If you’ve spent more than five minutes on social networks in the past few months, you’ve probably seen this picture circling the web with the statement saying that “muscle weighs more than fat”. This statement itself is a paradox because one pound is one pound, no matter what you measure. But, as you can see in the picture, fat has more volume than muscles, and musclesare denser than fat. And this is why every fitness expert will tell you the same: your goal mustn’t be to lose weight, but to lose fat, i.e. to lower your body fat percentage.
First of all, let’s see what body fat percentage is. Simply put, it’s the total mass of your fat divided by your total body mass. It’s how much fat you have compared to everything else your body consists of: muscles, organs, bones, water, etc. Let’s be clear: you can’t and you shouldn’t remove all of your body fat. We need it because it’s essential for our survival – it protects our organs, provides us with energy if needed, not to mention liposoluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) that can only be dissolved and used through our fat deposits. A healthy amount of fat varies depending on the source, but generally it’s around 14-17% for men and 21-24% for women.
If you lose weight, it means you’re losing a bit of everything in your body – muscles, fluids and fat – and you just become a diminished version of yourself. If you think you should lose weight, it probably means you have too much fat. The majority of your weight loss should come from reducing fat. This is done by combining healthy nutrition and exercising.
How to measure and track body fat percentage?
Obviously, ordinary weight scales are not relevant here. There are several ways to measure fat, but most of them will cost you some money since they include some special and more or less expensive tools. We are not here to discuss those methods. We are here to show you what you can do at home and all by yourself.
- Measuring tape
As we previously mentioned, fat has more volume than muscles. Having that in mind, it’s clear you should measure your girth if you want to track your fat loss. All you need is a tailor measuring tape, a piece of paper and a pen. Measure the girth of your stomach, hips, thighs or whatever part of your body you think it’s critical and write it down. Repeat this in a week and compare.
- Fat calipers
A bit more expensive than the measuring tape, but still quite affordable, fat calipers may seem scary but using them is actually very simple. Grab your fat, pinch it with a caliper, read the numbers and find your body fat percentage in this chart. If you want to do it properly, follow these few tips: do not exercise before measuring, make sure your skin is dry and free of sweat, do it in the morning or at least do every measurement at the same time of the day. Use fat caliper every two weeks to monitor your progress.
Sometimes, the best way to check your condition and monitor progress is the simplest one – by looking in the mirror. At the end of the day, what you see in the mirror can be the best indicator of progress and, at the same time, a huge motivational boost. But, since we humans tend to have distorted image of ourselves, MyFiziq fitness app offers help by giving an objective view of your body. It serves as a tech addition to your mirror and it’s like an upgraded version of taking photos for monitoring progress. It’s simple: upload your image and the app will convert it to a 3-D image of your body. This way you can clearly see your improvement just by looking at your phone – no numbers, no complicated scales or charts.