Throw the scale out the window!

Throw the scale out the window!

Yes, you read it right, throw out the scale. Get rid of the sole object that has been causing you agony for all these years. You don’t need it, and its time to part ways.

Can’t do it, well at least tuck it away for later. I am going to show you today the methods of assessment you should be using. You are assessing your progress aren’t you?

If you aren’t, how do you know if you are improving or getting closer to your goals? Heck, maybe you even reached your goal and you don’t even know it yet.

If you are not assessing the qualities related to your goal through a variety of means, then you are simply guessing with your programming and diet, which is certainly not an efficient way to reach your goals. Remember that chemistry test is high school when you guessed C for every answer. How did that turn out for ya?

Why do should we assess?

Periodic assessments tell us whether or not we are doing things right. I am all about following how we “feel” but if you have specific goals like “wanting to lose 30 pounds of fat, gain 10 pounds of muscle, or do 15 full push-ups” you need objective evidence to determine whether the path you are taking is working or if some slight tweaking is in order.

I didn’t say overhaul but slight tweaking. Rarely does anyone need a complete program overhaul usually just a change of pace or intensity.

As a health and fitness professional I do this in numerous ways with my personal and small group-training clients. I require it of anyone in one of those programs because it tells me if the programs I write are working.

My boot camps on the other hand are more self-directed so today I am going to talk about a few quick and easy ways to assess body composition that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

As always, you can always contact me to do an assessment; it only takes about twenty minutes.

Assessing Body Composition

A person can assess just about anything from body composition, speed, power, strength, endurance, and the list goes on and on.

Most of you reading this get all jacked up about body composition so those are the assessment tools we are going to focus on today.

Why the scale doesn’t tell the whole story?

The first assessment tool that anyone thinks of when they are trying to make body composition changes is the ALL-MIGHTY scale. The scale is so 1970, here’s why you should throw it out with those velvet bell-bottoms. Seriously, they are never going to be stylish anymore, get rid of them.

Pro:

1. It’s easy.
2. It’s easy.
3. It’s easy.

Cons:
1. It tells us nothing about body composition. I am more worried about body composition than simply what the scale weight has to say. I might gain five pounds but if I drop a percentage of body fat I am elated.

2. It can fluctuate greatly depending on the time of day you decide to step on and for the ladies out there the “time of month.” Two words: water weight. No you did not just gain 5 pounds of fat from breakfast to dinner.

3. People can get way to attached to the scale and constantly measure themselves day after day living and dying by the number. I have seen the scale become an addiction and have had to remove it from client’s lives because it caused that much emotional trauma. It’s a tool, and only that, a poor tool.

Ready for an easier, more objective way?

An easier and much more objective way to tell what is going on in your body is to measure your waist right at the belly button. This gives better insight into body composition than the scale weight every day of the week. If this number consistently drops you are doing things right if fat loss is your goal.

(Again women, when bloating and retaining water become the norm, you know when, disregard these measurements because you are getting inaccurate readings of what is actually going on.)

Don’t measure everyday either. Stick to the same day, at the same time, every other week to do your measurements. Once every two weeks is perfect. You need to give time for the program to work and your body to adapt. Measure in centimeters too because you need to be able to record little changes. Plus, the entire world uses the metric system because if flippn’ makes sense. How does 12 inches equal a foot, come on people.

Need More?

If you are someone like me who needs lots of information to assess the entire situation you can do a few things.

1. Have a meeting with me and I will do all the work for you.

2. Set-Up an excel spreadsheet and record the changes in girth at multiple different body parts most notably, the neck, shoulders, chest, waist (at the belly button), hips, thigh, and calve. Always do the same side of the body and at the same time during the on each assessment. Every two weeks is frequent enough.
3. Use a cheap set of calipers to take your own body fat or have someone you trust do it. Then enter those numbers into a formula to get a number.

With my clients, I utilize a 3 -prong approach when assessing body composition: body fat percentage, body part girths, AND scale weight. This gives me a much more accurate picture of what is going on in my client’s or my own body.

If you want to buy your own set go to amazon.com and type in “calipers tape measure” and some great options will pop up for you.

Review

• If you are looking to make changes in your life, you must measure or assess or you are simply guessing with your programming. Start assessing NOW.

• Consult with me to have an assessment done or buy a kit of your own from amazon for less than $30, set up an excel spreadsheet and start recording.

• If you are not losing weight consider adding an extra half an hour of exercise to your regimen or cutting out 200-300 calories.

• If you do only one measurement measure your waist circumference directly at the navel.

• Stay emotionally unattached to the numbers. They are simply a guide to whether or not your programming is effective.