Body Composition Vs the Scale


The number one reason a person chooses to hire a personal trainer is to lose weight. Some have tried to lose weight on their own and may have failed, others may have a constant  battle with fluctuating weight (shed/gain relationship) and other may have gone through a health related incident that has caused increase weight gain (illness, pregnancy or injury). Whatever the reason, clients come to me with their ideal number in their head as to what they want their weight to be and a date they want to obtain their ideal weight.

Well, picking a number for your weight is setting yourself up for failure.  We need to decode the number on the scale to understand the progress being made. First, when you begin a well-designed training plan you may have a increased drop in weight (possible up to 8lbs), the following weeks your weight loss will drop to about a pound a week which is an incredible achievement!

Second, when you step on the scale, it is literally judging a book by its cover. Think of it this way, you wouldn't go into Barnes & Noble, pick up a book, read the title, the author and look at the illustration on the cover then put the book down since well, no need to read the book since the title, picture and author revealed the whole story. No, you would open the book, possible read the forward or a couple pages in the first chapter. So, why do this to yourself?

When you weigh yourself the final number on the scale takes a reading of the total weight of your body. We are not 100% fat blob. Your body is composed of a skeletal system, muscle, water, fat, stomach contents, other fluids & waste etc.

Third, you constantly hear, “Muscle weighs more than fat.” Yes, muscle is denser then fat but if your clothes are still fitting the same or feeling more snug chances are you need to re-evaluate your diet.  Put the scale away and focus on non-scale victories- losing inches in your measurement check-ins, compliments from friends, or loose fitting clothes.

Body composition reads truly decode what is going on behind the BIG overall number on the scale. Take a look at Client “A”

When training clients I track their weight, BMI, fat percentage, muscle percentage and visceral fat. Why? Fat percentage measures the skeletal fat. Knowing the skeletal fat percentage permits me to know if a client is in the obese, overweight or normal fat range. Muscle percentage is important because it shows gains! Even if your goal isn't to enter a body building competition increasing your muscle percentage improves your health, increases your metabolic burn rate of calories, improves your posture, increases your life expectancy, and makes everyday life activities easier. Visceral fat- this is known as the deadly fat. Visceral fat is the fat around your vital organs. This is the fat we can't feel. Decreasing visceral fat will decrease your chances of Type II Diabetes and chronic diseases.