The scale, Body Mass Index (BMI), the tape measure, have all been used to measure weight loss/fitness throughout the years but what is the most accurate way to measure your (change in) size and your physical fitness? People have been slaves to their scales for 150 years or more. But the scale is completely accurate in measuring one thing and one thing only; weight! What is the most accurate yet practical way for you to track your progress?
BMI (Body Mass Index) is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both men and women between the ages of 18 and 65 years. It can be used to indicate if you are overweight, obese, underweight or normal. A healthy BMI score is between 20 and 25. You can get it from a table or a calculator easily found online. A score below 20 indicates that you may be underweight; a value above 25 indicates that you may be overweight. Some athletes, such as football players have a high muscle to fat ratio and may have a BMI that is misleadingly high despite their body fat percentage. I am 5′-11″ tall and weigh 195 pounds. I am an avid weight lifter and do high intensity cardio three times a week. My BMI of 27.2 says that I am overweight, which is true in the sense that I do weigh more than the average person of my height but that is because of having more than average muscle and not more than average fat.
I am constantly touting size change that happens when you lose fat, 9 cubic inches per pound. I’m also constantly talking about the importance of resistance training. You must build muscle to both fill the some of that void the vanishing fat has left, to burn more calories, and to give you the sexy shape you’re looking for.
Why do I want you to stop weighing yourself? It is NOT the most accurate measure of your progress. If you are going to measure your progress, I’d like you to use two instruments; 1. Your camera/phone. 2. Tape measure. Here’s why. The scale only measures weight. It doesn’t measure size, or shape.
We were talking about this few days ago. If you traded 10 lbs of fat for 10 lbs of muscle, you would weigh exactly the same but you would be 67.5 CUBIC INCHES SMALLER! If you trusted the scale you’d be a failure, but THAT’S NOT TRUE!
So let’s do this. Get a tape measure and start measuring your waist, hips, arms and thighs, every two weeks. Take pictures of yourself every 15 days and compare them. If you can’t do that. Get a pair of your “fat pants”, put them on every 2 weeks, and have someone pull the waistband away from you and measure the distance from your belly button to the waistband. This way you’ll get a vivid, accurate and encouraging measure of your progress.
Stop looking at that scale and become a “tape worm”. You’ll be glad you did!