I’m a huge advocate for the collection of data to better understand how the body is responding to dietary manipulation in tandem with fitness pursuits.
And, there is a wide spectrum of tools and resources available; the scale is simply one of them.
I believe that what we measure, we can better manage. We are better able to create our desired outcome when we have a clear understanding of the metrics. Where we begin, the collection of data through various modalities to monitor progress over time, and what that looks like in terms of the trajectory of where we are versus where we are headed are important aspects of the process of modifying body composition.
We so easily get fixated on one aspect of measurement that it becomes difficult to view the bigger picture.
With my private nutrition clients, I utilize a number of different tools for gauging progress depending on the client’s comfort level. Scale weight, measurements, and photographs are the most common ones because they are among the easiest.
I’ve also recommended body composition analysis, which is my favorite tool because the data is so in-depth but it’s not the most convenient option. (More on this below.)
For some clients, using other biomarkers such as overall feelings of wellbeing, improvement in sleep, consistent bowel movements, increased energy, etc. are used.
I’ve had clients use a garment to help keep track of their composition changes by monitoring how the clothing fits and feels each time they put it on. (I’m a fan of this one too! Getting reports from clients that something that previously didn’t fit, now does, is a powerful way to witness the needle moving forward!)
I find that clients that embrace using a variety of these tools have better results. And by better results, I’m not only talking about weight loss or muscle gain. Having a solid grasp on changes in the body based upon data is really empowering; knowledge is literally power!
As for me personally, I monitor my body composition via Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) by InBody pretty infrequently because it’s not something that’s easily accessible. But I really appreciate the insight it provides me when I do make the effort. (And by effort, I’ll have you know that I delayed my coffee consumption by nearly four hours this morning which was absolute torture!!)
There are a number of other analysis tools via bioelectrical scan, hydrostatic weighing, etc., and I highly recommend seeking it out if you’re as interested in data and monitoring body composition changes as I am. Even infrequent analysis is worth it!
I wasn’t overly surprised by anything the data revealed, except for the fact that I am apparently shrinking. I’ve asserted that I’m a solid 5’7 despite knowing that I’m actually 5’6 ¾. However, today I was 5’6 ½. Geesh.
There are two main reasons I opted to get tested. First, I was curious about where my body fat percentage is currently sitting as I near the end of an anabolic state (building) or, in other words, trying to add some muscle mass to my frame before I switch to a catabolic phase.
The other reason is that I have deficiencies that I’m trying to resolve. For example, my right leg has more muscle mass than my left leg, which is visually apparent (and not ideal when symmetry is important for my sport), and I’ve been working to create more balance. My efforts seem to be helping so that was good news.
(Today’s analysis did reveal that my arms are pretty imbalanced too, which I wasn’t aware of. My right arm is significantly smaller than my left. Dang, I’m lopsided! Lol.)
My intention in sharing all of this is to let you know that there are so many ways to observe our progress when we are striving towards making changes. And oftentimes, the best results are ones that we have the most difficulty “seeing” in ourselves.
Also, I am now offering a year-long coaching package! If you would benefit from having long-term support to help you navigate your personal nutrition needs, and accountability completely customized to you, check out the details via the link below.
The investment is your declaration that you are ready to take radical responsibility for your health and wellbeing and I’d be honored to take the journey with you.
Information about the package can be found on my Functional Nutrition page. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!