Most people use the scale to determine their progress when they are working towards losing weight. This can become discouraging since when muscle is gained and fat is lost, you are still the same weight or a little heavier, but you are getting healthier.
Your scale sometimeslies. It cannot tell you whether you are making progress or not because it doesn’t account for how much muscle you have gained and how much fat you have lost. You could do an intense fitness program and only lose a little weight, but if you were to actually take your measurements at the beginning and end of the program you would be surprised that you are getting smaller despite what the numbers on the scale are. Fitness guru and personal trainer Adowa Adjah is a testament to this. She weighs in at 200 pounds but is extremely healthy because she has built muscle and burned fat.
There are different ways that you can measure your progress other than that inaccurate bathroom scale:
1. Get a tape measure out and measure yourself. Measure your waist, your upper arms, your hips, your chest, and your thighs. As you work out, measure every now and then to truly see how much you are losing.
2. You can use your BMI to tell you how healthy you are to an extent. It doesn’t account for fat or muscle ratios and the numbers are off for people who are short but muscular.
3. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is a scan that tests fat deposits and can show your body fat percentage.
4. Skinfold calipers are widely available and will measure the percentage of fat that you have. They are not the most accurate as different parts of the body will have different percentages, the calipers will vary depending on age and quality, and the results depend on who is doing the calculation.
5. The Bod Pod is a chamber that you step into and it measures how much air you displace. It is based on the same principal as hydrodensitometry which measures the amount of water displaced when you are submerged in a tank of water.
6. Body fat scales are available for home use as well. They send a small electric current through your body that can measure the amount of fat and muscle that you have.