While my previous article talked about when you can expect to see workout results and how to measure them, I felt it was also important to provide you with an easy to use body measurement tracking chart to keep track of your results and exactly how to use it.
You can download the body measurement tracking chart in an easy-to-print .pdf file here.
If you’re more interested in keeping track of your measurements on your computer, I’ve also created a measurement chart in excel that can be downloaded here.
What You Need to Take Your Measurements
Don’t worry…taking body part measurements is super easy. All you need is a flexible tape measure (fabric, not metal!) and a method to track your results like one of my above measurement trackers. You can find fabric tape measures at almost any art & craft or fabric store near you.
A partner to lend a hand is also a great help, they can make sure you are measuring in the same spot on both sides of your body, make sure the tape measure is level all the way around, they can also help measure some of the the harder to reach spots.
Optionally, a one hand tape measure made specifically for taking body measurements like the Perfect Waist Tape is great for when you can’t get assistance.
Where to Make Your Measurements
When taking your measurements, you need to measure with the same tightness and same spot each and every time – otherwise, you are not going to get accurate readings. The measuring tape should neither be too tight nor too loose – what you should be going for is just taut. If skin is starting to bulge out from over and under the tape measure, you are measuring too tight, and if it’s moving around freely, you don’t have it tight enough.
Here are the body parts you should always measure and how to measure them properly:
- Neck – Measure around the smallest part of your neck.
- Chest– Measure around the fullest part of your bust, under your armpits and around your shoulder blades.
- Arms – Measure around the largest part of your arms (flexed or not flexed, just make sure to do it the same every week.)
- Waist – Measure around the smallest part of your waist, if you don’t have a pronounced waistline and you’re fairly straight, measure at the belly button.
- Hips – Measure around the widest portion of your hips.
- Thighs – Measure the circumference of the the fullest part of your thigh, usually about three inches from your crotch.
- Calves – Measure around the largest part of your calf (flexed or not flexed, just do it the same each time).
Why I Like Body Part Measurements Over the Scale
Muscle weighs the same as fat but does not take up as much space(muscle tissue is more dense than fat tissue), which means you could lose a ton of fat and not lose much weight if you’ve been putting on lean muscle mass. What commonly happens when people begin a new fitness program is they lose fat and replace it with muscle. This means the scale could remain the same even though you’ve lost five pounds of fat and replaced it with five pounds of muscle. A good thing to always remember is this: losing inches is a better tracker of success than losing a ton of weight.
Taking your body part measurements will let you know if you are building muscle and losing fat, while a scale only measure body weight is just not smart enough to figure that out. You’ll know this by your body part measurements getting smaller while the scale number doesn’t go down too much. This is how I was able to tell that BBL was really toning my body. Even though I would only lose a little more than a pound a week, if I was losing inches, I knew I was on the right track.