People will spend lots of time and money stressing over what method of body composition assessment is the most effective. There are a number of methods you can use to see if you’re gaining more muscle and losing fat.
There are one to four-compartment models of body composition assessment. One compartment models would be weight scales which just take your overall weight in kilograms or pounds.
Conversely, four compartment models may measure bone density, muscle, water and fat separately to give you a measure that’s potentially more accurate than just using scales.
Scales aren’t useless
People often heckle scales and tell you to throw them out. Though, I actually think that scales would be the most valuable means of body composition assessment. If people are telling you to throw out scales, it’s the person that’s the problem. Not the scales. They just don’t know how to use them effectively.
When body composition assessment methods measure more compartments, their cost, margin for error, client demand and accessibility difficulty increase. For instance, anyone can jump on a scale and see their weight. Though, not many people have a DEXA (the gold standard for body composition assessment) in their home and to seek its use can cost $50-$100.
Not to mention, in order to make sure the DEXA works properly you have to wear the appropriate clothing and be exposed to a small amount of radiation. This can put some people off, though the levels of radiation aren’t harmful to human health.
Benefits and considerations for bathroom scales
Bathroom scales are cheap and easy to use. You just have to use them properly. Fluctuations in weight occur all the time and you often hear the argument about muscle weighing more than fat so this makes scales useless. Though, if your goal is fat loss chances are you’ll be trying to lose weight, overall.
Combining scale weights with some simple math makes them far more effective. Weigh yourself every day. Usually, this is not recommended. Take the average of all your weights for the week by getting them all and dividing them by 7. Log them in a spreadsheet.
Across a number of weeks, your average weekly weight should decrease. This is far more reliable than weighing yourself sporadically and hoping you’ve lost weight.
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