When to Measure Body Fat
Progress pictures: Take them every time you do body fat and measurements. It's fun to see the progress you make. I have a collection showing almost two years of transformation. I recently started getting kinda down on my progress then I went back and looked at how far I've come. So glad I have those shots on the less-than-motivated days. Take them first thing in the morning after visiting the loo but before having any liquids or showering.
When to weigh and take body fat measurements: Scale weight screws with women. I would destroy them all if I could. We need to understand that scale weight and BMI aren't the holy grail of health or fitness. Just to be clear, the number you're getting on your scale is a total of these:
- organs (including the biggest, your skin)
|Same scale weight. Different body fat percentage.|
Even if your scale number goes down you can still be "skinny fat." If you're skinny fat, you may have a low scale number but you also look soft, shapeless, have little muscle and still too much fat! For women this is normally a result of the BS diet industry stressing caloric restriction, an obsession with scale numbers aka "weight," low intensity/high repetition weights and constant cardio. You actually want to pack muscle weight ON for tightness, shape and healthier bone density. What you should be focusing on is your body fat percentage. Muscle is so hard to earn for us ladies. Why eat away at it with weight loss gimmicks and crash diets?
I digress. My body composition tracking recommendation is to take your body fat and measurement (and scale weight if you need it to enter into a body fat measuring device) and pics once a month, two days after your period, first thing in the morning before eating, drinking, showering and (hopefully) after emptying your bowels. This allows for all period bloat to dissipate (if you're still at an age where you're getting your period.)
That may be hard for some of you scale addicts and if it is, it's time to consider the monthly measurement route. The scale can really screw with you psychologically and it's just not telling you the whole story on your muscle gain and fat loss. Also, you really see significant changes going month-to-month that you won't see with such small weekly data.
We recently got an email from a woman who began her ten day carb depletion and -- against everything we cautioned in the book -- she weighed herself every day for the first four days of the protocol. The first two days she saw significant weight loss. Then nothing on the third, a tiny gain on the fourth... and then she quit because "it obviously wasn't working" for her. Unbelievable!
One, this shows she didn't understand or bother to read the tenets of fat loss we explain in the book. Two, there are going to be days when the scale goes up -- your cycle, time of day, muscle soreness, tissue gain, liquid intake, etc all impact that sum total scale number. To quit after only four days of data?! What a disservice she did to herself. Makes me sad. Did it take four days for her to get her body into an unhealthy state?
Look at this U.S. GDP graph spanning from 1890 - 2010:
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