Don't Lean on the Scale: Measuring Body Composition
You treat the scale like you’re testing a sink hole.
One toe… tap, tap…
Whole foot. Second foot. EYES CLOSED. OMG. OMG. OMG.
People don’t like to use the scale or measure their progress in general because they’re scared to get the bad news. Even when they’re doing everything they can and they’re making all the best choices, they’re still scared.
One toe… tap, tap…
The fact is we’re at the gym because we’re already getting bad news. The doctor tells us we need to lose weight to be healthier. Our clothes aren’t fitting the way we want. Our body feels like crap.
Change is an emotional process and a lot of subjective observations leak into the process. Numbers are the only way to objectively way to see if the choices you’re making are working. Hopefully combining trial and error with measurement leads to success. Then, repeat.
What are our recommendations for measuring your fitness and fat loss journey? Check them out below!
1) Bio-Electrical Impedance Analysis Machine
This is our #1 choice for measuring body composition. A machine like this measures body fat mass, muscle mass and water in your body. This gives us the best insight into the actual changes that you’ve made.
Hopefully your local fitness facility has one. If not, maybe a doctor or nutritionist has a similar machine that’s more sophisticated than just a scale.
2) Circumference Measurements
If you don’t have access to a fancy scale there are still options!
Our next best recommendations would be circumference measurements of your right arm, chest, waist, hips and right thigh.
Contrary to popular belief a pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same, muscle just takes up less space. If you don’t see the scale moving, but your measurements are changing, you can rest assured that you’re on the right track.
3) Scale + Waist and Hips
Our last recommendation still includes measuring something besides the scale. If you don’t want to ask for help in measuring your right arm, chest, waist, hips and right thigh, measure your hips and waist and track your numbers on the scale.
Using this method, we’re still not relying solely on weight to measure the changes in your body.
No matter what method you choose to measure progress remember that change comes from consistency. Not seeing changes in the first few weeks is normal so don’t get discouraged. There are numerous benefits that come from exercise from increased energy to better mood and sleep.
To keep you sane makes notes of the small changes you feel to keep you motivated when the ultimate goal still feels like it’s out of reach.
Also keep in mind that:
Your weight can fluctuate 3-5 pounds on a daily basis.
In the beginning of the fat loss process, people lose fat, gain muscle and become more hydrated “negating” any change on the scale. In that first month you may be down 3 pounds of fat, up a pound of muscle and 2 pounds of water. The scale would show "no progress."
The scale is a poor indicator of progress but using it along with these other tools will give you the extra information you need to know what you’re doing is working!