Far too often I see people go to the gym day after day and never bother to keep accurate or consistent track of their progress. The reasons for this range from people not being comfortable or embarrassed about getting measured to not wanting to know the truth. The issue is if you do not monitor your progress then you do not know if what you are doing or how you are eating or the supplements you are taking are working. Sure most people look to the scale as their main measuring device and how their clothes fit but these methods fail to give an accurate depiction of how your body may be changing. Continue reading to not only find out how these methods of monitoring progress may be misleading you and a cool method that you can use at home to help keep track of how you are doing.
Suppose you start a new diet based on caloric restriction. You begin to lose scale weight and your clothes start to fit better and you are feeling pretty good about how things are going. Unfortunately, in almost every case of caloric restriction diets, you will lose mostly muscle and some fat. The problem that arises is when shortly after you stop the program and begin to eat more calories or the types of foods that you have eliminated you now have a slower metabolism from restricting calories AND less muscle mass to burn calories. This leads to a rebound of not only putting the fat back on that you lost but usually, even more fat as your endocrine system has now been compromised.
On the flip side suppose you begin a new training program involving one of the many forms of resistance training. you also adjust your diet by eating more protein and less crap. You immediately start to feel better, your clothes fit better, you are getting stronger and in better shape but the scale is barely moving. If you do not get your body fat measured regularly then you would think the program is not working. The issue is the program usually is making positive changes but the scale and clothes may not give an accurate assessment. Almost all of the time you will be losing body fat and gaining lean body mass (muscle) so the scale may not move very much at first. However, by increasing your lean body mass you will be increasing your metabolism which will assist you in not only being able to function and move better but turn you into a fat burning machine that will help keep the fat off long term.
In the chart above you will see a cool body fat comparison chart to get an idea of how your body would look at a given body fat percentage. Ideally, you should get your body fat measured once per month by a trained professional. Unfortunately, many people do not have the option to get measured. That is where these cool products come into play. The kit is the Accumeasure Myotape and Body Fat Tester. Although the body fat caliper in this product only measures one site it is pretty accurate. I have been comparing it for some time now and it is usually within 1% like they claim. Multiple sites measuring will always be more accurate because some people store more fat in certain areas of their body than others but this is a great way to at least have something to monitor yourself with each month. You simply measure one site on the right side of your abdomen over your hip and compare the number on the chart with your age range and you will get a body fat number.
The MyoTape is a great way to take your body circumference measurements to see if you are losing inches. The design makes it simple to use because the end of the tape hooks into the handle forming a loop that tightens around the body part being measured when you push the button.
Some key points for measuring accuracy
- Always measure the same time of day
- Always measure the same day of the week
- Just like you shouldn’t weigh yourself everyday, Don’t measure yourself every day either
Here is the link to order below. It is priced right at Amazon for only $10 bucks! If you’re interested in better monitoring how your exercise and nutrition program is working I highly recommend you grab one of these kits.
Lastly, another great if not best ways to measure your progress is to take pictures of yourself in your underwear or a bathing suit every month. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and they never lie. This is a grat way to notice subtle changes in your body that you may not see day to day. On top of that, if you are following a training and nutrition program consistently and take pictures each month the changes you will see from the beginning will be incredible. This is very inspring and also a great reality check if you fall off the wagon. Besides, think of how great these selfies will be in the age of social media. 😉
To your health,