How To Gauge Fat Loss Progress Accurately

First off, we ought to be focusing on the process based goals rather than results based goals.

Why?

  1. It keeps us sane
  2. It keeps us honest
  3. It keeps us moving forward consistently, and consistency trumps everything.

We have zero control over how fast results happen. This means focusing solely on outcomes is inherently problematic and inaccurate.

That said, some folks work really well with periodic result analysis. Furthermore, it’s not an either/or situation. You can focus on the process, while still using measurements to analyze the efficacy your fat loss strategy.

The point of measurements is to find the gaps in your game–to discover the way forward. The goal is to get information, not validation.

We should only take measurements, and I’m more or less quoting Coach Stevo here, “if we can look at them with the same objectivity as if we were counting the white cars in the parking lot”.

There needs to be zero emotional investment in the outcomes of the measurements for them to be an effective tool.

Now in my last post, I discussed the infamous fat loss plateau. I even gave some general tips on how to break through a plateau.

Today is about figuring out what to change specifically to conquer a plateau. Keep in mind, there isn’t one single way to take good measurements. This is just the way that makes sense for me and the awesome people I work with in my Online Fat Loss Groups.

Here we go

Pick 3 types of measurements. Every measurement method has a degree of uncertainty to it. We can lessen this degree of uncertainty by taking multiple measurements.

Here are my recommendations. These are based on the information they can yield but also convenience and accessibility.

Measuring Tape

Why: When my clients ask how to gauge results I often recommend paying attention to how their clothes fit. That’s what we want anyways, right? For our clothes to fit better? To be able to fit into the jeans we wore in college? This method is working on that same principal, except with numbers.

How: Wrap the tape around the belly button, belt-line, upper arm, and mid thigh. Or even just pick one of them. Record your measurements.

The grain of salt: The tricky part here is taking the measurement in the exact same spot. Do your best to measure the same point every time.

The Scale

I’ve talked a lot of shit on the scale in the past. I still do. However, it’s a tool that can be useful. A hammer is great if I don’t drop it on my foot.

Just to be clear, don’t take these measurements if they make you feel crazy.

Why/The grain of salt: The scale tells us whether or not we’re eating for weight gain, weight loss, or maintenance. That’s it.

Regardless of our body composition, consuming more calories than we burn causes weight gain. Note that I didn’t say FAT gain. The scale tells us nothing about body composition–whether the weight is fat or muscle.

The scale tells us if we’re eating too many calories or not enough.

Weight fluctuates for an insane amount of different reasons. Try to be mindful of this. For example, weighing yourself on your period will yield zero useful information for your fat loss goals.

How: First thing in the morning before you have consumed ANYTHING. For more accurate readings, weigh yourself 3 days in a row and take the average.

Calipers/Skin-Fold Measurements:

Why: Here we’re dealing with the muscle to fat ratio. This is what fat loss really boils down to. I’ve had many clients confess they don’t care what the scale says if they looked and felt leaner. So that’s what happens.

How: Make a C with your thumb and index finger. Pinch a piece of skin and pull it out a little. Clamp the calipers onto the fold of skin. Record your measurements.

My recommendations for locations to test are on the stomach (one inch to the right of the belly button), the front of the mid-thigh, and the bicep.

The grain of salt: You’re not going to be pinching the EXACT same spot each time you take these measurements. Just do the best you can.

When to take measurements and what to do with your findings

Take measurements every 3 weeks. 3 weeks is enough time for stuff to happen. It’s enough time to know if what we’re doing is working.

If at least 2 out of 3 tests say we’re getting results, we’re good. Stay the course. If we get 1 out of 3 or less we need to reassess.

Next week, in Part 2, I’ll show you what to do if our measurements tell us we need to reassess our fat loss strategy.

The first time you take measurements serves a unique purpose. The first test only serves as something to compare your other measurements with.

But remember, no emotion. None. Be a robot.

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Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook “Insanity Free Loss” 🙂

P.S. For further reading on this topic, check out Josh Hillis and Dan John’s book Fat Loss Happens on Monday. Full disclosure, I don’t get a cent from this. It’s just really good information.

I borrowed, and by “borrowed” I mean shamelessly stole, a lot from this book for this post. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

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