Are you wondering if you’ll ever reach your weight-loss goals? Do you diligently weigh yourself only to see the number on the scale at a standstill — or worse, creeping back up? The truth is, it’s hard to tell if you’re getting fitter and healthier simply by stepping on the scale. While the number on your scale gives you some information, it doesn’t tell you everything you need to know in order to assess your weight-loss efforts. You also need to measure body fat.
Measuring body weight on your scale is one way to track weight loss. But, it’s certainly not the most comprehensive way. What you really need to learn is how much body fat you’re losing. If part of your workout includes weight training and other muscle bearing exercises, as most workouts do, you’re probably building muscle mass, while losing fat in the process. So, the numbers on the scale may remain the same, or may even increase. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress, changing your body composition, and getting healthier.
It’s true that you can eye yourself and take a good visual assessment by seeing how your body looks in the mirror. And perhaps your clothes fit in a different way. But, it can be difficult for us to assess changes to our body with the naked eye. If you really want to see your progress and motivate yourself to continue with your weight-loss routine, you’ll want to get a good understanding of you body composition, and learn how to measure body fat loss.
Seeing definite proof that your body composition is changing from one month to the next is a great way to know for sure that you’re on the right track, and that you will reach your weight-loss goals and become a fitter, slimmer, and healthier version of you!
What information actually measures body fat loss?
Measuring body fat involves taking specific measurements of particular areas of your body with a tape measure. You’ll then evaluate all these figures using an online body fat calculator. For those of you who love numbers, this will be a fun process! For those of you who don’t, taking the time to measure body fat loss will support your health journey.
There’s nothing like seeing evidence that your hard work is paying off for true motivation. Even when the numbers on your scale remain static, the numbers in your online body fat calculator will no doubt change for the better. And before long, you’ll be that much more enthused and inspired to happily carry on with your fitness habits and routines.
Here’s how you’ll properly measure body composition and body fat loss.
Preparation and measuring tips
- First, you’ll need a measuring tape — one that’s flexible but not stretchy. You’ll need to be able to wrap it around various parts of your body without it stretching in order to gain accurate measurements as the months progress.
- Next, you’ll need a journal, notebook or spreadsheet to record your progress. There’s nothing more powerful than seeing the numbers on paper. This makes your efforts feel concrete and real.
- Take measurements first thing in the morning — preferably after you’ve gone to the bathroom. You don’t want to be carrying extra water or waste weight. You want to be light and (ideally) well-rested.
- Wear lighter clothing. You don’t want layers of clothing getting in the way and throwing off your measurements. If you can, simply wear underwear and nothing else.
- When taking measurements, be sure not to press into your skin. Simply rest the tape measure lightly upon your skin, while allowing the tape to be level around the body and parallel to the floor.
- Get some help. It can be difficult to take all the measurements you’ll need by yourself. Consider asking your spouse, roommate, or friend to help. Measuring around your shoulders, for instance, is an impossible feat as you can’t use both hands to do so!
The process of measuring body fat loss
What to measure
Be sure to record all numbers in your notebook as you go along.
- Weight: First measure your current body weight. Record the number on your scale in your notebook, spreadsheet, or journal.
- Neck: Standing tall, use your tape measure to measure the circumference of your neck.
- Upper arm: Relaxing the right arm, measure the circumference of your right arm, just above your elbow.
- Forearm: Using the tape measure, measure around your arm just below the elbow.
- Wrist: Measure the circumference of your right wrist.
- Chest: Measure around your chest, just beneath your breasts.
- Bust: Measure the circumference of your bust, placing the tape measure around the fullest point.
- Shoulders: Allow your arms to relax at your sides, and ask your spouse or friend to measure around both of your shoulders.
- Waist: Measure around your waist — just above the belly button is where you’ll place the tape measure, as this is the narrowest spot.
- Hips: Measure around your hip bones.
- Quads: Standing straight, transfer your weight to the left foot. Now, measure the circumference of your right quadricep, placing the tape measure around the largest part of your quad.
- Calves: Transfer weight to your left foot and measure around the biggest part of your right calf muscle.
You’re measure all areas on the opposite side.
The next step is where your online body fat calculator comes into play. Follow its instructions by inputting the numbers and measurements it requests. You’ll then use these numbers to calculate body fat mass, as well as body fat percentage. Record the results in your journal.
Continue with your weight-loss efforts for a month. Then, repeat the process again. Now you get to compare numbers and hopefully see positive changes! You’ll use the body fat percentage numbers to see if you are indeed decreasing fat in your body while increasing muscle mass. Once you know you’re actually losing pounds of fat, you’ll rest assured you’re on the right track!
It’s best to repeat this process just once a month, as taking measurements too often could lead to frustration if you don’t see enough progress. Be patient, and you’ll soon have proof that all your hard work is paying off!
Taking photos as you lose body fat and gain muscle is another powerful motivator. It’s amazing to visually see real proof of your progress — especially during those times when you feel you’ve reach a weight plateau — which happens to the best of us. Wear workout clothes in the photos to clearly see your body changing shape. Ask a friend to help. This makes the journey that much more fun!
Need help with your health and weight-loss goals? At Elite Physique, we believe an equal balance of nutrition, activity, rest, and confidence is the foundation for achieving a healthier you. Our personalized weight-loss program is designed to address the underlying factors that often make weight loss difficult, such as hormone imbalances and chronic inflammation. Contact us today for your free consultation!