Wednesday, 1 February 2012
How do you monitor your weight loss progress? Weight on the scales? Looking in the mirror? Dress size? Body fat calliper tests? This is an interesting subject as the traditional weight on the scales method does not always reflect what is happening to your body. When embarking on a fitness regime, many people are frustrated that the scales do not move or do not move in the right direction. Before I started my fitness program in 2009, my weight was similar to what it is now but I was 21% body fat and now depending on where I am in my contest prep can be anywhere from 11-14%, I weigh on the scales pretty much the same. Okay, so what about body fat tests? In my experience, gym machines are not that accurate and unless you are able to go on a flotation tank, the calliper test or the skin fold site test is probably the most reliable. What are the draw backs with the calliper tests? Well, you are reliant on the accuracy of the trainer to take a measurement from EXACTLY the same site each time and how experienced and skilled the individual is at separating the skin from the muscle. I do get my body fat tested but I use the same trainer each time so there is no room for variation, different people can differ up to 10% each time!! Another thing to consider is water, calliper tests do not take into account water retention under the skin particularly on the Suprailiac and abdomen site. As the body fat percentage is calculated as a total percent of your body, how are silicone implants accounted for? A larger set of implants will make the individual appear heavier indicating the individual has more lean mass than they actually do which in turn will give a lower body fat reading. Another important point to note is that the standard Poliquin Bio signature 12 point calliper test total percentage calculation does NOT include the lower body measurements, in my opinion this is a flaw to the system as many women store the most fat in the lower body, glutes and thighs. My advice on the calliper test is that it can be a useful tool in looking at individual sites, for example if you have changed your diet or training you may want to monitor what part of the body is gaining or losing fat, many factors can influence this including stress, diet and hormonal changes…
What else can you do if you cannot rely solely on the scale and the calliper test? In my opinion the best way to measure your progress is to take and compare regular photographs, record your weight as a guide at the same time each day, preferably in the morning and take the circumference measurements of your hips, waist, thighs etc. and if you wish have a calliper test done by a reputable trainer (I personally use Shaun Stafford as he is the most skilled reliable practitioner of the Bio signature modulation in London www.shaunstaffordtraining.com). You can then look at the picture as a whole. What you should be looking for is, of course depending on your goals and preferences, are marked improvements in comparison pictures and a reduction in the circumferences in waist and positive changes in the circumference of hips, thighs etc. You should also become familiar of your best weight according to how you look rather than what you think you should weigh or what you weighed when you were a teenager! The best way to see where you are really at is open your eyes and be honest with yourself. One point to note that sometimes we can actually be too hard on ourselves so it helps to have someone else look at you or try to look at yourself as if you were looking at a friend.
There is no magic. No supplement, no special exercise, no cabbage soup diet to the rescue. If you want to change the shape of your body, it will come with CONSISTENT training and clean diet, working out your daily macronutrient breakdown and knowing how much you should be eating for your height/weight and goals