By Oliver Wolter
Many times in the past I got emails like this:
I just started with my fat loss diet a few weeks ago, but it seems that since 2 weeks I am not losing any further weight - what can I do?"
What does it mean to lose weight?
What is this weight?
Water - muscles or fat?
And the letter goes on?
"It seems I started losing muscles as well, because I already lost 1/2 inch on my arms?" Again - What is this weight?
Water - muscles or fat?
Probably you will think "is he unable to read? - he lost 1/2 inch on his arms - so it must be muscles".
But this is not the truth. It can be muscles, but it can be fat or water as well.
Weight and inches are not the same as muscles
Wow - bold statement but this is the god honest truth. Or would you say that if you lost 2 inches on your waist it must be muscles?
Well - I bet you would say "hey if I am losing 2 inches on my waist it must be fat". While this is on most cases right it is also right for your arms and your chest and all other body parts.
Look - your body doesn't store all his fat for the "bad times" on your waist. Probably your body prefers to store his fat on your waist but that doesn't mean he doesn't store it anywhere else.
In fact you will find your body fat all over your body. Okay I am a real life man and know that only a minority of muscle building enthusiasts like me have a problem with some extra inches on their arms even if it is fat.
But fact is - you cannot decide where you want to lose fat. It's your bodies decision and there is nothing you can do about that.
But now I want to come back to what you should do if you want to lose fat. It's really easy and probably you are already doing this:
Tracking your body fat levels
Tracking your body fat levels is essential on any fat loss diet. But what is the right way?
The right way is always the most reliable way!
But what is the most reliable way?
To answer this question I want to ask you what kind of body fat you care about and want to get rid off?
Some body fat stored somewhere inside of you or the body fat anybody sees at the surface under your skin?
Well I bet it is the second one and this is exactly the point where you should measure your body fat. You should measure your skin fold thickness by using a body fat caliper.
Nothing fancy like body fat scales is as reliable or as cheap as good old body fat calipers.
It seems half of the fitness world is using some kind of electronic body fat measuring tools. But I say - it's a waste of time and money if you build up your muscles as well.
You can find it in any manual I know of: "this scale is not intended for people involved in a muscle building workout routine", but anybody seems to ignore this.
These electronic tools are calibrated with data of people who have average body fat and muscle levels. But if you workout with weights you don't have an average body composition.
How will I know?
I tested several electronic measuring tools on some of my personal training clients with very low body fat levels and washboard abs. Depending on this measuring tools - all had more than 10% body fat - one even had over 27% body fat on one of these electronic tools. Could you think of having washboard abs with more than 27% body fat?
So I want to come back to the body fat calipers. These are some great tools to measure your progress when it comes to losing body fat.
If you measure - always use the same formula to calculate your body fat levels. There are a few different formulas out there and they all give different results. But the most important thing is the measurement itself. So if you lost one millimeter on your waist skin fold - you lost some kind of fat on your waist.
Oliver Wolter is a world renowed fitness and bodybuilding expert. He is the creator of X-Size Bodybuilding Software.