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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Importance of Measuring Body Composition When Losing Fat

Understanding what body composition is and how to measure it is one of the best fat loss tips I know.

If you simply focus on losing weight, you never really know where that weight is coming from. Is it coming from your fat weight or something else? If you don't understand the difference then read on...

What is body composition?

Your body composition is the ratio of fat to lean tissue. If you are overweight and have high levels of body fat, then your body composition is unhealthy. If you have a low body fat percentage, then you have a healthy body composition.

Why is measuring it useful?

Imagine that every week you are losing 2 lbs, according to the scales in your bathroom. After one month your have lost 10 lbs. You are extremely happy with the result. But you notice you still aren't looking all that great. Your body shape hasn't changed, you are just a smaller version of what you were before. What's going on?

Measuring your body composition tells you the answer. It might tell you that of the 10 lbs you lost, 4 lbs of it was fat, but an alarming 6 lbs was muscle (lean tissue). Obviously losing muscle is a big problem. It leaves you weaker and with a slower metabolism. Because you have this extra piece of information, you know that the diet you thought was working is clearly flawed.

Knowing this, you can make the necessary changes to your diet and training program so that next month you lose 10 lbs of fat on 0 lbs of muscle.

How do you measure body composition?

The best was is get your body fat tested by a professional. Personal trainers and some doctors will offer this service. For the results you can calculate the amount of fat and lean muscle you have gained or lost.

Alternatively, you can buy a pair of skin-fold calipers. This tool lets you measure the thickness of the layer of fat covering your muscles. By doing this is a variety of places and entering the numbers into a formulae, you can get some idea of your body fat.


Understanding how much fat versus muscle you are gaining and losing when on a diet is critical to your success. Make sure you check your body composition regularly, rather than simply replying on body weight to judge your progress.

Ryan Rhodes is body transformation specialist, helping people implement a scientific gimmick-free approach to fat loss and build the best body of their lives. Visit today to start your journey to a better you.

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