Are you the type of person who will resort to the number on the scales to assess your overall success and allow this total number to dictate just how much progress you have made?
If so, then by only utilizing the scales, you are completely forgetting one of the most important elements for assessing your progress…
Body composition is one of the most important elements in tracking how much progress you have made. When tracking overall body composition, you are taking into consideration several extremely important factors such as:
- Lean Muscle Mass (LBM)
- Current Body Fat Percentage
- Overall Weight
Not only are these variables extremely important, but there are also several other factors which affect and contribute to the number reflected on the scales. For Example;
- Water Retention
- Timing of the Day
- Food Intake
- Menstrual cycles
- And a lot more
So, when looking to assess your progress, by having two or more means of doing so will give you a far more optimal result and a far greater opportunity for success.
Why Body Composition?
As you can see from the picture above, there is quite significant difference between both pictures. You will see that her stomach is more defined, her thighs are tighter and she has a much leaner physique.
Not only this, but you are possibly thinking that she has lost weight.
However, she has lost body fat, improved overall body composition and gained lean muscle mass.
You see, from the picture on the left to the picture on the right, there is a 1.5.kg difference.
Left: 66.5kg Right: 68kg
Body Composition over Scales
The unfortunate thing about only utilising the scales, is that the scales are only taking into consideration your overall body weight and not separating Lean Body Mass (LBM) from Body Fat (BF). Therefore giving you mixed measurements every time,
Tracking Body Composition
To track overall body composition there are a variety of different methods you may use and all of which serve a specific purpose. For example;
- Body Fat Callipers & Skin Folds: most utilised & extremely effective (does require a person with experience)
- Girth Measurements (Tape): simple & easy to use
- Clothes: Monitoring your favourite pair of jeans
- Pictures or Mirror
All the above examples are extremely simple methods for assessing overall body composition. However, they have been listed from most accurate to least accurate and depending on your goals, you may desire a far more accurate assessment.
Such tests include;
- Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA)
- The Body Pod
Although these tests are extremely accurate, they can be quite expensive and hard to obtain access too.
So, when looking to assess overall body composition, keep it simple and monitor as followed;
- Weekly Girth Measurements
- Weekly Calliper Measurements
- Weekly Weigh ins
- Weekly or Fortnightly Photographs
- When performing regular calliper or girth measurements, ensure they’re being done by either an experience individual, or the same person for a far more accurate assessment.
- Also, it is important to ensure that the progress pictures are being done under the same circumstance. For example; time, lighting angles and clothing
So, there you have it, a far more beneficial way of assessing overall body composition and progress.
The take home note, DO NOT resort to one method (scales). Track your progress accordingly; adjusting when required and stay consistent with your chosen tracking methods.
Article written by personal trainer; Rhys Reddy. Click to see contact information.