NOTE: Measurements are helpful for tracking big changes, not small changes. The degree of accuracy can vary too much to analyze small changes. Depending on the circumstance during measuring, differences can be up to 5 pounds, 1-3 inches, and 1-5% body fat. If your level of fitness or body composition is above average, you’ll want to have a skilled professional take your measurements. I say this so that you don’t misinterpret or overanalyze the results. A collection of measurements over time will tell the true results, not a single day or week.
The ideal time to take measurements is first thing in the morning, immediately as you rise out of bed. This is when your body has the least amount of factors affecting these numbers.
Not all measurements are needed, but more measurements gives us more indicators. For example, your body fat may be dropping, but your weight stays the same. Or perhaps your weight is the same, but your waist size is smaller. The numbers in these cases may not show any results when in fact, you are making progress.
Understand that these measurements can fluctuate based on a number of factors. Don’t get hung up on any one number. We’re using these numbers to track long-term changes. If the numbers show a drastic change, that may be an indication of something worth noting.
Sometimes the changes can be so subtle, we don’t even realize they’re happening. One of my biggest regrets with my students and in my own training is not taking more progress photos. Take before and after photos, as often as you like, but at least once a month. This is the history of your body in the making and the best way to see your progress. Before and after photos will keep you motivated and proud of your progress.