Friday, 9 September 2011

Taking your measurements

Taking measurements is by far the best way to keep track of your changing shape as you get fit.
Weight on the scales can sometimes show little change, or even go up if you’ve swapped some fat mass for muscle, or taken on more water that particular day – meaning that they really don’t give an accurate reading of how well you’re doing.
Also, it can sometimes take a while for these training effects to take place, so weekly “weigh-ins” can sometimes dishearten many people, and cause them to give up.
By taking measurements and keeping an eye on how your clothes are fitting, you can see exactly how well your efforts are paying off and even where you’re losing the “weight” from.
For accuracy, you must ensure that you’re taking the measurements at exactly the same places each time or you will get mixed and inaccurate readings.
Again though, be aware that everyone’s different. You may see results faster than you expected, or a little slower. Either way, stick to the programme and eventually things will even out.

Below are some tips on how to take your measurements.
Neck – Standing, measure your neck at its largest girth (right over the Adam’s apple for men).

Chest – Men: Standing, measure around your chest at nipple height, with breath out.
Women: Measure under your breasts but as high up as you can go, keeping the tape measure parallel to this line when you reach it around your back (with breath out).

Bust (Women) – Don't squish yourself -- measure all the way around your bust and back right at your nipple line, and make sure the tape measure is not lower.

Waist – Standing, measure at the navel line/belly button.

Hips – Measure at “the biggest part of your bum”, standing with feet together -- even if that is so low that you are almost on the top of your thighs.

Thigh – Standing, measure at the “gluteal fold” (or in English, the crease at the bottom of your backside!).

Calves – Standing, measure where they are the biggest.

Upper Arm – Measure at the largest point above the elbow, with arms relaxed at your sides.

Avoid pulling the tape measure too tight when taking these measurements. It should lie flat against the skin and level all the way around without pinching.

You may also want to take some pictures as these also provide an easy way to gauge your progress (it's difficult to see the changes day by day, but comparing pictures a few weeks apart you'll see exactly what changes are taking place). Wear as little as possible for these, or fitted clothes. Baggy clothes won't show anything!

Underwear or swimwear is the ideal.

Take pictures from the front, sides and back. And stand normally - don't try and pull anything in or puff anything up. Honest pictures work best!

I strongly encourage you to throw away your scales and start using these methods to track your progress.