Most people know what they weigh and could tell you what they weighed at their best and worst. However not many people can tell you what their bodyfat percentages or measurements were during those same times. Bodyfat can be a bit trickier to get an accurate measure on, but it’s incredibly easy to take measurements and quit honestly one of my favorite ways for client to track progress.
Which would you rather hear, that you’ve lost “one pound” or “four inches” off your waist? See how much more exciting and motivation it is to hear you’ve lost inches? Most of us have some unrealistic expectation of what we should weigh, on the other hand, most of us have no idea what our measurements are supposed to be.
Measurements are great way to monitor progress and not bring yourself down with unrealistic expectations. It’s also a much more positive way to motivate yourself. They help you eliminate those crisis moments when everything depends on that one number on the bathroom scale. Why do you do that to yourself? It’s nuts because you have no idea what you are weighing. Why ruin a day over a bit of extra water in your system that might be gone in a week!
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Always use a cloth measuring tape, not a metal one, as it’s much more accurate.
- Do your measurements in the nude first thing in the morning, it’s the best way to avoid your clothes getting in the way as well as steering clear of post-meal bloating.
- Breathe normally and don’t ‘suck in’ to get a better number as it won’t be reflective of your true stats.
- Measure in front of a mirror, to ensure that your tape is straight. This is especially important when measuring hips as it’s hard to see if your tape is in line.
- Remember to write them down, as it would be impossible to remember them all. Plus you can then see your progress over time.
- Pull the tape so that it is snug but not too tight.
- Be consistent with your measuring. If you need to, write down exactly where you measured so that you remember each time you do it.
Place one end of the tape measure at the fullest part of your breast, which is usually your nipple. Wrap the rest of the tape around your back and under your arms to join back up.
This is measured just under your breasts, where your bra line goes.
Your waist is easy to find. It’s the natural fold that you get when you bend over to one side. Located just above your belly button, it tends to be the smallest part on your torso.
Place one end of the tape above your belly button and bring the other side of the tape around your back to join up again.
Use your belly button as the measuring point for your stomach. The key is just to be consistent and this makes it super easy to do so.
Measure at the widest point of your hips or bottom. It’s really important to be in front of a mirror for this one as it’s tough to see if your tape is level.
Use the fullest part of your thigh as the point to measure. This may be ever so slightly different on each leg, so you will need to measure both separately.
Once again it’s the fullest part that you want to measure. Be sure to write down the measurement for each arm separately. Often your dominant arm can be more muscular (as it’s used for lifting bags, babies, and shopping) which can affect the numbers.
On each leg, measure the largest part of your lower leg.
And remember – the scales doesn’t always tell the truth
As you begin doing exercise and light weight bearing exercise you will gain lean muscle tissue, a substance which weighs more and is denser than fat. So you may actually see the number on the scales increase. Even though the scale may not be moving, it doesn’t mean that you’re not getting smaller. Muscle is more dense than fat, so it takes up less space. You can be in a smaller pants size and not be any lighter on the scale – and this is why we advise to take measurements each week as well as weighing yourself.
It is also a good point to note that this extra lean muscle tissue has added benefits too – not only will you appear smaller, but muscle will help raise your metabolism too which helps to burn more fat – win win!