Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Scale Is Not Your Friend!

The reason for the title of this blog is simple; its how I feel. The scale is a tool, but it’s certainly not an end all be all.

Whether you’re training to get huge, toning up, or leaning out; you’re trying to add muscle. A pound of muscle is equal to a pound of fat in weight, but not in density. A pound of muscle is much denser than a pound of fat, and will take up less space. As a person loses body fat, ideally, there will be an increase in lean muscle mass. Over time an increase in muscle, and decrease in body fat will mean changes in how your clothes fit, a leaner appearance, a more shapely body, more strength & energy, but not necessarily large changes in weight.

Another tool you may or may not be aware of is what’s called a BMI (body mass index). A BMI is a good tool for sedentary people, but not for those who a very active, and carry a good amount of muscle mass. Like a scale, a BMI does not distinguish between lean mass, and body fat.

A good tool for monitoring your progress is a body composition test. Several sites are measured on the body using a caliper. Those results are then figured into a formula to obtain your body fat %. For men, a good range is 12-18%, while a good range for women is 18-25%.

My favorite tool, however, is how I look in the mirror, and how my clothes fit. I don’t need a scale, or caliper to tell me I can see my top set of abs, or that my pants are tighter in my butt, but looser around my waist.

If you are going to use a scale, use it at most once per week and at the same time of day (ideally first thing in the morning). If you use a caliper test (use a certified trainer who has experience in providing this test), use that same person all the time. This will keep the test consistent.

As I finish this, I ask one thing of you. Do not let any positive feed back you receive from the mirror, your friends & loved ones, your pant size, or your performance be negated by a number on the scale.

Scott Fleurant
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
Independent Team Beachbody Coach