Know your numbers

Know your numbers! Using body fat testing to guide your fitness program

Know your numbers

People start working out for various different reasons. Some want to feel good and relax after a long working day, others might wish to build some muscle and become stronger. One of the most common reason to join a fitness club is losing weight. Everybody has been there, or at least has heard some people around them, saying things like: “I want to lose 10 pounds in 6 weeks”, or “If only I could weighed less”. What nobody seems to talk about is, is it the numbers on the scale that need to go down, or the body fat percentage?

It is easy to get obsessed with a desired weight. You might remember that some years ago а specific number was your weight and you looked very good back then, or you think that if you lose exactly 10 pounds, you would finally reach that “perfect look“.  Or you could be on the other side of the scale madness and chase a certain number, because you want to look more muscular. No matter what your goal is, you should focus on how you feel during the process and how your body changes.  A common mistake that many people make is to measure their weight very soon after they had started working out. Many times they might had actually gained a little bit of weight, instead of lost some. Had this happened to you? This is completely normal, because the beginning when you start working out is the period when your muscles grow at the fastest rate.  In general, people build muscle slightly faster than they lose weight, so it is possible that your muscles are becoming heavier, but you are still going to lose fat and become leaner. Because of this, you should not be concerned about the number on the scale. Unfortunately, not many people know this and they freak out when they step on the weight scale too soon. They start doubting their workout plan and diet, and become more and more impatient to see those numbers finally going down. This could lead to more extreme diets or even starvation, which is completely unnecessary. Don’t let this happen to you and be aware that every day you stick to your plan is a day closer to your goal!

The best way to track your progress accurately is to use body fat testing. The center of interest of every person, who aims to improve their shape, should always be the body fat to lean mass ratio, not the number on the scale. Hydrostatic underwater weighing has been considered to be the gold standard for body composition assessment. It measures a person’s total body density using Archimedes’ Principle of displacement, which states that the buoyant force on a submerged object is equal to the weight of the fluid that is displaced by the object. (1) This principle is useful for determining a person’s percentage of body fat because the density of fat mass and fat-free mass are constant. Lean tissue, such as bone and muscle, is denser than water, and fat tissue is less dense than water.(2)  The method of underwater weighing is very simple and does not take long. The person is first weighed on dry land. Next, the individual will get into a large tank of water. While sitting on a special scale, they are lowered underwater and asked to expel all the air from their lungs and remain motionless while the underwater weight is measured. This procedure is repeated three times and averaged. (3)

Tracking your fitness progress using body fat testing can be very beneficial and can save you from potential misapprehensions. If your goal is to look leaner, fitter and lose body fat, taking a hydrostatic submersion test a few times on fixed periods, could be the extra push and motivation that you need, in order to stay consistent with your plan.  This way you would have a clear tracking record of your progress and you will be able to notice the things that worked well, when the progress is sufficient and avoid the mistakes you made, when the progress is not sufficient. Furthermore, like we mentioned earlier, when you are on a diet and training program for weight loss, in the first few weeks your weight could stay the same or even increase. A body fat testing would prevent you from this confusion. It will show the changes in your body composition and you will not be bothered about the number on the scale, because you would know that you are on the right path. One pound of fat and one pound of muscle does not have the same size, even though they are both one pound. Muscles have a heavier structure than fats, which is the reason why measuring only the weight is very tricky and relative.

Competitors and athletes from all kinds of sports could benefit from body fat testing too.  Knowing only your weight is not enough; it is a lot better to know what those pounds actually contain. If you are competing in a sport with weight categories, you don’t just want to fit in a certain category – you want this weight to be as functional as possible. A tank test will give you the information you need to accomplish this easier. Body analytics knowledge is always useful and could be the missing piece in your fitness routine that will take your progress to the next level. Have trust in your diet and personal or group training. If you are consistent with them, they are definitely working. Results take time to become visible, so relax and keep track of your real numbers!

Are you from Allen, Plano or Dallas? If yes, come and take a hydrostatic body fat test at [Hidden Gym]! Once you try it, you will not have any doubts why it is considered to be the most accurate test out there! Experience the perks of training like a professional and achieve professional results!

Key words: hydrostatic, body analytics, tank, test, personal training, group training, diet, motivation, Allen, Plano, Dallas, Hidden Gym, body composition, body fat, submersion, gym, fitness club

References:

  1. Field Comparison of Body Composition Techniques: Hydrostatic Weighing, Skinfold Thickness, and Bioelectric Impedance
  2. Assessment methods in human body composition
  3. How to Measure Body Fat With Hydrostatic Underwater Weighing