth measurement increases or decreases, you can use that information towards your goals you are working on. Are you trying to build muscle and make your arms bigger or waist smaller this is a great option for tracking progress.
Take photographs, and take them about once a month during your journey. They are your private photos so wear what you feel most comfortable, but I recommend taking progress photos using the exact same clothes as well as the same background and lighting. You can have someone else take your photos or you can use the timer function that most cell phones have. Wearing a bathing suit or board shorts or even workout clothes would be best. Try to avoid anything that is too baggy, though if you are looking to lose BF% those tighter fitting exercise clothes may just become baggy as you progress.
Let’s take a look at another example when it comes to measurements
Your best friend had been making some great improvements towards better health, started working on improving little habits with nutrition week after week, also picked up training a few times a week. Your best friend says they they feel great, and in 8 week the BIA showed a 5% decrease in body fat, also reduced waist circumference by 3 inches.
Fantastic results right?
You and I might see that and want to celebrate if it was us. Your best friend responds “Yeah, I know the numbers have changed, but I don’t feel like I LOOK any different.” Some people like numbers, some people like to SEE a difference so that is where photos come into play. Say your friend trained at CSF he had a photo at week 0, week 4, and took one for week 8. Put the photos side by side. It was only at that moment your friend start to feel that things were happening. The photo actually showed significant changes.
Here’s the lesson about measurements:
Scales are not the only answer to all the amazing progress you do in your journey. Try not to get too hung up on the numbers. Document your journey in different forms consistently over time. Say once a month, or every 6 weeks. Sometimes it is hard for us to SEE change, we look at ourselves in the mirror daily so if you are not documenting it can be easy to feel that you are working hard but not seeing results.
Though not a text-book measurement, think about your clothes that you enjoy to wear and wear them often, you WILL notice when they start to FEEL different. When that day comes where your very favorite pair of jeans needs a belt or you are noticing that you have to pull them up all day long, appreciate it. Go shopping and celebrate your hard work. Success comes in different forms, you can read a few success stories on this page.
Enjoy the journey!
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For a little inspiration read this email I sent to our members Dec 13, 2017