Why Tracking Changes in Body composition leads to results:
Tracking your progress over time is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you reach your health and fitness goals. Whether that’s gaining muscle, losing fat, or both, by accurately tracking
your progress with something measurable instead of something visual like a mirror, or unreliable like a scale, you will be able to reach your goals faster.
That’s why tracking progress with your body composition delivers results. It offers objective, measurable values that translate into physical results. Although people work out for many different reasons, there are only a few good ways to track progress.
You’ll be able to gauge this progress objectively instead of guessing, and you'll be able to make smart adjustments in your training and/or diet as needed.
Tracking changes in the four indicators below will greatly help you plan, execute, and achieve whatever goal you have set for yourself:
Body fat percentage
Lean body mass
Body fat mass
Skeletal muscle mass
Tracking Changes in Body Composition Lets You Turn Your “I Wants” Into Actual Goals
It’s so much easier to get results when you set goals, and it’s even easier if you set defined, numerical goals based on your body composition.
What’s meant by defined, numerical goals? Something clear, not something vague like:
“I want to get bigger”
“I want to lose weight.”
These aren’t goals: these are desires. They express an interest in a general, overall change in body size or shape that doesn’t allow you to measure your progress in any defined, objective way.
How are you going to assess if you get “bigger”? You can eat 4,000 calories a day and get “bigger.” You want to lose weight? You can certainly do that by cutting calories, but did you know you can also lose weight due to muscle loss?You don’t want that.
So instead, let’s take these desires and turn them into goals.
“I WANT TO GAIN 10 POUNDS OF MUSCLE”
Why this is better: It’s safe to assume that in most circumstances, when people want to get “bigger”, they want their muscles to get bigger, not their waistlines. By defining your goal as being Lean Body Mass gain (muscle is the biggest component of Lean Body Mass) and putting a number to it, you have a numerical goal to work towards.
“I WANT TO LOSE 10 POUNDS OF FAT”
Why this is better: Similar to getting bigger, when people say they want to lose “weight”, it’s safe to assume that they really want to lose fat. You don’t want to lose muscle – muscle is metabolically active tissue that serves many important roles: from maintaining your metabolism to supporting healthy bone density to keeping a healthy immune system.
It’s likely that some muscle loss will occur when you try to lose fat, so by monitoring the changes in your body composition, you’ll be able to keep an eye on this and minimize any losses that may occur by making the necessary corrections in your diet and exercise program.
Tracking Changes In Your Body Composition Lets You Set Reachable Time-Based Goals
Sometimes, you start a fitness journey because you have a special event coming up. Maybe you’re going on a vacation and you want to have a rockin’ body when you hit the beach. Maybe there’s a wedding coming up, and you want to make sure you fit into a new/favorite dress.
Point is: there’s a deadline you want results by, and you want a solution that will help you get there. This is a really common situation, so common that nearly every fad diet or gimmicky product makes time deadlines a critical part of their marketing. These diets and products all claim to solve an immediate problem, which makes people feel better, and which is why popular magazines just love promoting them (looking at you, Cosmopolitan).
There are no shortcuts to losing weight, gaining muscle in a very short amount of time. But instead, by tracking your progress by tracking your changes in body composition, you can actually set real goals with real results that you can actually achieve.
Let’s build on the goals we made before, this time adding a reasonable time frame.