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Do you measure your body? Today, I’m talking about how to take body measurements to monitor success. If you’re starting out on a new health and fitness journey, you might be surprised by the results you’re achieving if you look at your personal data.
I’m a big fan of fitness tests, and I know people are looking for the best way to drop a jean size. To know if you’re toning up, try recording your body measurements at key points during your fitness journey.
The best time to measure your body is right before you get started with your new regimen, so that you can witness the changes that your healthy eating and exercise plan is having on your waistline and all over your body. Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle or become more toned, taking measurements of your current stats can help to keep you motivated. Weighing yourself on a traditional bathroom scale is a very popular method of keeping track of progress for weight loss, but a weight measurement in isolation is not the most accurate indicator of your overall progress. Taking several body measurements will help you to keep a more accurate account of your progress.
I am a big believer in tracking progress, because doing so not only keeps you motivated, it can also help you to re-trace your steps if you stop exercising or slip with your nutrition plan for a while. Keeping a detailed log of your progress will only take a few moments of your time now, and it may save you hours of wondering later.
When the excitement of starting something new starts to disappear, being able to check your measurements may help also you to stay motivated to continue pushing towards your goals. The more body measurements you take the better. So, let me share with you some popular measurement zones and teach you how to measure up.
Many people notice visual changes to their face and neck almost as soon as they start to lose weight. Use a tape measure and record the inches around the mid-point of your neck.
As you tone up and build muscle, the measurement around your shoulders can show considerable change. Stand up straight and measure the circumference around both shoulders.
This is an area where many women hate to lose weight, and men love to gain inches, so keeping a measurement of this area is a must. Wrap a tape measure around your chest in line with your nipples. For women, as your inches decrease remember to get fitted for a new bra—especially for exercising—to ensure you have adequate support.
This is an area where it is wise to take two measurements. First, find the mid-point on your upper arm, then measure once with your muscle relaxed and once with it tensed.
One of the ways we notice changes in the waist is from our belt or jeans not fitting correctly. To get an accurate measurement, wrap the tape around your waist in line with your tummy button, ensuring that the tape measure is in line the whole way around.
Many people are often unsure where to measure in the hip area. I believe that the best place to measure is around the widest part. Find your hip bones and use them as a guide, as your hip may change shape as the results of your fitness routine start to show.
The upper legs are often slow to show changes—they can be a slightly fatter area, especially for anyone pair-shaped. But they are also quick to build muscle! Take the measurement at the mid-point between your knee and the top of your leg, stand up straight and try not to tense your muscles as you measure.
Changes in the measurement of your calf muscle are often very small, but take measurements just to keep track. Measure at the mid-point, which is usually the largest part.
I recommend that you measure your body in the morning, and record the time.
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Each time you measure your body, try to do it at a similar time. You can measure yourself at a time that best suits you. I find that as the day goes on I tend to retain water, so the measurements are slightly less accurate, especially around my mid-section after eating. I also advise that women avoid taking measurements during the time of their cycle for the same reason.
If you only see a small change in your measurements, don’t be alarmed. Celebrate every success no matter how small. That change can be the difference between seeing change and feeling good. Every positive change helps to build your self-esteem, so measure yourself up for success by being precise and detailed.
Finally, don’t get obsessed with the numbers. They are a way to monitor progress but should not become something that you check too often. Re-measure yourself every 10-12 weeks and make note of the changes. As you drop or gain inches, consider treating yourself to new clothes that fit well as a great reward. If you do not see a positive change, don’t get upset. Instead, use that as motivation to shake up your fitness routine and nutrition plan.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).