As stated in the course, getting a baseline body composition measurement is vital. While generally we want to focus on process over outcome, we still do need a degree of tracking to ensure we’re making progress from a body composition standpoint. Below you will find methods of measuring body composition change, along with the InBody Pre-Measurement Protocol, which is important to follow to ensure valid tests.
1) Use an InBody device for the most accurate tracking of body fat percentage. You can do this at an AFS facility, or if you’re not local, you may be able to find an InBody near you here: LINK.
2) You can buy a home scale that uses similar bioelectrical impedance technology as the InBody online. That said, the InBody device is highly complex and costs thousands of dollars, whereas these home scales are much simpler, and cheaper, versions of the technology. That said, if you are willing to invest a few hundred dollars in a solid scale, and follow the pre-measurement protocols closely, these could be a solid option. Some options for scales are below:
3) You can use a regular scale, along with other subjective measures, to gauge your progress. While this is less accurate, and may not appeal to those who really enjoy data, at the end of the day, we can usually tell when we’re moving in the right direction even without hard data. Weekly scale weight tracking, along with subjective feelings of how clothes are fitting, and how you’re looking in the mirror, can do a decent job of assessing progress. There is the potential though for misinterpreting lack of scale weight loss as lack of progress if muscle is gained along with fat loss.
4) Use of circumferences can be an additional objective measure used by those using scale weight for tracking. While there are upwards of 12 circumference sites you could use, many are difficult to accurately measure without training, or on oneself. The easiest and most informative ones to do on yourself are listed below:
- Abdominal taken across the belly button
- Waist taken at the narrowest section of the mid-section, usually a few inches above the belly button
- Hips at the widest part of your glutes
- Unflexed bicep with arm held at chest level
For all of these measurements, do your best to ensure the measuring tape is going level across the body. If the tape is even slightly non-level or askance, it can result in fairly significant, and confounding, results.
InBody Pre-Measurement Protocol:
- Please dress as follows for the InBody measurement:
- “Light” pants (avoid jeans)
- Remove all jewelry (earnings and other piercings do not need to be removed).
- In order to ensure an accurate and reliable measurement please adhere to the following premeasurement criteria:
- DO NOT test if you are pregnant or have medical implants (such as pacemakers) or other life sustaining medical implants
- Do not restrict your normal fluid consumption the day before the test
- Do not eat 3-4 hours prior to the test
- Do not exercise 6 hours prior to the test
- Do not shower immediately prior to the test
- Do not use lotion or ointment on your hands or feet prior to the test
- Limit alcohol consumption the day before your test
- Limit caffeine consumption the day of your test