How to Take Body Measurements

Here's how to take body measurements so you can monitor your progress. There is no need to be concerned with whether or not you have ideal measurements, these techniques simply help you to compare your results over time to make sure you are progressing towards your goal.

Let's face it, results is the name of the game and these easy-to-use standard measurements can help you assess how effective your current weight-loss program is.

Before we cover how to take body measurements keep in mind that there are no ideal body measurements. Bodies come in different shapes and sizes so there is no point comparing your measurements with the measurements of other people. The best thing to do is to simply assess your own changes over time against your previous results. Forget about achieving ideal measurements.

Take Body Measurements

The standard body measurements involve simply weighing yourself on a set of bathroom scales as well as taking circumference measurements around certain body parts. Skinfold tests may also be done but will require someone else to do them for you and tend to have a great deal of measurement error. Scales and circumference measurements are the quickest and easiest way to monitor your progress.

Scales are not the best indication of weight loss. It can give you an idea but scales don't distinguish between losses of fat, muscle, carbohydrate or water. If you are involved in a resistance training program, as you should be, don't be surprised if your bodyweight doesn't change initially because the muscle you put on will displace the fat you lose. However, in a few weeks the weight will literally fall off your body.

Women in particular should not be too concerned about short term adverse fluctuations in bodyweight because it may be a result of hormonal changes, which may cause water retention. When using the scales aim to lose no more than 1 kilogram per week. Losses greater than this figure indicate losses of body tissues that are not necessarily fat (i.e. the losses may be muscle, carbohydrate or water).

When and how to take body measurements

The weight and circumference measurements should be done once a month at the same time of the day whilst wearing roughly the same clothing, e.g. in the morning after arising on the first Sunday of every month.

The initial appraisal should be done before you start the weight loss program and then subsequent measurements taken each month thereafter.

A regular re-appraisal of your bodyweight and measurements is important because it helps keep you motivated and gives you a guide as to how well the program is working for you. If you aren't getting the results you desire you may need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle by incorporating more Quick Weight Loss Principles.

Follow the steps below
when performing your self-appraisal.

STEP 1: Weigh yourself on the scales on the same day each month, at the same time and after going to the toilet. Wear minimal clothing.

STEP 2: With a plastic tape measure take the following standard body measurements:

a) Chest: Pass the tape around the torso at nipple level, make sure the tape is kept horizontal at the front and back.

b) Waist: (women) Pass the tape around your waist at the smallest point between the top of your hips and the bottom of your rib cage. Perform this in a mirror. Once you have this measurement then measure the distance the tape was from your belly button (for future reference).

(men) Pass the tape around the midsection keeping it level with the navel.

c) Hips: Keeping heels together, pass the tape around the largest protrusion of the buttocks (looking side-on).

d) Thigh: Measure a set distance (usually 20-25cms) upwards from the horizontal line on the back of the knee. Pass the tape around the thigh keeping it horizontal.

e) Calf: Take the measurement around the widest part of the calf.

f) Upper arm: Take the measurement around your flexed upper arms at the widest circumference. Keep your elbow slightly above the level of your shoulder for maximum biceps contraction.

STEP 3: Write down all measurements taken and the date they were taken. Keep the results in a file or diary.

NOTE: In order to take body measurements correctly always use the same equipment (scales and tape), keep the tape horizontal to the floor (except for the arm measurement). Perform the above procedure once a week at the same time of the day, perhaps in the morning before your morning exercise session.

These standard body measurements can ensure that the weight loss program you are using is effective. Remember of course, not to be concerned with ideal body measurements because ideal measurements on people simply don't exist!

If you would like to read more about the most comprehensive body measurement testing, also known as anthropometric testing, then please read Anthropometrica

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