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Measuring Changes in Body Composition

2020-06-16 | By: Snap Fitness

When it comes to weight loss, toning up or building muscle, the most important things to consider are:

  • Whether your goals are realistic
  • If you are eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • If you are engaging regularly in the kind of exercise that feels good for you

Sometimes the changes you are seeking won't happen in a month or even two, and that's ok. More important than how quickly you achieve your goal, is how you do it. If you make sustainable lifestyle changes, changes to your diet and exercise routine that you can maintain long term, you are much more likely to see long lasting change.

How often should I measure changes in body composition?

When we have a body transformation goal, it's easy to become fixated on tracking these changes. While this may be a very important part of your journey, weighing or measuring yourself frequently can do more harm than good. If you want to measure your physical progress, we recommend doing this no more than once a month.

How should (and shouldn't) I measure my physical progress?

When we start to notice changes in body composition, how should we measure them and what measurement techniques should we avoid?

1. The Scales

Without a doubt this is the most common method for measuring progress, but what does it actually tell us?

Scale weight measures your physical relationship to gravity. Being high or low on the scales can never completely diagnose your health, and for some people can be an inaccurate indicator of progress. Remember, what you weigh...

  • Does not determine your health
  • Does not reflect how much muscle or fat you have on your body
  • Does not make you successful or unsuccessful
  • Does not dictate what is “normal”
  • Cannot accurately represent your physical state

While scale weight is one way you can track your progress and may be suitable for some, there are more accurate measures.

2. Tape measurements

This is a measure for progress that is often neglected but is quite an easy way to track increases or decreases in size at 5 different sites of the body.

  • Chest - measure at the midline of the bust around your torso
  • Waist - measure at the narrowest point between your ribs and hips
  • Hips - either at the top of your hip bones OR at the widest point above your pubic bone
  • Thigh - measure at the halfway point between your hip and kneecap (one leg only)
  • Arm - measure at the halfway point between your shoulder and elbow (one arm only)

3. The way your clothes fit

This is a much more accurate way to measure how your body is changing! It isn't uncommon to see minimal changes in scale weight, but to notice we need to do the belt buckle up a little tighter!

4. Your performance

Tracking improvements in strength and fitness is a fantastic way to measure changes within your body. Whether you're measuring your performance through fitness testing or just how you feel in your training sessions, this is a process tracking method we encourage everyone to use.

5. How you feel day to day

When you prioritise your health and wellbeing, you feel good. There is no better measure of your progress than your energy levels, mood and how you feel within your skin.


​When tracking changes in body composition, make sure you use measurement techniques that are suitable for you. More importantly, remember that the way your body changes is only one part of your journey!

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