1. #1
    Field Marshal
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    How to track weight loss and muscle growth progress?

    Hey guys.

    I need to know how exactly to measure my weight loss and muscle growth. I have one of those measuring tapes but I have absolutely no idea on how to use them. I don't know what to measure.

    I am a 26 year old guy. I weigh I think 185 lbs and I am about 5'10 or 5'10.5 height wise. I am getting tired of feeling like crap and low energy so I am going to start exercising and keep my diet on control... Which I have a plan for currently (but I don't mind any advice whatsoever, so if you got any, feel free to share).
    I want to get to about 155 or 160 lbs if possible 'cause that's what I was at when I used to work out regularly about 5 years back. I will think about bulking or leaning out when I get at that weight. I just want to lose weight at this point.

    I basically want to know what parts of my body should I measure for weight loss and how should I go about doing it.
    I also want to know what parts of my body I should measure for muscle gains and how should I do that.

    I don't know if I am supposed to have something flexed, or relaxed or a certain position or something when measuring. I have no clue about it. So I need you guys to help me figure this out. =)

    Thanks.

    P.S. My workout plan will mostly pertain to going on an elliptical for a few weeks for 20-25 minutes or maybe half an hour because that has been my favourite cardio machine back then. I am also going to use some of the weight machines to get back into the motion of lifting things and freeing up/loosening up my muscles. Also, I will be doing stretching to do that as well.
    After a few weeks of this, I will start doing free weights (dumbbells) exercises with combination of some weight machines.

  2. #2
    If you're measuring gains/losses rather than being too worried about the absolute number, bioelectrical impedance is pretty decent. You can pick up a scale for it pretty easily.

    While your mileage may vary, I personally wouldn't regard 20-25 minutes on the elliptical as near enough. It's fine to start there, but you'll probably want to go longer in the long run. If you're exercising partly to burn calories, the biggest thing is kind of the most obvious - invest more time.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectral View Post
    If you're measuring gains/losses rather than being too worried about the absolute number, bioelectrical impedance is pretty decent. You can pick up a scale for it pretty easily.

    While your mileage may vary, I personally wouldn't regard 20-25 minutes on the elliptical as near enough. It's fine to start there, but you'll probably want to go longer in the long run. If you're exercising partly to burn calories, the biggest thing is kind of the most obvious - invest more time.
    I would like to know basically whether whatever I am doing or will be doing, is having an effect on my body somewhat. Like, when I measure somewhere there should be a fat loss, that there IS actually a difference when I measure. This obviously pertains to me knowing where exactly to measure of course or what to measure as well as when should I be measuring. So, I think I do kind of care about the absolute number, just to have an idea and see the progression from month to month kind of thing.

    I know that 20-25 minutes of cardio would not be enough but that is, of course, just starting out. I will obviously increase it to like an hour after a few weeks, depending on how much I can do and how fast I can increase the time. I will have my cardio days and weightlifting days separate after a while as well.

  4. #4
    Epic! solvexx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lychee3000 View Post
    I would like to know basically whether whatever I am doing or will be doing, is having an effect on my body somewhat. Like, when I measure somewhere there should be a fat loss, that there IS actually a difference when I measure. This obviously pertains to me knowing where exactly to measure of course or what to measure as well as when should I be measuring. So, I think I do kind of care about the absolute number, just to have an idea and see the progression from month to month kind of thing.

    I know that 20-25 minutes of cardio would not be enough but that is, of course, just starting out. I will obviously increase it to like an hour after a few weeks, depending on how much I can do and how fast I can increase the time. I will have my cardio days and weightlifting days separate after a while as well.
    Unless you're an athlete and need exact numbers why even bother with anything other than a standard set of scales?
    If you're trying to lose weight just get out there and lose weight.
    You'll see the results in the mirror.. Don't worry about anything else until you start to look good and want to work on specific parts of your body.

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Pandaren Monk papajohn4's Avatar
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    I ve recently loss weight with the atkins diet. It was very quick.If you like meat then maybe you can do it. The secret to lose more fat than musckle is aerobic exercises. Doesn't need to be very intensive but it needs to last very long. Is better to go for a walk for 1+ hours rather than run intensive for 20 minutes. At the start don't overdo it cause if you are unused to exercises you may get an injure and that will hold you back rather than help you.

    Drink a lot of water, follow a diet and walk for at least 1 hour a day and you will see the weight go down fast and steady. Again not overdo it...if you eat very rarely and you get under 1500 calories per day you will damage your metabolism instead. If you search on the net there are many diets. Always remember that 70% important is your diet and 30% your exersece. Doing one of them only you may still have results but in much slower rate
    Last edited by papajohn4; 2013-03-12 at 12:08 PM.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Lychee3000 View Post
    So, I think I do kind of care about the absolute number, just to have an idea and see the progression from month to month kind of thing.
    What he means is: do you care exactly what your body fat % is now? Or is it more that you want to see if it is actually changing over time? Bio-electrical impedence scales are pretty awful for telling you accurately what your body fat % is now, but they will at least give you some indication of trends. So you might actually have 20% body fat, but scales might tell you you have 18.5% - 19.3% on any given day, even if you try to take the measurement at the same time each day, with the same level of hydration. In two months time you might have 18% real body fat, and the scales will tell you have between 16.5% and 17.3% on different days. So while not completely accurate, they're showing that you've certainly lost some body fat.

    Skin fold callipers similarly might not give you that accurate a figure for your real body fat% but they will reflect trends at least.

    But yeah, if you don't want to spend a lot of money on submersion tanks to get your real body composition, simply taking pictures every month and comparing will give you some indication of progress.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia View Post
    What he means is: do you care exactly what your body fat % is now? Or is it more that you want to see if it is actually changing over time? Bio-electrical impedence scales are pretty awful for telling you accurately what your body fat % is now, but they will at least give you some indication of trends. So you might actually have 20% body fat, but scales might tell you you have 18.5% - 19.3% on any given day, even if you try to take the measurement at the same time each day, with the same level of hydration. In two months time you might have 18% real body fat, and the scales will tell you have between 16.5% and 17.3% on different days. So while not completely accurate, they're showing that you've certainly lost some body fat.

    Skin fold callipers similarly might not give you that accurate a figure for your real body fat% but they will reflect trends at least.
    Thanks, this is exactly what I was driving at. If you want to make absolute declarations about your body fat, BEI is a bad method. If you're comparing yourself to yourself, it's quite worthwhile.

  9. #9

  10. #10
    The Patient Meeria's Avatar
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    I've actually noticed how bad mirrors are when trying to track progress. You do pretty much see yourself in the mirror every day so the progress isn't quite as noticable. Taking pictures once a month has been way more motivational for me as I can really see the change that way.
    Last edited by Meeria; 2013-03-12 at 04:22 PM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Meeria View Post
    I've actually noticed how bad mirrors are when trying to track progress. You do pretty much see yourself in the mirror every day so the progress isn't quite as noticable. Taking pictures once a month has been way more motivational for me as I can really see the change that way.
    When I had an accident on my motorbike and put on loads of weight as I could not excercise for ages, I did that. I also used my clothes as motivation, tracking my progress by being able to get back into clothes that were now too small.

    Scales and such are misleading, as if you are putting on muscle, you may not lose weight as fast as youd like.

  12. #12
    There is no good way of tracking weight loss if your trying to build muscle since your gonna weight the same the only thing that will change is your physique and its a long arduous process don't expect things quick its going to take a few years to see great results.

    155-160 seems a bit light at 5'10... or maybe that's just me I'm currently 195lb at 5'7 and 11% BF >_<

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Meeria View Post
    I've actually noticed how bad mirrors are when trying to track progress. You do pretty much see yourself in the mirror every day so the progress isn't quite as noticable. Taking pictures once a month has been way more motivational for me as I can really see the change that way.
    If you have a digital camera you can literally take a picture every morning when you wake up.

    I would suggest you keep a little journal with you of your daily weight, and you write down EVERYTHING you consume in it, you will probably find things you are doing adding hundreds of calories a day/week that you hadn't been thinking about.

    If you are also doing muscle growth, then in the same journal write down your max lifts, your number of sets and weight of each set every time you use the gym.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by obdigore View Post
    If you are also doing muscle growth, then in the same journal write down your max lifts, your number of sets and weight of each set every time you use the gym.
    That's a good idea, I don't know why I haven't been doing that! I've been remembering what I started atfor a couple groups and what I did the last time in, but I should have made a spreadsheet with everything, that would have been fun.

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