Exactly How To Track Your Weight Loss Results
If weight loss is part of your wellness goal, then it's important that you're able to accurately track your progress. And I'm not talking about calibrating a scale to see exactly how many pounds or kg you lost... because I actually DON'T recommend relying on this as a great tool to track your progress.
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Instead, a more accurate way to truly evaluate what's happening in your body is by using a scanner/tool that measures body fat percentage and muscle mass. Today, I'm diving into the details of why I recommend these measurements over the traditional pounds/kg and how you can go about tracking these results.
But First, Why Not Pounds/KGs?
The main problem with typical weight measurements, such as pounds or kilograms, is that it doesn't tell you how that weight is distributed or where that weight is coming from. For example, if you lose 10 pounds, but it's all coming from muscle and zero or very little from fat, then that wouldn't be very successful because no fat was lost. On the flip side, if you are incorporating strength training and see no weight loss or weight gain, then you might assume that something is going wrong. However, in these circumstances, it's highly possible that you can be losing fat while gaining muscle, which would result in a net zero loss or possibly even overall weight GAIN - even though you have lost body fat.
Instead, a scale/tool that measures muscle mass and body fat percentage will let you know where the weight loss (or gain!) is coming from so you can assess what changes you need to make in order to achieve your wellness goals.
How to Track Muscle Mass/Body Fat Percentage
Depending on the tool or machine you use, these can be highly accurate or a little less so. Ultimately, the number itself matters less than the trends of each category. So if your goal is weight loss, then the trend you would want to look out for is muscle mass increasing while body fat percentage decreases. I generally recommend measuring these results at most once per week. Daily fluctuations are inevitable. Weekly measurements, on the other hand, can show overall trends of how you are progressing toward your goals.
If you're looking for a range of body fat percentage to shoot for, I recommend you check out my video on this topic below.
Tools You Can Use
There are a variety of tools you can use in order to track muscle mass and body fat percentage. These also GREATLY vary in cost, accessibility and accuracy. Check out three of the main options below:
These typically won't be as accurate as the options at your local gym or universities. However, these can be great tools to at least understand the trends in your progress. I've personally used the Arboleaf at home scale that measures body fat percentage, muscle mass as well as additional fun pieces of information such as bone mass and body water (although again, the accuracy of this information is debatable). If you're looking for a fairly inexpensive option and you aren't too concerned with the specific number, rather the trends, then this is a good route.
At Your Gym
Gyms will typically have a variety of methods to measure body fat percentage and occasionally muscle mass as well. One method is the skin-caliper, which can be performed by a trainer at your local gym. My favorite method is the inBody machine that some gyms have for their clients. This reading will provide a complete print out of how much muscle mass is in each segment of your body (left arm, right arm, core, left leg, right leg) as well as body fat percentage. This is particularly useful if you're an athlete to make sure you don't have weaknesses or an imbalance with your muscle mass.
At Universities/Paid Services
There are a variety of ways to measure body fat percentage and muscle mass that can typically be done most accurately with various paid services or at your local college or university. Although these will likely be the most accurate in terms of the specific number, these can be very expensive and are therefore less realistic for a weekly measurement. But if you're curious, you can always reach out to your local university or research paid services local to you. Some gyms may also offer paid outside services to take these measurements as well. So if you're interested, you can reach out to your local gym or exercise studio.
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Autumn Elle Nutrition