I’m a huge advocate of tracking and measuring. Although I haven’t always followed through with it, the older I get the more I realize how critical it is, both in reaching goals and for developing a sense of perspective.
This absolutely applies to fitness. Because losing fat and gaining muscle is a slow moving ship, we often don’t notice the progress we’ve made simply by looking in the mirror everyday.
Looking back on photos, measurements and logs from 3 months ago, on the other hand, paints a much different picture, and can show us how far we’ve come- or how far we haven’t.
I also believe in transparency, which is what my site is all about.
My Main Measurements
So here it is. Today is September 26, 2016. Monday morning. 7:30pm. I’ve had my cup of coffee with a splash of milk and I’ve drank about a half litre of water. Here’s the current state my body is in.
Height: 5’6 (169cm)
Weight: 158 pounds (72 kg)
Waist Measurement (at the bellybutton): 85 cm (33.5 inches)
Neck Measurement: 40 cm (15.75 inches)
(I’m Canadian, so my brain operates in a weird mixture of metric and imperial measurements. Forgive me ;))
Since my current goal is losing as much fat as humanly possible while preserving (and hopefully gaining) muscle, these measurements are the most critical. These give me an indication of my current level of body fat.
For those of you unfamiliar with how it works, body fat percentage is the total percentage of your body weight that’s made of fat (pretty self explanatory, right).
Measuring your body fat is tricky. There are a number of different ways to go about it, and unfortunately, they all have there flaws.
For most of us, knowing our EXACT body fat percentage is going to be impossible. However, we can usually get pretty close. The method I’m using is the US Navy body fat calculator.
While I don’t 100 percent know how exactly the math is done, it takes your neck measurement, your waist measurement and your height (and if you’re a woman, your hip measurement) to give you your body fat reading.
This may seem pretty obvious, but I’ll explain it anyway- the goal is to see your waist measurement go down. This means you’re losing body fat.
This is true even if the scale doesn’t budge. In fact, that’s a probably a GOOD thing that your waist is shrinking but the scale isn’t moving. It likely means that you’ve lost fat and gained muscle.
(And after all, that’s the holy grail of body composition).
The measurement you don’t want to see go down is your neck measurement. A shrinking neck measurement (when you’re already reasonably lean) is a sign of declining muscle mass.
My Body Fat Goals
It seem obvious with a name like “Average to Abs“, but in case it’s not- my main, overarching goal right now is fat loss.
As of today, with a neck measurement of 40cm, a height of 166cm, a weight of 72kg and a waist measurement of 34 cm, my body fat percentage comes out to 16%.
My goal is to get down between 8%-10%.
To give you guys a visual representation of what that looks like, check out this handy chart (source:builtlean.com):
My goal is to shoot for 12% body fat by January (about 3 months). According to the calculator, in order to do that I’d need to get my waist measurement down from 84 cm to 79 cm (that’s a drop of about 2 inches).
Which shakes out to about 10 pounds of fat loss.
Quite a challenge- but I’m up for it.
My Secondary Measurements
Like I said, fat loss is the name of the game right now- but that definitely doesn’t mean I’ll be neglecting my strength and muscle progress.
My other measurements of the day are as follows:
Chest Measurement: 93 cm (36.5 inches)
Shoulder Measurement: 114 cm (45 inches)
Arm Measurement (unflexed): 31.5 cm (12.5 inches)
It would be nice to see these go up. But since I know how difficult this is I’ll settle for just maintaining these measurements.
Thoughts On My Body
While my whole goal here is to get ripped, I’m definitely not at all embarrassed at the state my body is in (especially considering I’m 30, the age at which things start to go off the rails for guys my age)!
But it can always be improved.
Stay tuned. I’m hoping to post updates every 2 weeks or so.