How Do I Know If I’m Losing Fat, Muscle Or Water?
We all know how I feel about scales for MY body (don’t own one, hop on outta curiosity every year or so), but you might use them and that’s okay. Just know that they are not the end all be all of fitness, health or even progress. It’s important to have other tools/measures to make sure you’re on the right track. Getting your body fat percentage checked is one of those tools (one that’s even more important than the scale in my opinion).
Using body fat percentage can give you a more accurate measure of body change. Combined with a scale, it’s a good way to know whether or not you’re losing body fat, muscle, water or even poop. The scale alone ONLY tells you if you’re losing mass, but may include ALL of those options. Losing fat (if you have it to lose) is usually a positive thing. Losing muscle, water or poop? Not so good. The scale cannot tell you what is what.
In most circumstances, fat loss = good. Muscle loss = bad. (If you’re underweight or have too low a body fat percentage, fat gain becomes good).
So let’s say you’re in weight loss mode (you can afford to lose extra fat without freaking your body out, in a healthy manner). Let’s also assume that you’ve had your body fat percentage checked and know your own percentage. From that point on…
Ways To Test Body Fat
Maybe not! Try this test (no cheating! I’ll know if you cheat, I’ve got eyes in your computer!)
Take out 5 plates, 10 plates if you’re doing this with a friend. Also, grab a measuring cup (a 2 cupper) and a bag of rice (any small grain will do).
Using the rice, eyeball the following on-to your plates with your hands. Have your friends do it too, but keep your plates hidden from each other. We influence each other results otherwise and this isn’t about being right. :)
Now, show each other your plates. Any difference? With your measuring cup, pour the rice from each plate into your measuring cups. Were you bang on? Not even close?
Most of us have a hard time measuring portions, so this is a good experiment to see if portion size is not your fortay!
The best part is that now that you know, you can’t un-know!
Give it a try!