Body composition refers to how much of your body is composed of body fat versus muscle.
Although most people fixate on their body weight when trying to get in shape, body composition is a much more useful metric to track.
The problem with just tracking your body weight is that if you’re new to proper diet and exercise, you’ll lose fat and build muscle at the same time. Your scale weight may not change significantly for several weeks or months, which rankles dieters to no end.
Even though it may not look like you’re making progress, though, your body composition probably tells a different story.
Thus, your real goal when losing weight should be to improve your body composition—to lose fat and maintain or gain muscle.
In this podcast, you’ll learn:
- How to measure body composition.
- What it looks like when you build muscle and lose fat simultaneously (with some body composition examples).
- What the best body composition analysis tool is.
- What the best body composition exercises are.
- And more!
10:10 – What is body composition?
18:26 – How can body composition measurements be incorrect?
29:28 – How do you properly measure body composition?
Mentioned on The Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Changes And the reason why this is way better than keeping a close eye on what happens to your weight every day is your weight is going to change as things like water retention and glycogen storage and bowel movements, or the lack thereof change. That’s why flogging yourself over small. When US Fitness folk talk about body composition, we’re talking about muscle and fat.
That is what we are interested in. Most of us want to gain more muscle and lose fat, or not gain fat. Just maintain our current body fat level and body composition is a very. Important topic because many people who are new to fitness are fixated on body weight. Many of them, for example, will start a diet with an ideal body weight in mind with the idea that if they reach a certain number on the scale, then they are going to be happy with how they look.
And usually that number is based on some previous time in their life when they weighed that amount and. Good and looked the way they want to look now, currently. And what these people don’t realize though, is as far as health and performance and aesthetics and what you see in the mirror, as far as those things are concerned, body composition is far more important than body weight and many women in particular, Are very surprised when they come through the other end of a transformation.
I’ve worked with many of these women over the years and heard from many women who have gone through this experience where they started their fitness transformation with an ideal body weight in mind, and then they actually did what they wanted to do and they got the body that they wanted and were very surprised at how much they weighed.
Quite a few women over the years, for example, have weighed either the same or. At the end of their transformation than when they began, yet went from overweight or just very unfit to anything ranging from fit to super fit. And the reason for that is muscle is very dense. It doesn’t occupy nearly as much space as fat.
And so when you lose fat and you replace it with. You can offset the weight perfectly. You can lose a pound of fat, and then let’s say that pound comes off of your thighs, for example, or maybe it comes from your butt and you can replace that pound with a pound of muscle. Of course, this is not exactly how it works.
You can’t just pick your butt for. Huh, fat loss, but I’m just using this for an example. So you lose the pound of fat, let’s say that was in your thighs or in your butt, and you build a pound of muscle in your thighs and in your butt. Well, you’re gonna have smaller thighs or a smaller butt, or a more shapely butt, or more shapely thighs.
You can think of it that way as well. Again, because that pound of muscle, the volume is a lot. Than the pound of fat. And so again, in the case of women, the look that most women are after, at least most of the women that I’ve worked with and interacted with over the years, it requires gaining about 15, maybe 20 pounds of muscle in the right places on their bodies.
Obviously, most women are looking for a bit more muscle development in their lower body, in their butt, in their legs than in their upper. But in my experience, many women need to gain quite a bit of muscle in their upper body as well, to have the arms that they want to have and the shoulders that they want to have, and have some back muscle as well, some back definition.
And it also then requires a body fat percentage around 20%. Some women like to be a little bit leaner than that. And look very athletic, have a lot of muscle definition. Some women like to have a bit more fat on their body than that and be a bit more curvy and a little bit softer, a little bit more feminine of a look, I guess you could say.
And so when they go through that process though, again, they are. Usually surprised at how high their body weight is at the end of it, because they weren’t accounting for that 15 to 20 pounds of muscle that they were gonna have to gain to get there. And so if those women started that process, without understanding the information, I’m gonna share with you in this podcast without understanding what body composition is, how it works, why it’s important to track and to ensure.
The body composition is moving in the right direction, regardless of what the weight is doing, then they can set themselves up for disappointment and failure. For example, and this isn’t exclusively with women, but this is with people who are new to a lot of this stuff that I talk about here on the podcast and in my books and so forth when they first start.
They’re often overweight to some degree. They wanna lose some fat, so they restrict their calories and they eat enough protein and they start doing their strength training, maybe do a little bit of cardio. They’re doing well, and they start losing fat. But they don’t realize it because they’re just watching the scale often.
They weigh themselves every day, and if the number goes down, they’re happy. If the number goes up or stays the same, they’re unhappy. Well, let’s say if it stays the same, they’re unhappy. If it goes up, they’re very unhappy and they. Don’t realize that they are also adding muscle, that by doing the strength training, they are gaining muscle and also the muscle that they have is now holding more water, holding more glycogen, which is a form of carbohydrate, which adds to body weight.
And so what can happen is, They can be improving their body composition and seeing no difference on the scale. Now, if they have a lot of fat to lose, that is not going to be the case for extended periods of time. That can be the case for the first couple of weeks when the body is very responsive to the training and the muscles are soaking up more water and more glycogen.
But as time goes on, Their weight will start coming down because of course you can lose fat a lot faster than you can gain muscle. Even when you’re new to all of this, you can lose, on average up to two pounds of fat per week if you have a lot of fat to lose. I mean, if you have a lot, you might be able to go a bit.
Higher than that, but that would be in the case of very high levels of body fat. Like if somebody is, is very obese, then they may be able to lose upward of three pounds of fat per week. But most people, it’s one to two pounds of fat loss per week. And of course, you can’t gain one to two pounds of muscle per week, at least not consistently.
If you’re just looking at lean mass, and lean mass technically is going up as muscles are absorbing more water and glycogen. So for the first few weeks, uh, it might look like if you were to get DEXA scanned, it might look like you’re gaining a pound of muscle per week, but it’s not gonna be a pound of actual muscle tissue.
And so again, the scale though doesn’t exactly. Tell you what’s happening with your body. Even when you’re doing everything right, it can look like you’re not making progress. Now, if you pay attention to your body composition, though, you can know exactly what’s going on and you can know exactly when you’re making progress.
You can know when you’re stuck. You can know when you are backsliding. And then you can adjust your diet and training accordingly. So in this podcast, I’m going to get into the details of measuring body composition and talk about some different tools and methods and the pros and cons of each of them, and share with you my recommendation for tracking your body composition.
It’s simple. There are just a few steps and it doesn’t require any fancy gadgets. If you want to go all. You’ll need to buy a caliper, which is probably like 10 or $15, and a measuring tape, and that’s it. Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my v i p one-on-one coaching service because my team and I have helped people of all ages and all circumstances lose fat, build muscle, and get into the best shape of their life faster than they ever thought possible, and we can do the same.
We make getting fitter, leaner, and stronger, paint by numbers simple, by carefully managing every aspect of your training and your diet for you. Basically, we take out all of the guesswork, so all you have to do is follow the plan and watch your body change day after day, week after week, and month after month.
What’s more, we’ve found that people are often missing just one or two crucial pieces of the puzzle, and I bet a shiny shackle, it’s the same with you. You’re probably doing a lot of things right, but dollars to donuts, there’s something you’re not doing correctly or at all. That’s giving you the most grief.
Maybe it’s your calories or your macros. Maybe it’s your exercise selection. Maybe it’s your food choices. Maybe you’re not progressively overloading your muscles or maybe it’s something else, and whatever it is, here’s what’s important. Once you identify those one or two things you’re missing, once you figure it.
That’s when everything finally clicks, that’s when you start making serious progress. And that’s exactly what we do for our clients. To learn more, head over to www.buy legion.com. That’s b y legion.com/v p, and schedule your free consultation call, which by the way is not a high pressure sales call. It’s really just.
Discovery call where we get to know you better and see if you’re a good fit for the service. And if you’re not for any reason, we will be able to share resources that’ll point you in the right direction. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you want to see more of it, and if you also want to finally stop spinning your wheels and make more progress in the next few months than you did in the last few years, check out my VIP coaching [email protected] legion dot.
Slash V I p. Okay, so let’s start this discussion with a brief overview of what body composition is. I did explain this in the intro, but you may have skipped the intro, so I just wanna make sure that you understand the term. So everything in your body. Can be grouped into two broad categories. You have fat mass, which includes all of the fat in your body, and then you have fat free mass, which includes everything that is not body fat, like muscle water, bones, organs, and minerals, and body composition refers to the proportion of fat mass to fat free mass.
In your body, a healthy body composition that is one that is high in fat free mass, and particularly high in muscle mass and relatively low in fat mass. And an unhealthy body composition is the other way around. High in fat mass and relatively low in fat free mass, and especially low in lean mass in muscle mass.
Now, something I’ve been talking about and writing about for years now is, Why body composition is more important than body weight. Because when we say we want to lose weight, really what we mean right is we want to lose fat and not muscle. And if we say we want to gain weight, we want to bulk up. Really what we’re saying is we want to gain muscle and not fat or gain as much muscle as we can and as little fat as we can.
And so by measuring and by tracking body composition, we can know if we are achieving those goals or not. Whereas if we. Our body weight, there’s no way to know when we are losing weight, how much of it is coming from fat versus muscle, or when we are gaining weight, how much of that weight gained is muscle versus fat?
And so if you are going to take the time to make meal plans and follow them and. Make training plans and get in the gym and, you know, put a fair amount of time and effort into this fitness thing. It’s worth taking a little bit extra time to track your body composition as you’ll learn in this podcast.
It is very easy. , it only takes five minutes a week or so, maybe 10 minutes. But it can be one of the more important aspects of your fitness regimen because if you are not properly tracking your results, you won’t know if you are achieving your goals or if you are making progress toward your goals. And that can be not only frustrating, but it can also lead to program hopping and diet hopping and supplement hopping.
And all kinds of strange ideas and methods that ultimately just stick you in a rut, that prevent you from gaining any more muscle, gaining any more strength, losing any more fat, and it’s hard to stay motivated. To keep going when you don’t see anything changing and when you can’t figure out why and when you have already gone through the recommendations of seven different gurus who promised that their way is the one way, and for whatever reason it just didn’t work for you.
Many people go through that experience enough and conclude that the problem must just be them. That they are the common denominator of all of these failure. Maybe their hormones are shot. They think maybe their metabolism has bottomed out. Maybe their muscles are too stubborn to respond to training and so on.
And fortunately, none of that is true. It is never too late for anyone, no matter their age or circumstances to get into great shape. They may not be able to get as jacked as they could have if they would’ve started in their twenties, but they can. To a very high level of health and fitness by anyone’s standards.
And I’m gonna be talking more about that in particular, specifically for the 40 plus crowd and for people who are not in good shape and maybe never were in good shape, how do they get into great shape? I’m gonna be talking more about that later in the. Because I have another book coming out in the first quarter of next year.
I believe it’s gonna be in March or April, and Simon and Schuster is publishing it and it is called Muscle for Life. And it is a fitness book of course, but it is going to be specifically for the 40 plus crowd and it’s going to have three different programs for both men and women. And it’s gonna require no more than.
For max five hours per week, and there are going to be beginner programs and these programs are really meant for beginners. Like I’m envisioning a 50, 55 year old person who is overweight and very outta shape and who has never touched a barbell before. Like what should that person do? Uh, let’s say it’s a guy.
Could he do big, leaner, stronger? Yeah, he could maybe, but is that really the best place for him to. No, that’s something he should work up to and Muscle for Life will give him the know-how and the training that will get him up to being able to do bigger leaners, stronger if he wants to. So again, beginner program.
And then the intermediate program is gonna be for somebody who is already doing something in the way of resistance training, maybe a couple of times per week. Doesn’t take it too seriously, has maybe gained a little bit of muscle, a little bit of strength, but again, is. Maybe not up to bigger, leaner.
Stronger or thinner. Leaner, stronger, just yet. And then there’s going to be an advanced program, again, programs for men and women, and they are different, of course, different exercises and different setups, and the advanced programs are going to be like bigger, leaner, stronger and thinner. Leaner, stronger light.
Those are gonna be great for people who are already in good shape and who are already. Training regularly and who want to take it to the next level and who want to prepare themselves for bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner, leaner, stronger. And of course, muscle for Life is going to have a whole section on dieting and on meal planning, and it is going to share a method of creating a meal plan that doesn’t require weighing or measuring anything.
You just need your hand. You’re going to use your fist, you’re gonna. Thumb to determine portion sizes, and you’re going to just follow the advice that I give in that section for working out calories and macros based on portion sizes of many different types of food that you like to eat. And I’m excited to get that methodology out there because it is a very user-friendly introduction to flexible dieting, to controlling your calories and controlling your macros without having to fiddle with measuring cups or the scale.
Or Excel and to impose just enough structure on your eating to get results, but not so much that it becomes a chore. Now, if you want to, let’s say you’re a guy and you wanna get down to 10% body fat, or you want to get even leaner, like you want abs and vascularity, or if you’re a woman and you wanna get to 20% or 18%, you wanna look very fit.
You want to have a high level of muscle definition, chances are you’re going to have to graduat. Two, a meal plan that does involve weighing food and measuring amounts of food, at least until you get into the groove of it and learn how to eyeball your portions accurately. And so that’s the kind of information that you find in bigger lean or stronger and thin.
Leaner, stronger, which again, are more advanced than muscle for life. And so on the dietary side of things, I’m. trying to use muscle for life to get people who have never done any of this before, they’ve never even heard of flexible dieting, up to a point where they can successfully use the principles of, in this case, flexible dieting to lose enough fat and gain enough muscle to want to see what else they can do to want to see just how fit they can.
So anyway, more on all of that coming soon, and let’s get back on track here and talk about measuring body composition. Now, theoretically, this is pretty simple. You just have to measure your body fat percentage because once you know that you can work out your total fat mass, and then from there, your fat free mass.
Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done because most every method of measuring body composition is far less accurate than most of us realize. So let’s talk about the most commonly used methods. Let’s talk about body composition scales and handheld devices, which are certainly the simplest way to go about it.
But unfortunately they are extremely inaccurate and this is because of the way that they analyze your body composition. And this is called bioelectrical impedance analysis bia. And this involves passing a light electrical current through your body and then measuring resistance to it. And muscle is over 70% water.
And so it conducts electricity very well, but fat, which contains a lot less water, does not. Electricity Well, and therefore the leaner you are, the more conductive your body is, and that then should allow you to correlate levels of electrical resistance with body fatness. Unfortunately, though it doesn’t work very well for a few reasons.
The first is that electricity will take the path of least resistance through your body, and so that means it bypasses. For more conductive tissues. So for example, if somebody has a large amount of subcutaneous fat, fat be the skin as opposed to like covering organs, right? That’d be visceral fat. The electro current will avoid it and it will just pass through internal tissues instead.
And this is perhaps why research shows that many two electrode devices like scales and handheld devices are susceptible to missing. Portions of your body. Another reason BIA is not reliable is the body fat readings that you get are based on equations. It’s based on math. There’s raw data, and then math to come to a body fat percentage, and the mathematical methods that are used.
To create these equations often give inaccurate results. Yet another reason why BIA is not very useful is testing conditions can greatly influence the readings you get when you use one of these devices. For example, studies show that being dehydrated will cause your body fat percentage true register higher than it actually is, and if you eat a large.
Beforehand, that will cause you to register leaner than you are. And exercising also leads to an overestimation of fat-free mass and an underestimation of fat mass. And the reasons for those things just have to do with electrical conductivity and how being hydrated. Makes your body less conductive eating a large meal, more conductive.
So in the final analysis, BIA readings are just too all over the place to be useful, even if you attempt to control factors like hydration, food, and exercise. So even if you know BIA is inaccurate, You’re not gonna be able to make sure that it is consistently inaccurate, because that would at least be useful for seeing how things are changing.
Maybe you don’t know exactly what your body fat percentage is, but if you could make the BIA device consistently inaccurate and you saw that your body fat percentage was going up, then you would know that you are getting fatter. And if it were going down, you would know you were getting. , but again, that’s not the case.
BIA is inconsistently inaccurate, so just don’t waste your time with these consumer devices, these scales and handheld devices. Okay, let’s talk about using CAS to do skin fold testing. So that’s measuring the thickness of your skin at certain points in your body, and then you. Add these measurements together and you plug them into some equations and then those are supposed to extrapolate.
How much of your body is fat-free mass and how much of it is fat mass? And unsurprisingly, there are a couple of ways this can go awry if you grab too little skin and. Too little fat. You of course, are gonna get a falsely low reading. If you grab too much, you’re gonna end up with a number that’s too high.
Research also shows that the equations that are used to convert the skin thickness readings into a body fat percentage can spit out some pretty wonky. Results. And therefore it’s no wonder that studies show that skin fold testing can miss the mark by up to 6% in in some papers, and that’s 6% absolute, not relative.
So let’s say you’re 10% body fat and you do a skin fold, a round of skin fold testing, and you make a mistake, well, you might register at 16% body fat and research shows that this has happened even when the testing is done. People who know what they’re doing, who are familiar with cas and how they work like bodybuilders and personal trainers.
That said, although skin fold testing is not a foolproof method for determining your body composition, it does have its merits. It does have its uses, and I’m gonna talk more about that in a moment in a few minutes. Let’s move on though to pictures and the. And just looking at what you see in the mirror is actually more useful than many people realize.
You can get a pretty decent estimate of somebody’s body composition just by looking at them shirtless, and this is because the visual appearance of various body fat percentages can vary quite a. Bit depending on how much muscle somebody has. So for example, an average looking guy, a guy of just normal musculature at let’s say 160 pounds and 10% body fat has about 16 pounds of fat.
But then a muscular guy at 190 pounds and 10% body fat has only three pounds. More fat, but a whopping 27 pounds more fat-free mass. And as you can imagine, those two guys are gonna look very, very different. And if you look at enough pictures of different body compositions and you have accurate numbers to go with those pictures, you can get pretty good at guessing body fat percentages based on what you see.
And if you want to check out some Mike, Proved images. If you want to check out, uh, a couple of charts that will help you get an idea of what different body fat percentages look like on different guys and gals, head over to legion athletics.com and search for body composition, and you’ll find an article that this podcast is based on.
And the title of the article is What is Body Composition and How Do You Measure? And if you scroll down in the article somewhere around like the one third mark or so, you’ll see a couple of images that are a good guideline. So they’re big images with smaller images in them, and they show four to 5% in men all the way up to 35 to 40%, and they show 12 to 14% in women up to 50 plus percent.
Okay, let’s move on to another method. Of measuring body composition that many people talk about and many people tout as infallible. And that is dual energy X-ray absorption, geometry, DXA, D X A or D E X A. And this involves a full body. X-ray to determine total fat and fat-free mass. And the reason this is possible is bone and different body tissues absorb x-ray energy differently.
And although it sounds like it must be pretty accurate and many people assume that it is very accurate. It is not, it can be just as inaccurate as any of the other methods I’m sharing with you, and there are a few reasons for this. Results can vary between machines, even if they’re produced by the same manufacturer.
The algorithms that are used to convert the raw data into body composition. data into body comp measurements differ, and thus the outputs can differ. So you can read differently on different machines. Uh, the type of x-ray used that influences the results like body impedance analysis. Your hydration status can significantly impact X results.
Even minor changes in the hydration levels of lean mass can be enough to skew the results, for example. And lastly, the results. By gender, body size, total fat mass, and even disease state. And just to give you an example of the variants that can occur, two studies found that individual error rates using dxa when as high as four percentage points.
Again, that’s in an absolute sense, not a relative sense. So if you’re a due at 10%, you can dxa at 14% or you could dxa at 6%. And in another study, , the individual error rates were in the range of eight to 10 points. So that’s not to say that you can’t ever get an accurate reading out of a Dxa machine. Of course, just as, I wouldn’t say that you could never get an accurate reading out of a BIA device and.
Xa reading is certainly going to be more reliable than a consumer body composition scale or handheld device. But again, many people are surprised to learn that dxa is not the final word in measuring body composition. Okay, let’s now talk about the BOD pod, which is a machine that measures the amount of air your body displaces inside a sealed chamber, and then uses math equations to translate that into an analysis of your body composition.
And like everything we’ve discussed so far, the BOD Pod does not measure your body composition accurately enough to be relied on. For example, in one study, individual error rates were up to. Teen percentage points absolute not relative. And in other studies they have ranged from five to six points. And the crux of the issue with the BOD Pod is its results are affected by all kinds of things like facial hair and moisture, body temperature, and even the tightness of the clothing that you wear inside the chamber.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my v i p one-on-one coaching service because my team and I have helped people of all ages and circumstances lose fat, build muscle, and get into the best shape of their life faster than they ever thought possible. And we can do the same for you.
Okay, so now that you know a bit about each of the popular methods of measuring body composition and you know why relying on any single one is not optimal, let’s talk about how to measure your body composition. Then. What is the easiest way to assess and to track changes? Skin your body comp. Well, for that, I recommend a few things.
I recommend you have some cas, a scale, a measuring tape, and a mirror, and then here’s what you want to do with them. The first thing is weigh yourself every day, but instead of fretting over the daily fluctuations, instead take an average every 10 days or even 14 days and just look at how that average.
Changes And the reason why this is way better than keeping a close eye on what happens to your weight every day is your weight is going to change as things like water retention and glycogen storage and bowel movements, or the lack thereof change. That’s why flogging yourself over small. Increases or decreases if you’re trying to gain muscle.
If you’re trying to lean bulk, for example, in your daily body, weight is silly and it’s counterproductive. So instead you wanna work with these averages. Some people like to take an average every seven days, but again, most people find 10 days works well. And a little tip for women is you can exclude the.
Week, every month when you are holding more water because of your period if you want. Some women don’t care and they just keep weighing themselves and they include those weigh-ins in the average and they just consistently include them so they don’t forget to include them one month and then include them the next month and conclude that they have gained fat or gained weight when.
They actually haven’t, they just didn’t include their period, their heavier weigh-ins the month before. So just be consistent with whatever you’re gonna do. If you’re going to exclude the one week a month when your weight just shoots up, totally fine. Just do that every month, or you can include it and just understand that you are going to consistently see, uh, Weigh-ins, and it’s not because you are gaining fat, and as far as how to weigh yourself properly, do it first thing in the morning after you use the bathroom, before you eat or drink anything and do it with no clothing on.
And then do that every day and every seven or 10 or 14 days, add up your weigh-ins and of course divide by seven, 10 or 14, and that’s your average. And then you watch those averages over. So that’s the proper way to watch your weight, which is a good idea to do. I’ve talked a lot in this podcast about the importance of body composition over body weight, but body weight does help us understand what is going on with our body composition.
We just don’t want to rely. Only on body weight. So now let’s talk about caliper measurements. And I recommend that you take your caliper measurements every seven, 10, or 14 days when you are calculating your weight average for the previous seven, 10, or 14 days, just to keep it simple. Now, the reason why I recommend you do this is while trying to extrapolate your body fat percentage from caliper measurements, is hit and miss.
The measurements themselves can be quite useful if you are tracking them. In addition to tracking your weight and doing the next couple of things I’m gonna share with you because if your skin is getting thicker over time, you are gaining fat and if it’s getting thinner over time, you are losing. Fat now in terms of what kind of caliper to use, anything will work.
I’ve used a caliper from a company called Accu Measure, and I have no affiliation with the company. It’s just affordable, it’s easy to use, and it’s a a one site testing method. That’s what comes with the caliper, and that’s not what I recommend again, as the. Single and sole way of determining your body fat percentage.
But interestingly, that one site method can be quite accurate depending on how you tend to store fat on your body. That said, when you are taking your caliper measurements, I recommend you take three. So if you’re a woman, take a triceps measurement, a thigh measurement, and a super iliac measurement. And if you’re a guy, take a pec.
Abdominal and thigh measurement and some tips for taking those measurements. One is to take all of them on the right side of your body while standing with your muscles relaxed because flexing is going to foul up the measurements. You also want to pinch your skin by placing the thumb and forefinger on your body about.
Two inches apart, and then firmly pushing them into your flesh and then pushing them together, and then you gently pull the skin fold away from your body. You also wanna make sure that you measure the pinched skin fold by placing the tips of the caliper in the middle of and perpendicular. To it. So between your fingertips, and you want to compress the caliper until it clicks.
If you’re using the Accu measure one, it clicks once you have applied enough pressure and no more than that. And then note the measurement. Now to take a triceps measurement, you wanna stand with your right arm at your side. Pointing at the floor. And then you want to have somebody pinch a vertical fold of skin on the backside of your arm, halfway between the top of your shoulder and your elbow.
To take a thigh measurement, you want to pinch a vertical fold of skin on the front of your right thigh, halfway between your kneecap and the spot where the top of your thigh connects with your hip. And to take a super Ilia. Measurement. You wanna pinch a diagonal fold of skin directly above the anterior superior iliac spine, which is the bony protrusion on the front edge of your hip bone.
Now you may be having some trouble envisioning exactly what you’re supposed to do there, so just hit over to YouTube and search for super iliac caliper measurement, S U P R A I L I A C, caliper Measurement, and you’ll find some videos. Show you how to do it. Now, as for the pectoral measurement, pretty simple.
You pinch a diagonal skin fold halfway between your nipple, so this should be on the right side. Remember all on the right between your nipple and the front edge of your right armpit. And then for an abdominal measurement, you pinch a vertical fold of skin one inch to the right of your belly. And so then you take your three measurements every seven, 10, or 14 days and keep an eye on how they change over time.
And for fun, if you want to see what a body fat calculator has to say about your numbers, head over to legion athletics.com and navigate to tools, which you’ll find under Learn on the menu. And then you will see a link to a body fat percentage calculator where you can plug in your measurements and see what it says about your body.
Percentage. Now, keep in mind though that those results may not be accurate. They may be high, they may be low, they may be right, but don’t put too much stock in it. It’s just there really, because many people like to play around with calculators, and I hope that they will find their way from that calculator to some good information that I’ve.
Put out an article or a podcast on the website about body fat percentage and body composition and how to measure it properly, how to improve body composition and so forth. So anyway, moving on to my next tip for analyzing body composition, and that is to take weekly waste measurements because the size of your waist measured at the belly button is a reliable indicator.
Body fat levels. If your waist is shrinking over time, you’re losing fat. If it’s growing, you’re gaining fat, and so that’s why I recommend that you note down your waist measurement every seven, 10, or 14 days. Basically, when you take your caliper measurements, grab your measuring tape and measure your waist, and of course, that’s all you need.
Just a simple measuring tape. Now we have pictures. That is my final recommendation, and that is to take pictures every seven, 10, or 14 days. When you are calculating your average weight and taking your caliper measurements and your waist measurement, also take a picture because what you see in the mirror, Really is what matters most, right?
And if you are gaining muscle, or if you’re losing fat, or if you’re doing both at the same time, you are going to be looking better and better regardless of what the scale or CalPERS or tape or anything else says. Right? So I recommend then taking front, back, and side pictures in. Consistent lighting and take them in as little clothing as you are comfortable with.
And over time, your progress or your lack of progress will be very easy to see. The key here, like with the other methods, is consistency and patience because body composition changes slowly. And when you look at yourself in the mirror every day and you tend to focus on the things that you don’t like, it’s very.
To miss the small improvements that are occurring every day. But if you take pictures every week or week and a half or two weeks, and then keep an eye on those pictures as time goes on, as months go by, for example, you might be shocked at how much your body. Has changed. All right. Class dismissed. You now know what body composition is, how to measure it accurately, and why you want to track it alongside the other things that you track, like your calories and your macros and your workouts.
And so that brings us then to the end of another episode of Muscle for Life. Thanks again for joining me today and keep an eye on the feed because on we. Another installment of Best of Muscle for Life is coming. This one is gonna be on beating back pain, rapid fat loss tips and motivation for training harder.
And then Friday I have another q and a coming where I’m gonna be talking about vegan meat alternatives, gaining strength, but not size and fitness for shift. Workers, and if you’re wondering why this didn’t come out on April 30th on that Friday, that was my original plan, but then I found out I have to travel to one of my least favorite places in the world actually, that I’ve ever been to.
Los Angeles to go to showrooms to pick out all kinds of things for the house that I’m building in Florida and the stuff my wife wants. I guess all of the showrooms are in LA or New York, and her brother is in la so we’re going to la yay. And anyway, so. That then of course, threw a wrench in my podcast recording plans, and so I had to push the q and a back a week, so Friday, May 7th, that q and a is going live.
All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should, The show.
It also increases search visibility, and thus it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well. And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new.
And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com. Just muscle f o r life.com and share your thoughts on how I can do this better. I read everything myself and I’m always looking or constructive feedback, even if it is criticism. I’m open to it and of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.
That is the best way to get ahold of me, Mike, at muscle life.com. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.
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