Work out, eat healthy, sleep a lot, drink plenty of water, think positively, avoid alcohol, avoid fast food, skip coffee and definitely skip the chocolate. That is, in short, a sure way to a better looking body.
Sounds quite hard, doesn’t it? However, if you are determined to lose weight, become healthier and look lean, these are the things you have to do. And once you start doing them, you will notice progress which will make you try even harder. But, what are the most trustworthy ways of measuring progress and monitoring your fitness goals? Should you rely on someone else’s opinion or on your own? Are there any scientific methods that can help you?
This is a bulletproof method that not many people take into consideration because it sounds too simple – take pictures of your body! If you have a large mirror at your home or at the gym, use it for tracking your progress via a series of full-body selfies. Take two “before” photos – a profile and a side view – at the beginning of your fitness journey and they will be the best possible evidence of what you looked like before entering the gym.
As you go on with your workouts, continue taking pictures as well. Once a week, always in the same position, always at the same spot, always wearing the same outfit (a bathing suit or underwear). And then, after a month or so, start comparing the photos – you will definitely see the difference you are not able to see otherwise.
If you do not believe what you seen in pictures, you might be able to trust the numbers. Hence, start taking measurements of your body – again, do it when you decide to start working out and then once a week – in order to measure your progress. There are two things you should use for these measurements: a weight scale and a measuring tape. Though the former tells you how many pounds you have lost, it does not tell you if your muscles are getting bigger. Some, nevertheless, find it helpful, while others say that it fluctuates and is not precise enough.
That is where a measuring tape comes in handy – it will show you the correct state of your body. Measure it weekly and write those results down in order to notice the changes. What most people focus on are the chest, hips and waist, as well as arms and thighs, but keep in mind that you should be relaxed when measuring and avoid applying too much pressure on your body.
Calculate Body Fat Percentage – Properly!
The thing about body mass index and body fat percentage is that they show accurate results, but are to be approached with care. While many fitness enthusiasts think they know how to measure them, that may not always be true. Therefore, you must first learn how to calculate your body fat percentage in a proper way.
Find out what this number represents, why it is more important than BMI and how to measure it. There are several ways of calculating: specialized scales, handheld devices, calipers and Bod Pods that are, alas, sometimes inaccurate, a 2001 study suggests. Nevertheless, keeping track of your body fat percentage is much more accurate then trusting the scale, because it does not tell you how much muscle you have built, only how many pounds you have lost.
Do It Like a Pro
Since there are numerous ways to monitor your fitness goals, you need to find the one that suits you the most. Ultimately, you can employ several of them simultaneously and get a more detailed image of your progress.