(908) 858-2839 Zack@tonebodyfit.com

I’ve seen many people not lose the weight they’d like to lose in the first month of personal training. In many cases their clothes fit better, they’re starting to feel better and they’re getting better at their workouts. They’ll even look better in pictures. What is going on?

It’s usually a combination of burning off fluffy body fat and putting on the same weight’s worth dense, tone muscle. Here’s an example:

“Sally” has just finished her first month of personal training. On day one she was 140lbs, and had never touched a weight before in her life. She wanted to get stronger and more tone, and she also wanted to lose about 10lbs, especially her stomach, so she could look good in last year’s bikini (instead of buying a new one).

By the end of the first month, Sally was shocked. She had put in 4 solid weeks worth of effort, and the scale hadn’t budged. It had actually gone up a pound, and the scale now sits at 151. BUT, when we checked her measurements, she had lost 2 inches from her waist.

This is a common occurrence for people who are new to lifting weights. Weight doesn’t change as much as anticipated, but there is a change in inches.

Should Sally be happy, or should she be annoyed that she didn’t lose any weight? Let me explain: there are two parts to toning up.

Part One – Adding Tone Muscle

When you start lifting weights and using machines, you start to build muscle. But not nearly enough to become “bulky” (You’d REALLY need to try if you wanted to look like a bodybuilder on the cover of a fitness magazine).

Adding more muscle to your body helps give you sleek tone muscles, instead of flabby arms that jiggle when you wave to your friends on the beach. Muscle makes your body trim, and helps you build a sexy hourglass figure. We want to put on some muscle to avoid looking “soft” or “squishy”.

Part Two – Burning Fat

When you start making better choices when it comes to food, you’ll start losing weight. Some comes from muscle, and some comes from fat. But if you’re consistently lifting weights, most of it will come from fat. In some conditions, you can even burn fat and build muscle at the same time.

Since muscle is denser than fat is, the same pound of muscle will take up a little less space than the same pound of fat. If you gain 10lbs of muscle and lose 10lbs of fat, you’ll weigh the same but you’ll “take up less space”. Your clothes will fit better, and you’ll have more definition in places like your arms and legs.

Another thing with fat is that it sits on top of your muscle (for the most part). If you want your tone muscle to show through, you’ve got to burn away the fat. This is the exact reason they say “abs are made in the kitchen”.

Burning fat and building muscle are two separate processes.

Here’s another example from a client of mine after one month of progress

As you can see, she lost 3lbs, and 3.5 inches from her waist. We used a few other methods to measure her body fat in pounds, as well as her lean body mass (everything that isn’t fat).

weight loss measurements

My client’s lean body mass stayed the same, suggesting that most of the weight loss in her first month of personal training was from body fat. This is why lifting weights is important. We want to minimize loss of muscle while losing weight, and eventually add more muscle (depending on your end goal of how you want to look).

Measuring your weight loss inches is an important part of being successful in the gym. It’s another tool we can use to see where your weight loss is coming from. Click here to read 7 ways to track your gym progress, and start applying some of them. They’ll help you better understand what’s happening to your body in the gym, and help you determine your next moves.

Why you should body measurements for weight loss by yourself

If you have a personal trainer, they’re probably measuring your weight loss inches for you (If not, but sure to ask them why). There are also some health coaches that will do this for you, and in some cases you can have a friend help you out and measure for you. I recommend doing none of this and taking weight loss measurements by yourself. You want to minimize inconsistencies, and try to measure the same way each time. All of my online coaching clients take their own measurements.

Each person will measure you differently, and different tape measures will also give you different measurements (thin ones pulled “snug” will measure slightly smaller than wider tape measures with the same tension). The clothes you’re wearing will also influence your inches, so if you measure them by yourself you can do them naked and not have to worry.

Basically, you’ll have a much lower chance of inconsistent measurements if you just do them yourself. It’s so unbelievably easy to do, too.

How do you take your body measurements for weight loss?

First you’ll need to get yourself a tape measure. You can use one like a tailor uses to take your measurements for clothing, but I recommend buying a myotape. It’s a hell of a lot easier to use, and it will measure you with the same “slack” in the tape each time. Also, it’s the only way you can measure your arm, otherwise you’ll need someone else to measure it for you.

Note: You’ll notice your myotape doesn’t start on zero, it starts on 1.75 inches. This is because the body of the myotape is was considered when the tape measure part was printed. This is nothing to worry about, and your measurements will come out accurate. Either way, the whole point of this is to show change in inches. As long as you keep using the myotape, you won’t have any problems.

How to measure your arm for weight loss

  1. The first step is to find the midpoint of your arm. First, you’ll want to find the bony point on the front of your left shoulder. We’ll measure your left side every time for consistency. Put the end of the tape measure there, and use your chin to hold it in place.
  2. Next, stretch the tape measure down to the crease of your elbow. What we’re doing is measuring the length of your upper arm, so we can divide it in half.

    arm weight loss measurement
    Remember: Your tape measure doesn’t start on zero. I start on 10 when I do this, and count it as zero.

    For example: If I measure from my shoulder to my elbow like in step 2, I’ll start on 10. For my arm the length says 22 inches, it’s really 12 inches. 
  3. Divide the length of your arm in half to find the midpoint. You can mark it with a pencil here if you want, but it’s not necessary.When you’re marking the midpoint of your arm with the myotape, 10 inches is our “zero”. So, for me to find half way I’d measure from the 10 inch mark to the 16 inch mark. That would be 6 inches.arm body measurement
  4. Wrap the myotape around your arm at the midpoint we just found, and put the plastic cylinder at the end of the tape in its notch.  
  5. Let your arm hang at your side, and  press the button on the myotape to pull it tight. Make sure the tape is positioned over the midpoint we just found.
  6. The number show is your arm measurement, record that and save it.
    measure arm myotape

How to measure your waist for weight loss

myotape waist measurement weight loss

  1. Take your myotape, stretch it out and wrap it around your body at your waist line.
  2. Put the plastic cylinder at the end of the tape in its notch.
  3. For consistency, you’ll position the tape measure over your belly button every time you take a waist measurement. If you want, you can use a mirror to help you make sure the tape measure is even.  
  4. Once you’ve got the tape lined up over your belly button, press the button to pull the tape measure tight.
  5. The number shown is your waist measurement, record that and save it.

How to measure your hips for weight loss

myotape hips measurement weight loss

  1. Take your myotape, stretch it out and wrap it around your hips.
  2. For this body measurement, you’ll want to measure at the widest part of your hips. You can use a mirror to help you.
  3. Put the plastic cylinder at the end of the tape in its notch.
  4. Position the body of the myotape off to the side of your body. This way it’ll fit more “snug” against the side of your hip, instead of the front of your pelvic area.
  5. Press the button to pull the tape measure tight. The number shown is your waist measurement, record that and save it.

How to measure your thigh for weight loss

  1. The first step is to find the midpoint of your thigh. First, you’ll want to take a seat and sit on the very edge of a char.
  2. Put the end of the myotape against the bend in your hip, hold the plastic cylinder in place. Measure down to the edge of your knee.Thigh weight loss measurement

    Remember: Your tape measure doesn’t start on zero. I start on 10 when I do this, and count it as zero.

    For example: If I measure from my hip to my knee like in step 2, I’ll start on 10. For my thigh, the number says 28 inches, it’s really 18 inches.
    For example: If I measure from my hip to my knee like in step 2, I’ll start on 10. and the number says 20 inches, it’s really 18 inches. We need to subtract 2 before we do the next step to get an accurate midpoint. For me, my midpoint on my thigh would be 9 inches.
  3. Divide the thigh of your arm in half to find the midpoint. You can mark it with a pencil here if you want, but it’s not necessary.When you’re marking the midpoint of your thigh with the myotape, 10 inches is our “zero”. So, for me to find half way I’d measure from the 10 inch mark to the 19 inch mark. That would be 9 inches.thigh body measurement
  4. Wrap the myotape around your thigh at the midpoint we just found, and put the plastic cylinder at the end of the tape in its notch.
  5. Press the button on the myotape to pull it tight. Make sure the tape is positioned over the midpoint we just found.measure thigh myotape

There are more places to take your body measurements

There are a few other places you can measure to track your progress. Your neck,  shoulders, chest, calves and forearm. For weight loss, these aren’t really necessary to record. What we’re doing is trying to get some data to compare month to month.

It’s also difficult to measure your chest and shoulders without the help of a friend. The goal here, is to give you a tool that you can use to take  weight loss measurements by yourself.

Between your arm, waist, hips and thigh, that’s four data points that we can track, and that’s more than enough to get an accurate gauge of what’s changing.

These four points are also the most common “problem areas” for women. Measuring your chest or shoulders would require the help of someone else, so I didn’t include them in this guide.

If you wanted to measure your neck, calves and forearm, you can do that if you want to. They’re unnecessary for establishing trends, though, so I won’t be adding them to this guide.

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