As a trainer, one of the most common questions you hear is “how do I know how much muscle I am gaining when I am working out to lose weight?”. Building muscle and losing fat; it can be a confusing concept, especially when the numbers on the scale aren’t showing what you’d like. Sure, you’d like to believe that any fat loss was off set by an increase in lean muscle but how do you know if that’s really the case?
When initiating a new program, it’s important to take multiple physical assessments to determine a solid baseline from which you can progress. Sometimes, weight just isn’t enough. There are too many factors that can lead to strange fluctuations in your total body weight. Water is a big one. Take the time to snap a few pictures (post them on the site if you’d like!), take body circumferences, or best of all… test your body fat.
Very few like to do it, yet almost everyone gets frustrated with the scale. It’s really a simple process. Using a skinfold caliper, I can measure and calculate your body fat in about ten minutes or less. When you’re done, you’re left with a percentage of total body fat. Multiply this by your weight and we can calculate how many pounds of body fat you have. The remainder will be your fat free mass. From here, we can monitor how your fat to muscle ratio is changing and we can determine how much fat you are losing/have lost at any given point along the way.
The following are a couple of charts that can be used to assess overall progress…
Fat Loss Rates
Excellent: .5-1% loss every 2-4 weeks
Average: .5% loss every 4 weeks
Poor: less than .5% every 4 weeks
Excellent: 1-2 lbs. every 2-4 weeks
Average: 1 lb. every 4 weeks
Poor: less than 1 lb. every 4 weeks
Before you get started in any fitness program, set up a consultation for some fitness tests and measurements. In a few weeks, you’ll be glad you did!