I have written a few articles stressing the fact that a decreasing number on the scale is not the only way to measure weight loss success, although people still seem to be stuck on hitting a certain “dream weight” as apposed to a “dream body”. I agree it is very gratifying to get on the scale in the morning and see a number smaller than the number that appeared last time you stepped on it; however, weighing yourself too regularly could be a recipe for destruction, especially if you are working out and strength training regularly. If you are strength training the goal is usually to increase muscular strength, but also to build more muscle leading to a more lean/toned appearance. As I have previously stated muscle weighs more than fat, is more condensed, and takes up less room than fat. If you compare the size of 1 pound of fat to 1 pound of muscle it would be shocking, as the pound of fat is almost double the size of a pound of muscle. Think about that……
Progress can be measured by taking body fat percentage, measuring your inches, or taking performance measurements (how long you can run or how many push ups you can do etc.). Today I will discuss how to properly measure your body to track weight loss progress.
– Be sure to always measure the same side of your body, so take note if you measured on the right or the left.
– You might need assistance to get a good reading of your biceps/chest measurements.
– Do not pull the tape too tight against the body, it should just be pulled snug against your clothes/skin (skin should not be pressed in)
Where to Measure & How:
NOTE: Always perform measurements on the same side of the body each time! I always use the right side so that I never forget which side of the body I have measured – keep it consistent!
Chest: Place measuring tape under the armpits; wrap it around the chest at the widest part, and if possible have someone take your measurement so you can keep your arms down at your sides in a more natural position. A second measurement can also be taken directly underneath the breasts (for ladies this is where your bra would sit) because this is often an area that is another good area for tracking progress.
Biceps: Measure the distance from your shoulder to your elbow, find the halfway mark, and take your measurement around the arm at that point.
Waist: Wrap the measuring tape around the natural waist, usually about an inch above the hip bones and is normally the smallest part of your waist. Do not suck your stomach in or hold your breath! It would also not hurt to take a second waist measurement around the larger part of your stomach, which is lower and right around your belly button. Taking both measurements will be a better measure of your progress.
Hips: Standing with feet together, wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your hips and glutes.
Thigh: Measure at the highest point of the muscle, which is right in the groin area underneath the pubic bone.
Calf: Wrap the measuring tape around the thickest part of the muscle, which is usually about half way between the knee and the ankle.
Once you have all of your measurements written in a notebook along with your current weight, write down a date when you are going to re-measure to track progress. These measurements should usually be done every 2-4 weeks.
Email Michelle@CORE-Condition.com for more information on how to measure your inches to track weight loss progress.
Michelle Roots BA Kin, CSCS, PES