5 Reasons You Should Track Your Body Composition – AFL 1.2
In this video, we take an in-depth look into 5 reasons why you should track your body composition.
While I did define this term in the last AFL post I thought it would be appropriate to do so again. Body composition can be thought of as an in-depth look at the composition of your body. More specifically, we are looking into the values that make up your body weight – fat mass and lean mass.
By extension, body composition testing would be utilizing a method that tests your body composition, which there are quite a few. More on that in the next AFL post.
1) Trackability of fat loss
When you have the capability to track your body composition you are able to consistently see how much fat you are losing.
In the last AFL post, I went on a little bit of a soap box on the importance of fat loss v. weight loss, in essence, weight loss should be thought of as a very brief and surface level look at what’s going on.
Think of weight loss as being the figurative equivalent of viewing a 60-second episode recap of your favorite drama series.
Whereas fat loss would be watching the full 60-minutes of a juicy novella filled with deceit, drama, and romance (and in most cases poor acting – but I digress).
In summation, by looking beneath the surface, into your actual fat loss rather than weight loss, you are able to further comprehend the changes going on in your body.
2) Fat loss leads to improved muscular definition
To explain this to the best of my ability, I want to make a comparison between fat blurring muscle and being at the concert of your favorite artist – sounds nice right? (PS Hopefully you caught my punny statement).
At a concert to be fully immersed, and get the most benefit of being at a live show, you want to be arms distance away from the talent. For example, Beyonce, AC/DC, and – if you get past the personality – Justin Beiber.
The further you are from the stage, the harder it is to enjoy what’s happening on stage (aka if you need binoculars to see what’s happening on stage you aren’t fully immersed in the experience).
So to bask in the glory of being arms-length away from the stage you need 1) the talent – aka your muscles and 2) low body fat – aka less people physically in your way from being fully immersed in the experience.
By extension, you won’t be able to truly enjoy what’s happening beneath the surface (near the stage) if there is a physical barrier of body fat preventing your muscles from being visible.
PS if you have a low body fat but no muscle that won’t do you much good either – i.e. the figurative equivalent of being front and center at a concert without a band.
So when you see actors and models who look like they are in such great shape it’s because they have a low body fat paired with a good base of muscle. For example, Ryan Reynolds during his Socialite Life shoot (I said Vanity Fair in the video – whoops!) or Adriana Lima on – well anyone one of her shoots.
Less fat blurring your muscles means those once blurred muscles are able to pop out and say hello.
Ultimately this means fat loss leads to improved muscular definition
3) Improved program efficacy
Understanding this reason should really be a piece of cake. Obviously the more you know the more informed you are.
So by confirming or denying that your program is working you become well-informed on what decision to make next.
For example, if you are losing fat with relative ease and your program is going steadily, then changing up your program would be contraindicated.
Whereas, if you were struggling to lose fat, and subsequently you started losing muscle at an alarming rate, then you would be well informed that something needs to change in your program and you can course correct.
So by being more aware of what is happening to your body, you are able to avoid stagnation and plateaus in your program.
PS I implore you to not let yourself stagnate and go through numerous cycles of plateaus. I’ve been there myself one too many times, more than I like to admit, and powering through either ends up with more work later down the road or continued stagnation. Which is not fun for any party involved (I normally get mad at the world because I don’t like to admit defeat or concede 😅).
4) Retention of your hard-earned muscle
When you are following a fat loss protocol you will also inevitably lose a little bit of muscle (unless you are super, monk status, patient). Good new is how much muscle you do end up losing is entirely controllable. By altering the aggressiveness of your caloric deficit, weight training and consuming an adequate amount of protein you can easily prevent any unnecessary muscle loss.
By tracking your body composition you are able to determine your fat loss to muscle loss ratio. Something like 1:1 ratio is entirely contraindicated, after all, you busted your tail for that muscle why should you have to lose 1lbs of muscle just to lose a single pound of fat.
For example, a ratio like 3:1 would be much easier to swallow if it means decreasing your body fat at an appreciable rate.
While testing your body composition is extremely useful for tracking muscle loss, another tool you can utilize is tracking your strength levels. Losing strength at an appreciable rate is a very good indication that you are losing muscle.
So when you pair a workout routine that promotes retention of strength with a fat loss program you are able to coerce your body to succumb to your will of fat loss without muscle loss.
5) Eradication of the guessing game
Last but not least, by knowing what’s going on beneath the surface you become capable of no longer assuming you are losing fat.
By now, it should be abundantly clear why tracking weight loss falls pitifully short when it comes to fat loss (i.e. fat loss ≠ weight loss). Just like the client I mentioned in the last AFL post who, in 4 months, was able to lose 19 lbs. of fat and gain 17 lbs. of muscle. His change in weight was only a net loss of 2 lbs., yet because we regularly tracked his body composition we were able to determine the true degree of his success.
If you busted your rear for 4 months straight to only lose “2 lbs.” wouldn’t you start to rethink if ‘being in shape was for you’?
Don’t let the degree of your success be clouded by the lack of insight that tracking body weight provides.
Wrapping up, we just went through 5 reasons why you should start to track your body composition and how it can influence your fat loss and workout programs.
By regularly tracking your body composition you become capable of seeing what happens beneath the surface, improving your muscular definition, increasing the efficiency of your program and make course corrections as needed, retaining muscle that you worked so hard for, and eradicating the guessing game that often plagues weight loss programs.
Moving on, today’s freebie is the EVA Caloric Intake Calculator; this calculator was specifically created to help you with your fat loss goals. This free calculator will calculate the caloric and macronutrient intakes you need to reach your fat loss goal and how long it will realistically take you to get there.
Finally, I want to thank you for taking the time to go through this AFL post. I wish you the best of luck with your fat loss endeavor and I hope this post has given you some more incentive to get your body composition tested ASAP.
In the next AFL post, I will be reviewing the most effective ways to track your body composition so you can jump start your fat loss program filled with insight.