Why and How to Take Body Measurements

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When it comes to exercise and weight loss, there are many ways to track your progress. There is, of course, a scale, which is probably the easiest and most accessible, but there is one big problem with the scale: Unfortunately, it will often lie to you about your progress.

Scales measure everything — every sip of water, every bite of food, your bones, muscles, organs, fat. There’s no way to distinguish between what you’re gaining (maybe just water) or losing (again, possibly water).

That’s where body measurements come in. Measurement is a better way to track progress because you’ll know what’s really going on with your body. Knowing how to take body measurements is a useful tool if you’re trying to change body composition by losing fat and/or adding muscle.

How to take body measurements

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There are a few things to keep in mind when taking body measurements. First, wear loose fitting clothes or no clothes at all if you can. Stand with your legs and body relaxed during all measurements.

How to measure yourself

Be sure to use a flexible, non-stretch tape measure. A cloth measuring tape is a good choice, or you can use one specifically made for body measurements, such as the MyoTape Body Protractor.

For accuracy, take your measurements at least twice. Take the average of both measurements to get your final number.

For all measurements, pull the tape measure so that it rests on the skin surface, but does not compress the skin. You can record your measurements in this progress chart every four weeks to see if you’re losing fat. Some people can lose a few inches without losing weight. It could be a sign that you are losing fat and gaining muscle.

Every time you measure again, do it at the same time and under the same circumstances, so you can trust the results. For example, some people like to measure first in the morning before eating or drinking anything.

Where to measure?

Here’s where to measure different body parts:

  • Abs: Stand with your feet together and torso straight but relaxed, and find the widest part of your torso, usually around your navel.
  • Arm: Stand up straight with one arm relaxed, and find the point between the shoulder blade and the elbow of that arm.
  • Calves: Measure halfway between knee and ankle.
  • Chest: Stand with your feet together and torso straight, and find the widest part around your bust.
  • Hip: This is the widest part of your glutes. Try looking in the mirror while standing sideways. Make sure that the tape is parallel to the floor.
  • Thighs: Find the midpoint between the bottom of the buttocks and the back of the knees, or use the widest part of the thighs.
  • Belt: Find your natural waist or the narrowest part of your torso.
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How body measurements change over time

Body composition

One thing that people want when starting a weight loss program is to make the fat disappear in some areas, but still focus on other areas. Unfortunately, we couldn’t choose where the fat came out. Everyone’s body composition – your amount of fat, muscle, and other tissues – is different and will change over time based on your lifestyle and activity, as well as the aging process.

Your body will lose body fat, but the areas that contain excess fat will take longer. The bottom line is, you can’t control where the fat comes out, but you can look at your own and your parents’ body type and get an idea of ​​where you tend to store more fat and where. do you not.

To some extent, we are all held hostage by our genes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change your body. To do that, make sure you have a complete exercise program that includes a combination of cardio three to seven times a week, strength training all of your muscle groups from two up to three times a week and a healthy, reduced-calorie diet allows you to burn more calories than you eat.

Follow that plan and allow your body time to respond to it. It can take weeks or months to see results, so you should focus on other goals like getting stronger or getting healthier.

Muscle vs Fat

Another strange weight loss phenomenon is that you can completely lose a few inches from your body without actually losing weight on the scale. This is another reason the scale can be a scam, because, as mentioned before, it weighs everything and it can’t tell you what’s going on or what’s going on.

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When you gain muscle, you may lose a few inches even though you’re not losing weight, and that’s completely normal if you’ve added strength training to your routine or you’re doing a new activity that helps your body. You build more lean muscle than a tissue. Muscle weighs more than fat, but it takes up less space. If your goal is to build muscle, this is a great sign that you are reaching your goal.

That’s why taking your measurements can tell you more than your weight, and why it’s your body composition, not your weight, that really tells the true story.

Track your progress

It’s wise to take measurements every two to four weeks to see how your efforts are affecting body composition while you’re actively trying to build muscle, lose weight, or both. . If you’re trying to maintain your results, taking measurements every month or two should suffice.

Topical slimming, or exercising a certain body part in hopes of getting rid of the fat there, is not usually effective for most areas of the body. Taking your measurements will help you ensure that fat is dropping, even if you’re not losing fat exactly where you want it to be.

Normal body measurements

Many of us may wonder if our measurements are normal for our weight and height.

The short answer to this is yes, whatever your measurements are, they are normal for you. Look around, you will see that everyone has different body shapes and sizes. It can be helpful to know general body types, which describe where we store extra fat.

For women, we tend to use body shape:

  • Apple: Apple shaped people have wider shoulders and narrower hips.
  • Straight or rectangular: This shape has little difference between bust, waist and hip measurements.
  • Pear: This person has bigger hips than chest.
  • Hourglass: In this shape, the hips and bust are almost the same, with a narrower waist.
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Some women also wonder what “normal” shoulder width is like. Again, like all other measurements, shoulder width is normal for you, but may not be for others.

On average, women’s shoulder width ranges between 17 inches. It is measured along your back from the top of one armpit to the other. Remember, for women, the hip line is usually the widest part of the body, while for men, the widest part is the shoulder line.

For men, we usually categorize body types rather than shapes: These body types are not a scientific description of the human body, but a way of describing general characteristics. Most people belong to many groups and your body type can change with your lifestyle.

  • Ectomorph: People with this body type tend to be thin and may even find it difficult to gain weight due to a faster metabolism.
  • Endomorph: This body type tends to have higher body fat, large bones, and a slower metabolism, making it difficult to lose weight.
  • Mesomorphs: With this type, a person has more muscle and can more easily lose fat and gain muscle.

Most of us fall somewhere on this continuum, but what does this information mean to you?

Knowing your body type or shape tells you where your body stores excess fat. Understanding your body can ease your frustration if you don’t lose fat in those stubborn areas right away. As long as you’re losing fat somewhere, you’re on the right track.

A very good word

If your waistline is over 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men, you have a higher risk of certain chronic diseases. Work with your healthcare provider to help you lose belly and overall body fat to improve your health.

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