Sometimes, it can be confusing as to which body measurements to track. Should you track your weight, body fat percentage, biceps or something else? In short, the answer is – track them all. Each measurement provides data that you can use to evaluate your overall progress and health. Since, we all have different bodies, genetics and health conditions, tracking only one or two body measurements might not provide us with the accurate information needed to get in shape, stay fit or accomplish your fitness goals. If you are serious about your health and your goals, then start tracking the following body measurements today:
Body Fat Percentage
Body fat percentage is probably the most ideal body measurement to track. Not only is a lower BF% important for those trying to lose weight, it’s also important to those who are trying to build muscle. Additionally, a higher body fat percentage has been directly linked to increased risks for serious health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
But, how do you measure body fat?
There are a handful of ways that you can measure your body fat. However, some of them do require a specialized facility or medical professional.
Skin Calipers – this is the most accessible way for individuals to measure body fat. It’s a little white device that clamps on to various points of the body for measuring the thickness of the skinfold. It would then require one to enter the skinfold measurements into a formula to get their body fat percentage. Read more about how to take accurate skinfold measurements here.
Bioelectrical Impedance – this handheld device is typically found in gyms, and can be a quick way to get an estimate of your body fat percentage. It sends electrical impulses into the body and measures how quickly those impulses return.
Hydrostatic Weighing – this technique requires you to be dunked underwater at a specialized facility. It’s an incredibly accurate method for determining one’s body fat percentage.
DEXA – Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry is like an X-ray scan performed by medical professionals. It can be used to measure body composition and bone mineral density. It shoots X-ray beams over selected areas of the body and breaks down the composition.
Air-Displacement Plethysmography – Commonly known as a BOD POD, people sit in these egg-like machines as they measure air displacement with each individual. This requires going to a facility that has these machines.
3D Body Scan – 3D imaging has become more accessible these days. In fact, some gyms even have these devices available for members. Additionally, there are at-home 3D imaging devices. A 3D body mapping machine shoots infrared lights and creates a 3D image of your body.
Lean Body Mass
Lean Body Mass (LBM) is used to determine your lean muscle mass. It’s a simple formula that requires a few additional body measurements: body weight and body fat percentage. The LBM formula is as follows:
LBM = Body Weight – (body weight X body fat percentage)
Tracking your LBM is a good way to see if you have lost body fat and increased lean muscle mass. It can also be a good indicator as to how much body fat you need to lose. To see where you should be aiming in terms of LBM, you can visit this post.
Localized circumference refers to any body part that you want to measure and track over time. For example, guys trying to pack on some muscle mass may want to track their chest, arm and thigh measurements. Women or men who are trying to lose weight can track those measurements in addition to other areas like the waist and hips.
Bodyweight is the most common body measurement to track. Unfortunately, it’s not the most reliable indicator of overall health or progress. For example, those trying to lose weight might frown when the scale isn’t dropping quickly enough. However, this could be indicative of their workouts not being challenging enough, poor diets, additional water weight, or the fact that they’ve put on some lean muscle mass.
Here are some tips when hopping on the scale:
- Do it first thing in the morning, preferably in your undergarments only
- Place a weight on the scale to gauge accuracy
- Weigh yourself every 1-2 weeks, not every day
Remember, body weight is just one tool in this toolbox of body measurements. It’s not the only way to track progress.
Tracking These Body Measurements
Keeping track of these measurements has never been easier than now. Using the GrowBIG app allows you to track all of these measurements and view your progress via stunning charts and graphs. With its incredibly friendly user interface and the easy to read Help Tutorials, GrowBIG makes it a breeze to enter in your measurement data and track your progress. In addition to being an excellent tool for tracking body measurements, it’s also a premiere exercise and workout routine app. You can enjoy the vast libraries of exercises and pre-designed workouts or create your very own. It’s two powerful tools combined into one amazing app.