A big part of assessing and adjusting nutrition and exercise programs is being able to track progress to determine if anything needs adjustment. A HUGE issue a lot of people have is obsessing over scale numbers. Unless you have a competition to make weight for then it really shouldn’t be an issue. There are a number of reasons for scale numbers to fluctuate e.g. sodium to potassium ratios, carb intakes, food in digestive tract etc. For this reason, it is a good idea to track progress with a few additional methods.
1. Take measurements: I highly recommend the myotape measures as you can measure limbs easily by yourself. These can be found here or check ebay. Depending on your level of body fat you may lose cm’s all over or you may be down to the last stubborn fat. In that case, it is likely that your measurements will not change anywhere except for the stubborn fat area which is usually lower abdomen for men and butt/thighs for women.
2. Take pics: as you see yourself everyday in the mirror it is very easy to not see your progress. If you take photos, it is a lot easier to compare. I typically take a front, side and back full length photo.
3. Bodyfat calipers: this is not a necessity as the above measures should tell the majority of the picture and the cheaper calipers on the market are quite difficult to use for people carrying a fair bit of extra bodyfat. The cheaper calipers are made by accumeasure and can be found here or on ebay.
There are other more advanced methods of body composition analysis like DEXA scans, bodpods, bio-impedance devices etc. but these are more expensive and would typically be done for more advanced athletes with a fair amount of time in between. It is important to note that bio-impedance devices are notoriously inaccurate because of hydration levels. To test this, take a reading then drink 1 litre of water and then retest 😉
For those people who are scale number obsessive, I would recommend only weighing in once per week maximum and it should always be done at the same time of the day (Morning after using bathroom) to maximise comparability. To those that can detach themselves from the number, there is no harm in weighing in daily as this can be used to create a trend line which is the average over time. This can minimise the affects of day to day fluctuations.
All of my clients take pictures and measurements every fortnight to track progress. These along with scale numbers can be used to determine if the plan needs adjustment.
Alternatively, if the plan is not being followed then this can also be addressed.
A simple example of one of my clients at the same body weight can be seen below. (Please understand that if you are not after this level of leanness/definition that is fine)