Good morning lovelies,
This is an exciting entry for me. Brandon, my personal trainer is not only brilliant in fitness but also as a writer. So, I have asked him to share his thoughts, along with my goals and results with you all.
It’s beach weather time and competition out there is tough. I gotta keep up.
Here is Brandon’s first blog entry. Let me know what you think under comments.
Taking regular measurements is important when trying to make body composition changes.
If you’re trying to shed fat or gain muscle, then you’ve probably made some changes to your eating and exercise program. If that’s the case then you have to know whether what you’re doing is working or not. And the best way to do that is to keep a record of some basic measurements.
For my clients like Ashlee that means taking scale weight, body fat using calipers and circumference measurements. Using this combination gives the most accurate picture of body comp changes. Looking at her numbers you can see that her scale weight actually increased over the last 3 months.
If you’re trying to drop body fat and you’ve been working out consistently and eating pretty well, then seeing the scale number go up would be pretty frustrating. But if you take a closer look at her other numbers, then you’ll see she actually dropped her body fat percentage by 3 percent, which added up to about 3 pounds, and in fact increased her lean body mass (muscle) by almost 5 pounds over that time. This is exactly what you’d want to see happen. An increase in lean mass naturally increases your metabolic rate, and gives our bodies a more defined shape.
While I’m on the subject I should mention “toning” is simply a combination of overall reduced body fat and increased lean mass. Which comes from the combined effects of working out and eating well. Despite what marketers of weight loss products constantly claim, there are no specific exercises that tone one area or the other.
With Ashlee we focus on total body workouts each time. Meaning we use exercises that incorporate multiple muscles and move in a variety of planes. An example would be a walking lunge with dumbbell bicep curl to shoulder press. These are best for maximum calorie burning, overall strength and lean mass development and even can improve balance and coordination. Back to Ashlee’s numbers, as you can see we also take a series of circumference measurements to more precisely see where the changes are taking place. For my clients I take chest, waist, hips, upper arm, lower arm, thigh and calf. I take the same locations for guys and girls, although there obviously is a difference between where guys and girls store body fat. Males typically store it around the waist, and females the hips and thighs. This is largely hormone driven.
If you’re playing along at home and want to start taking your measurements to track your progress, here’s what I recommend. Find a good scale, many of them measure things like body fat and lean mass and don’t cost that much these days. Although their accuracy in measuring body composition is a little suspect. Pick up a measuring tape intended for body measurements. These are pretty cheap too and shouldn’t cost more than 5 or 6 dollars.
For guys I suggest at least taking circumference measurements of the chest, waist and arms. For ladies I would recommend hips, thighs and arms. Most importantly is to take your set of measurements consistently on the same day of the week and preferably in the morning. Our weights naturally fluctuate within the week and even throughout the day. Just keep in mind we typically weigh our heaviest on Monday and Tuesday, and our lightest by Friday.
Start keeping track of your measurements on a spreadsheet or even just in a notebook. Trust me write it down somewhere. It’s the best way to see over the long haul whether you’re progressing, regressing or just maintaining. It’s also really cool to look back and see the differences in solid numbers. Get in the habit of tracking your progress, so you know if you’re on the right track. Just like the saying goes, you can’t manage what you can’t measure.