If you're going to set a goal to achieve a good body, you need a form of measurement to track progress. A standard bathroom scale is good for an idea of weight, but doesn't distinguish between fat, muscle or current body water levels. Composition tests are the best to measure body fat and there are a few ways of doing so. There are pros and cons for each method, and this are just a few I looked into.
Handheld bioelectric impedance is one device that you hold for a for a period of time, while it calculates your body fat. This is based on entered information like age and weight. It checks fat percentage by testing how body tissues resist the flow of an electrical current, stemming from the device. It definitely is convenient and fast, but are often unreliable I have come to understand. People have told me that results shown were inconsistent with other fat loss measurement techniques. So again like normal scales, it may be better to use this as a guide.
Similar to the handeld bioelectric devices there are scales that work on the same principle. Stepping onto the foot pads, a tiny electric signal is sent through the body's muscles. Again like the handheld device, it produces a very fast calculation of body fat. However, controlled conditions are required for optimal results. Many variables including time of day, temperature and body water levels can all affect the reading.
Calipers are pincer like measuring tools that clasp onto skin, and in the process, collects excess fat along the way. It's a fairly accurate way of measuring muscle mass. The cons here really do rely on the possibility of human error. They need to be handled in the correct manner to ensure the calipers don't provide false readings by missing body fat.
If you want true accuracy of body fat, hydrostatic underwater weighing is the best for body composition analysis. It's something I have never tried but tests can cost up to $60. Essentially this method provides results because body fat floats, while lean mass sinks. You have to be submerged completely underwater several times, but it has been tested to provide the most accurate result. Unfortunately as you can imagine, it simply isn't practical for constant monitoring.
So with some of the methods outlined, I like to think of a goal for fat loss each week while training. People often want to know exactly how much weight they should lose. It's important to keep in mind that it's not the kilograms on the scales that matter, but the fat percentage lost. I find losing one percent of body fat per week is a good challenge to aim for.
Chipping away at this objective and over the weeks just like me, your overall fat will strip away. It's about the consistency over time that really add up. My physique has never looked better, so stick with it.
If you begin to falter with your regime there are few little things to help kick you back into gear. Re-evaluate your training program if it isn't working. Focus on the big exercises like deadlifts, squats and chin/pull ups. If you want to continue to maximise these results, shorten rest time between sets. Ensure you get a solid 7-8 sleep each day and look into your eating habits. These two elements alone can be a major factor into motivating your mindset for training.
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Ben Basos is the writer of the extremely popular Mission to Muscle blog which documented his 12 week transformation from flabby to fit. Ben also holds a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Human Movement studies and dedicates his time to keeping lean, fit and healthy. Read the full article on How To Measure Fat Loss.
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