How To Measure Your Fat Loss Progress
I get asked a lot of questions.
Most of them involve asking what the best programme is to achieve X or whether they should eat low carb or low fat.
These are valid questions with a lot of conflicting information.
Yesterday though, my friend Adam asked me a great question that I thought everyone knew the answer too.
Well, I thought it was great. He thought it was stupid. No such thing. If you don’t know, it’s not stupid. Ask away.
Here’s what he asked:
“I’m back training in the gym and I’m aiming to get leaner and stronger. But what is best way to track my progress over time? Just weighing myself or?”
*Side note: This article is aimed at people who don’t have access to body fat calipers or body fat scanners. If you have those tools, use them but the methods I outline below will also help you.
How To Measure Your Fat Loss Progress
The common mistake most people make is they rely on the scale too much to measure their progress.
Sure, if the scale is going down then you’re losing weight. But the scale won’t go down in a linear fashion. You won’t consistently lose weight every single day. That’s not how it works. Bodyweight fluctuations are a normal bodily function.
It’s possible that in a week you may not lose any weight. That doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress.
Because of these daily weight fluctuations, we want to measure progress in several ways. Here’s what I recommend:
Weigh Yourself First Thing Every Morning
Daily weighing. A little obsessive? I don’t think so.
Weighing yourself daily will teach you that your body changes ALL the time. Some mornings you’ll be lighter. Some you’ll be heavier. Relax. This is a process and results happen over time.
If you’ve got a lot of weight to lose, you can aim to lose 2-3 pounds a week.
If you’ve got a moderate amount of weight to lose, shoot for 1-2 pounds per week.
If you’ve got a little weight to lose, up to 1 pound per week is a good place to start.
As you get further into your weight loss journey, these numbers will decrease. That’s because we want to make sure you are losing mostly fat and not muscle.
For the most part losing weight steadily will help you more in the long run. Weigh yourself daily and track your progress. What trends do you notice?
Remember, the number on the scale is just that, a number. You are more important than it and you should not let it be the basis of how you feel about yourself.
Take Body Part Measurements Every 2 Weeks
Grab hold of a measuring tape and measure yourself in the following places:
- Chest (around the nipple line)
- Shoulders (arms by your side and measure all the way round)
- Waist (around the belly button)
- Biceps (flexed)
- Mid Thigh
Taking body measurements is a sure fire way to know whether you are on track. If you aren’t then you can adjust your calorie intake as needed.
It’s possible that you can remain the same weight and still lose inches from your measurements.
If you lose 2 pounds in 4 weeks and also gain 2 pounds of muscle then you will stay the same weight BUT your measurements will change. That’s why the scale isn’t always the most reliable tool for tracking your progress.
Losing inches but remaining the same weight is progress despite what the number on the scale is telling you.
Take Progress Photos Every 4 Weeks
Take progress photos every 4 weeks in the same clothes – how lose are they getting? How do you feel?
This is hands down one of the best ways to track your progress. It’s a quick and easy way to know whether you are heading in the right direction.
Do you look better in the mirror? Are your trousers hanging loser?
They key here is to make sure you take the same photos every time. Preferably in the same place too. Keep this as consistent as you can and your progress will be easy to see.
Track Your Progress In The Gym
Whatever training plan you choose to follow, make sure you track it. Have a small notebook that you take the gym with you. You may not improve session on session, but what trends do you notice over 2, 4 and 6 weeks?
Write down the exercises you do, the weight you use, the number of reps you do and your rest times.
Your weight, reps, sets, total work time or a combination of all 4 should be increasing over time.
Tracking your fat loss progress is about how you look and feel but it’s also about gym workouts too.
Improvements here will help you in your weight loss journey.
Start using these 4 systems as soon as possible.
Don’t make things harder for yourself by only utilizing the scales. They are useful tool, yes. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. Apparently.
By measuring your progress in a number of different ways you’ll start to pick up different trends. Has your weight remained the same but your shirt is fitting better? That’s progress.
Too many people get married to one system. Having many angles to view your progress is smart. Get to it.
Got a question that you want me to answer? Head over here and ask away.