Say what? You haven't done it yet? Unfortunately, neither has the majority of the population, and this is likely one major reason they're not seeing success in their body transformation!
I'm all for teaching my clients how to count calories, if only for a few weeks, because it helps put them back in the drivers' seat and it reins in the portions and the slippage in our eating we experience from time to time. I also want them to know just how much a ½ cup truly looks like, and how to maneuver around the buffet table with ease.
It's a tougher fight to get women to take their body measurements. There's something quite vulnerable about standing near-naked, tape and calipers in hand, and measuring our most precious areas. It's even tougher to write those measurements down (and to take photos, which I ask all my clients to do at certain intervals in our training). But in my view, it's a necessary part of the whole process, and one that has always resulted in a much higher success rate for women who do it regularly (say, once a month or at least at every seasonal shift, and certainly if you've got a particular fat-loss / body transformation goal in mind...which we should all have at all times!
Here are a few other great reasons to pull out your body measurement tools!
1) You gotta know where you are to know where you're going: For most women, that means going down in inches (although some women and physique competitors actually want to see the inches get bigger in certain areas), but in general, where do you want to gain or lose? If you measure a 34 inch waist, then you know you want to shave off a good 6-8 inches at best, so there's a nice goal for you.
2) Loss of inches can occur even if the scale isn't moving: When we train, we are trying to add fresh, shapely muscle, not necessarily lose 'size' (for example, firming up one's arms is quite noticeable on women, but often the circumference doesn't change...but that matters little because under the surface you are changing the fat-to-muscle ratio (which is what you want). So now that same 12-inch bicep remains the same circumference, but the shape and tone has totally changed. This is where a good set of calipers and a body fat tracking system is extremely worthwhile!
3) You are better able to track your progress and make changes along the way: By taking measurements, you can better make on-the-spot changes to your training, eating, portions and more before it gets away from you! It's so much easier to turn a moving freight train that's gone off course when it's already in momentum....so much harder when it's gone way off the tracks into no man's land where it's hard to get it back! We gotta keep our hands on the steering wheel because that's the ultimate in control, and we need to stay on top of, and in control, of our bodies and our fitness and eating regimes.
4) Putting the scale in its place: Often women rely solely on the scale to monitor changes, but the scale alone is a poor determiner of how your body is transforming, and that's what we're here for – a body transformation, not necessarily a weight loss (and we prefer to call it a fat loss versus a weight loss...we don't need you to lose precious bone or muscle here, only fat). The scale is only one part of the whole!
5) Maintaining an aesthetic physique: This may pertain more to competitors, but even fitness gals can appreciate this one...the classic female shape has a smaller waist, wider shoulders, and full arms and legs. In physique contests, symmetry and being aesthetically pleasing is important, but aesthetics also mean a balanced physique (ie not having one leg bigger than the other or working a muscle back up to its counterparts' size, as in a shoulder injury or knee injury). The discrepancy in size between one leg and another can be a signal that one is being used more than the other due to injury in the knee or lower back, and in this way, you can better track its improvement with a tape measure.
6) Staying on top of things! In a nutshell, when you routinely take your measurements, you are staying in control and always in your game, and this leads to increased awareness, increased self-confidence and the pride to know that you are maintaining a tight, firm, shapely body. Don't let anyone tell you that you are supposed to get larger as you age, and things are supposed to drop and shift... only if you let it! A lifestyle of consistent training and quality nutrition will keep your inches, bodyfat and weight in its place for your lifetime! Promise!
Aim for at least 5 measurements: Chest (along nipple line), hips (widest part along buttocks), waist (2 points: along belly button and narrowest part), thigh (measure at the half way point), calf, flexed bicep and shoulders (optional). Remember to do it when you're 'cold' (not after training, in a relaxed state) and be consistent! For body fat measurements, choose at least 3 anatomical spots – triceps, waist, and thigh.
So wherever you are in your fitness regime, grab your body measurements tools and measure up! Know where you are and where you're going at all times and you will always live in a healthy, shapely, energized body for life!
Taking body measurements is sooo key to our fitness and health success! Watch how I do it....fast and easy!
Watch Karen's video on body measurement here.
Visit Karen's website: www.mccoyfitness.ca