Ditch The Scale – Track These Instead!
There are so many different – and even better! – ways to track your body composition rather than the scale. When you use a scale, it tells you nothing about where your weight is coming from and it can be very frustrating when you know you’re less flabby but it is not reflected in the scale. Whether you are trying to gain muscle or lose weight, the tools below will help you achieve your goal.
Below lists the best ways to track your body composition:
1. Body fat monitor
This is hands-down the best tool to determine where your weight is coming from. This also goes for those of you who want to gain weight because you probably want to gain weight in the form of muscle right? Using a body fat monitor not only helps to track your progress, but it can also help you determine whether your current diet and fitness regimen is working.
Say you lost weight but the body fat monitor found that this weight came from muscle and not fat – this means you might need to start strength training or take a day off from exercise. Another example, say you didn’t lose any weight but the body fat monitor told you this was because you gained muscle and lost fat and these evened out. See how helpful this tool is?! It doesn’t matter which body fat monitor you use, the important thing is that you use the same monitor to track your progress.
2. Measuring tape
A measuring tape is a great tool to track where you are losing weight from or where you are gaining muscle. I recommend measuring the arms, waist, hips, and thighs, but you can measure anywhere you want. Be sure to measure the exact same spot every time you measure!
A great way to visually see your results is to take pictures of yourself each each or at least every couple of weeks. You likely won’t notice changes in your body because the changes are gradual and you see yourself everyday. When you put a side-to-side picture of yourself this lets you see the changes you’ve made in your body composition – and if you don’t see any changes then you may want to change up your diet and exercise routine. I recommend taking a front and back picture with legs together and another with legs apart, as well as a side profile of both your right and left sides.
4. Clothes fit
Do your clothes feel looser? Hopefully not tighter! This is a great way to feel the difference in how your weight has shifted with how your clothes are fitting. Take a minute to think about whether your jeans are feeling a little looser or if you had pants you couldn’t wear before and now they fit just right. How your clothes fit is one of the best ways to tell if you’ve lost fat and/or gained muscle.
Try one or more of the above ways to track your progress in addition or in place of the scale and you will better understand your progress.
About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy-league trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in California with an expertise in preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab
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