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How To Properly Judge Your Fat Loss Progress

Updated: 2011-11-30T12:30:48.434-08:00




If you don’t know how to properly judge your fat loss or fat burning progress from a particular exercise or nutrition regimen, you’re probably not going to be very successful. It’s just like in sports…you have to know the score if you want to know who wins the game. So in our fat loss and fitness efforts, we have to know our body’s score if we want to know if we’re winning, or in this case, losing. I’ve found that a big mistake a lot of people make in judging their fat loss progress in the pursuit of a fit body is to be a slave to the scale. The scale is a useful tool, no doubt, but I’ve seen far too many people stop doing the right things (like proper weight training) just because they gained a pound on the scale. But you can’t blame yourself if you’ve been in this mode before…for years most of us were taught to watch the scale carefully when measuring if we did or did not burn fat. But your body can fluctuate a few pounds up or down at different times of the day, every day. This doesn’t mean you’ve burned or gained fat, so following the scale can play games with your mind. Another big problem with using the scale as your sole judge of progress has become clear with many people adding lean muscle to their bodies recently. Muscle weighs more than fat, so let’s say you been following a properly conducted resistance training routine for the past few months. You’ve gotten stronger and you’ve also added muscle to your body. If you’re adding pounds of lean muscle to your body, you might see an up-tick in what the scale says. But assuming you’re not gaining fat weight, it’s a good thing. It’s not about weight loss, it’s about fat loss. More muscle means more calories devoted to building that muscle and keeping it alive. It also means your metabolism will get faster and become more efficient at burning fat. You’ll see that number on the scale drop soon enough, as the new muscle has created a calorie deficit in your daily food intake. What we really should be looking at here is body fat percentage, or how much your total weight is made up of body fat. Most men will be more than happy with their bodies when they get into the 12-15% range, and most women will be satisfied with a fat percentage of around 16-20. So go out and get a skin caliper, which is fairly inexpensive, or another measurement device so you can keep track of your relative body fat percentage. If it’s going down, keep doing what you’re doing, and don’t even look at that scale! Another tool I recommend using when judging your fat loss progress is the tried and true mirror in your bathroom. Now, this may sound simple, but use the mirror to judge your fat loss and muscle gain. Combined with liberal use of your scale and keeping tabs on your body fat percentage, your mirror will provide all you’ll need to judge your progress. The great thing about the mirror is that you’ll get great motivation from seeing your body change right before your eyes, and it will spur you on to even further progress! The other important aspect of judging your fat loss progress is creating realistic expectations of your new body. As I teach my Fat Burning Furnace students, our friends in the fitness industry often use the genetically superior to advertise their products and programs, and this can easily deceive you subconsciously into thinking all you have to do is follow their advice to look like the cover boy or girl. Well, I’m here to tell you that even if you have the most efficient plan or program, you still may never look like your favorite physique superstar or model. Research tells us that we are a product of our genetic inheritance. We all have our own inherited physical characteristics. For instance, some of us carry more fat in our bellies than others. Some of us have more muscle fibers in our legs and arms. Some of us carry more fat cells in our hips and thighs. Some of us are short, some are tall, some have dark hair, some have blue eyes, etc. Some of us lose fat and gain muscle easi[...]