How do you know if your current bodybuilding program is working or not? Well, most guys and gals use a combination of the mirror and the scale. However, BOTH of these methods can be deceiving to say the least.
The mirror often shows us exactly what we want to see ("Man! Just LOOK at the size of my chest after only ONE WORKOUT!")
And those ups or downs you see on the scale may mean gains in FAT, or even worseтАж.loss of MUSCLE!
So how CAN you determine your progress?
If you really want to know if your gains and losses are muscle or fat, there's a simple formula you can use. Don't worryтАжyou won't have to break out your old algebra books for this one.
Just follow along with the Muscle NerdтАж
Step 1: Step on the scale.
You need a baseline measurement of your weight for figuring out the rest of the formula.
Step 2: Measure your bodyfat.
While there are several ways to accomplish this, one of the easiest and least expensive ways is to use a bodyfat caliper. Nowadays, you can pick up one up for around $20 that will do the trick. Follow the instructions with the device to determine the ratio of lean weight to fat in your body.
Step 3: Multiply your weight by your measured bodyfat percentage to find out how much fat you're lugging around. Record your answer for future measurements.
Example: 185 lbs. X 17.5% (or .175)=32.4 lbs of fat
Step 4: Subtract the amount of fat (in pounds) from your original bodyweight in Step 1.
Example: 185 lbs. (original weight) - 32.4 lbs (of fat)=152.6 lbs lean weight
This calculation WILL tell you how much LEAN WEIGHT you're currently carrying. However, this first measurement will NOT tell you how much muscle you have since your lean weight is also made up of bones, organs, hair, etc.
What it DOES give you is your baseline measurement to compare with future measurements since any gains you make in LEAN bodyweight should only come from MUSCLE.
Step 5: Perform Steps 1-4 again approximately 3-6 weeks later. Then compare your results with your previous reading.
Example: Let's say your first measurements wereтАж
Weight - 187 lbs
Bodyfat % Reading - 17.5%
187 x 17.5%=about 32.7 lbs of fat
187 - 32.7=154.3 lbs lean bodyweight
Now, for your second measurements you getтАж
Weight - 190 lbs
Bodyfat % Reading - 16%
190 x 16%=about 30.4 lbs of fat
190 - 30.4=159.6 lbs of lean bodyweight
If you now compare your second readings with your first, you can see thatтАж
You've GAINED 5.3 lbs of muscle (from 154.3 lbs lean in first reading to 159.6 in the second); and You've LOST 2.3 lbs of fat (from 32.7 lbs of fat in first reading to 30.4 lbs in the second).
Short of breaking out the slide rule from my pocket protector, this is the easiest way I can teach you how to determine if your current program is helping you meet your goals. Just use this formula at regular intervals in your program (every 3 or 6 weeks is recommended) and you won't have any problems.