Keeping track

Performance Nutrition

 Just as we track objective data in the clinic and in your training programme, consistently tracking of your body is another powerful tool that can create awareness and keep you on track with your fitness goals. But there are some important things to keep in mind when tracking that can prevent you falling foul of the process.

 

Diversifying how you track your body can be a good way to not get stuck on any one metric. Small daily changes may be easy to see with one metric, but harder to see with another metric.

While we encourage you to use multiple different body tracking methods, if one or two don’t work for you then please find one you can be consistent with.

Progress Photos

Taking monthly progress photos, for body composition clients, can be a powerful, if not a little subjective measure of progress.

Ultimately, most people searching to improve body composition want to look better and so measuring that satisfaction with your appearance can be a useful and incredibly relevant metric to track.

Just keep in mind however, that visual judgement of change is still incredibly subjective! When assessing the visual appearance of your body your emotions can be a powerful manipulator of what you see. It's not like hard data where you know that a 5kg loss IS a 5kg loss. In your mind you still might see slightly tighter hips and narrowed love handles as being unacceptably unsightly and "bigger than ever", even if true progress has been made.

To dampen this effect, we advice combining progress photos with other hard data to dampen the emotional effects of interpretation. You may also find sharing your progress photos with someone you trust to be sensitive but also objective and truthful to be immensely helpful.

 

To do progress photos well, it's best to wear the same outfit in every picture. This makes seeing changes easier and more consistent for you.

4 angles of photos – these should always be with relaxed posture and not flexing or sucking in your waist line:

  • Front 

  • Back 

  • Right Side

  • Left Side

* Some people find it easiest to set your phone to video mode and turn to each position, pausing a couple seconds in each one. Then you can go back and take screenshots of your videos. 

For women it can also be helpful to take these photos at the same point in your cycle each month. your body as well as your perceptions will change a lot depending on where you are in this so its best to be consistent with it month to month. 

 

Bodyweight

Tracking your bodyweight should be done daily.

You will have heard before that your bodyweight fluctuates all the time. This is true. So, the best way to get around this is take lots of data points, create averages and compare the progress of your averages. We recommend weighing yourself daily, creating an average weight for the week and then comparing that average with the average of the previous week. Where ever this average is trending is usually the direction your nutrition is taking you and is not the result of daily fluctuations.

The best way to implement daily weight is as follows;

  • Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, after you've been to the bathroom. Ensure that you're completely naked and don't eat or drink anything before you step on the scales.

  • Record that data in a book or a spreadsheet and don't judge the weight until you've got and average for the week.

  • Lather, rinse and repeat daily.

Body Composition

Tracking how your body composition is changing is a great tool to see changes that aren’t related to the scale. You’ve likely heard before that muscle weighs more than fat. If your body is building muscle and losing fat, the scale might be at a standstill. However, your body is looking and feeling better, and the body composition measurements will reflect this.

Option 1 – Circumference measures

  • Hip

  • Thigh

  • Waist

  • Bicep

  • Chest

Option 2 – Body Composition via Machine

  • Dexa Scan

  • Hydrostatic Weighing 

Option 3 – Calliper testing

  • 1-site

  • 3-site

  • 7-site

If using a machine, read the guidelines carefully before taking measurements, as the scanners can be sensitive to physical activity, water intake, and other factors. Generally it is best to perform scans replicating the conditions of each as closely as possible (time of day, food/water intake, activity beforehand, etc.).