It’s not the end all be all
During our health and fitness journey’s we are overly concerned with body fat composition. We often calorie count (most times incorrectly) and restrict our bodies of vital nutrients and minerals needed so that we become effect and efficient machines.
There are many accurate methods of measuring body density. However, these methods are expensive and are not routinely used and hard to locate. Some methods include (but are not limited to): hydrostatic(underwater) weighing, total body electrical conductivity, photon absorptiometry and potassium-40 to name a few.
We are most familiar with these commonly used methods, BMI calculation, skinfold testing, and bioelectrical impedance analysis (body fat analyzer). All methods are subjective and different factors play significant roles when estimating body fat. BMI is the least accurate and should only be used as a guide because the calculation does not account for lean body mass. This is one of the most important factors in estimating body fat. Skinfold testing should be conducted by someone who is highly qualified and experienced in conducting these measurements. Errors with this method include measuring at incorrect locations and not securing the skinfold properly. Finally, bioelectrical impedance analysis (body fat analyzer) often popular in gym chains. The theory behind the calculation and method of measuring is excellent. But in practice, different factors such as hydration and the frequency used to measure and estimate body fat has some variances that can be significant.
Sooo what are more practical ways to gage improvement you ask??? The first and foremost method is to STAY OFF THE SCALE!!!! The scale is deceptive during this time because your body is constantly changing and remember that lean mass does weigh more than fat mass.
But you can look for the following changes:
- How clothing fits (should fit better and looser)
- Increased mobility and flexibility
- Changes in energy levels(increased)
- Improved sleeping patterns (more restful and restorative sleep)
- The ability to perform more repetitions or sets
- The ability to extend the duration of a work-out.
And finally, and increase in the frequency in which you have bowel movements is a practical way of gaging metabolic improvements. So be confident in your process of “building a complete and healthier you”!