In the health and fitness world there are certain key measurements that are relevant to most people's goals.
"What do I weigh?" is the key question most people ask and it is certainly something worth keeping track of. The pros of this method are that it is a simple measurement to understand and most people have easy access to a set of bathroom scales.
The cons of this measurement are that there are many factors that go into deciding exactly what you weigh at any given moment. Dehydration, eating and bowel movements can all have an effect on the number on the scales but do any of them give you any feedback on how effective your current health plan is?
Combine this with the ever challenging notion that when you undergo an effective weight training program you will most likely put on weight due to muscle tissue weighing more than fat.
With this in mind, I am about to complete a program with 12 clients and I will share with you the statistics that matter to me and therefore us.
Each of the participants will undertake a DEXA (Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) Scan before and after the 12 week program. The great thing about this method is that we can track several key indicators with one quick test.
The key indicators include (but are not limited to):
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) - greatly influenced by lean muscle mass
- Body fat percentage
- Bone density
By increasing an individual's BMR we are setting them up for long term and easy to maintain body shape success. Increased BMR means you are burning more energy at rest, meaning when you go to bed at night you are still burning more calories than you may have previously. The great thing about this is that it takes the pressure off the need to maintain perfect nutritional habits or high volumes of exercise all the time. You can make the odd mistake without suffering immediate consequences in terms of your body shape.
Body fat percentage is also another critical measurement. In 90% of people's eyes, more muscle (yes ladies, that's what toned means!) and less fat is the desirable outcome. The DEXA scan allows for a highly accurate way of monitoring progress so there is no need for guess work from standing on the scales.
Girth measurements are also a very cheap and easy way to monitor the change in your body shape. A key one that is subject to the most change is the waist measurement while you may also be interested in tracking your shoulders, chest, hips, arms and thighs. Just make sure your measurements are consistent.
Finally I will be monitoring the range of motion of my clients. I don't think people appreciate the importance of flexibility and posture in terms of quality of life. All of my clients will be able to touch the floor with their legs straight and feet hip width apart by the end of the program.
So there you go, take your measurements, set your goals and create your action plan for achieving them. For further information on my 12 week program please visit my website: