Yes, size does matter when you are working towards a goal. Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than being able to wear clothes that were too small for you last season. This is more reflective of weight loss progress than any measuring tape around your waist or caliper around your arm. Compliments from friends are more valuable than the two kilos that the scale has dropped. Conversely, it is depressing for any person to have to wiggle to pull up tight clothing that fitted perfectly before the bulge that sneaks up through winter.
Anthropometry is the scientific term that involves the measurement of body composition.
WEIGHT, there’s more. The scale is often seen as the most important indicator of progress when it comes to exercise, but is could be unreliable and disappointing if it becomes the sole focus. Hydration level, time of day and muscle ratio play a major role in weight fluctuations.
MASSIVE CHANGES. BMI. This is your weight in kilos divided by your height squared in centimeters. Men and women should have a BMI of between 21 and 23.
A ROUND CONCEPT. Girth measurements makes one feel like you are being fitted for a jersey. Measuring problem areas such as hip, waist, bicep and chest circumference are reliable indicators of weight loss progress.
Waist-hip ratio is used to determine the fat distribution (pear and apple shapes) and is useful to indicate heart problems. Men should have a ratio of 0.95 and women 0.86.
The preferred method for measuring body fat was using skinfold calipers to pinch the arm, leg, chest, back and stomach area. If the idea of having a personal trainer pinching and probing sensitive areas does not appeal to you, there are other methods to determine body fat.
Near Infrared photospectorometry is a fancy word for the least invasive method of measuring body fat using light that either reflects (muscles) or absorbs (fat) to determine muscle-fat percentage. This method of reading your body fat can be done at any VA and takes into account your age, gender and BMI when giving the body fat reading. These body fat readings take into account the fat around internal organs (visceral fat) that is crucial for survival and measured subcutaneous fat. It gets under your skin…
Hydrostatic weighing is the gold standard of body fat measurement but it’s no fun being immersed in a tank of water and exhaling all the air out of your lungs.
Body fat readings are always completely accurate and it should be monitored over a period of time. Skinny people can have an elevated body fat reading as inactivity leads to less muscle mass.
Bioelectrical impedance involves a low-level current going throughout the body to determine body fat percentage. This can be measured using a handheld device or attaching electrodes to the hands and feet.
Measuring body fat has developed into a science and is useful when recording training progress as a change in diet won’t result in the muscle ratio increasing, but weight will definitely decrease with the proper eating plan.