How to take proper body measurements

Taking proper body measurements is extremely important when beginning any new fitness program. The main purpose of this is to have a starting point so you can see your progress. The one thing I advise all my clients especially when first starting their fitness journey is to not pay much attention to the scale for a little while. Yes it’s important to periodically use the scale to track PART of the results but it is not the only tool to use.

Why shouldn’t I use the scale often at first? When beginning a new workout routine, the muscles will suffer from what is known as DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness. What this means is that muscles aren’t accustomed to working out and will become inflamed. When this occurs you will naturally get sore for 24-72 hours. The body’s defense and repair mechanisms come into play and will retain fluids which in turn causes TEMPORARY weight gain. After a few weeks of acclimating to the new program, this soreness will be less frequent and the fluids will dissipate.

That being said, this video will explain how to properly measure yourself when starting any new program as well as charting progress at certain points along the journey.

Taking accurate and consistent measurements is very important in charting your progress through your fitness journey. This will not only provide motivation it will provide direction and let you know what’s working and what isn’t working.

Just remember though, don’t let some numbers keep you from achieving your fitness goals and enjoying a healthy, fulfilling life!! Health and wellness is a journey and by doing SOMETHING you are improving your life. Getting the proper nutrition and exercising will help change all of your measurements and with the proper guidance results WILL come.

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Fitness nut who golfs and rides motorcycles. Diagnosed with COPD in 2009 which got me started on a healthier path in my life. Now I share my experience to help give people hope.

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Author:Michael McDonald

Fitness nut who golfs and rides motorcycles. Diagnosed with COPD in 2009 which got me started on a healthier path in my life. Now I share my experience to help give people hope.

40 Responses to “How to take proper body measurements”

  1. February 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this educational video! Accurate measurements are definitely a great way to track your progress!

    • Mike
      February 27, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

      Yes Steve it is imperative to be accurate. It’s also a great motivational tool to see the results as they come.

  2. February 22, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    This was very informative Mike – thanks for posting! I need to remember to be more consistent with my measurements – it is amazing how motiviating it can be to see those clear results. Keep up the good work!

    • Mike
      February 27, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

      Consistency is the key. If you’re taking different measurements each time you have no idea if you’re improving or not. Clear results will come with proper nutrition and exercise but staying motivated is the hard part.

  3. February 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    All too often, people focus too much on the scale alone and forget to consider the changes that are occurring in their body measurements and level of strength and fitness. This is a great post and very helpful. Thanks!

    • Mike
      February 27, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

      You’re welcome Kirk. There’s so much more than weight and the other parts are much more accurate and useful. It’s also good to keep accurate count of results which helps motivation.

  4. July 18, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Thanks for sharing such a great video Mike! It was nice to understand the proper way to take body measurements!

    • Mike
      July 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

      You’re welcome Sarah. Having consistent measurements is the key to tracking progress in anything but especially fitness.

  5. July 18, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Thanks for sharing this very informative video, Mike.

    • Mike
      July 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

      You’re welcome Lorii

  6. July 18, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    Good stuff Michael; I will do this.. great video. I know that we shouldn’t focus on the scale alone; our measurements are way more important. So, this is the way to go!

    • Mike
      July 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      Very true Olga. I only use the scale to have measures to share with other people. When I’m almost down to the pant size I wore in high school it doesn’t matter if the scale hasn’t changed.

  7. July 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Tracking is really important. Thanks for sharing this valuable video, Mike. I know that for me, I have a tendency to focus too much on the scale so this focus on measuring makes a big difference!

    • Mike
      July 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

      Yes Sherie it makes a huge difference. The body will change and adapt and how you feel and other things are much more important to fitness. Once you start adding muscle which is much more dense than fat the scale isn’t a very accurate measure anyway.

  8. Carol Giambri
    July 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Michael, I hardly get on the scale as I choose to not let the numbers influence either way. They can sometimes be discouraging, but learning how to manage the carbs and fruits (which is natural sugars that turn to cards) I would love to read more from you about. Thanks.

    • Mike
      July 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

      Carol, yes the scale can be discouraging but it is simply a tool for tracking progress toward a goal. Realizing it’s just a small part of fitness will make it much less discouraging. Regarding fruits turning into carbs that’s a misconception. Carbohydrates reduce into sugar rather than the other way around. The sugar in fruits is Fructose which is a monosaccharide but is digested differently in the body than other sugars. This is used basically as a fuel for your muscles and will be burned off rather rapidly. Fructose also doesn’t affect the blood sugar levels much at all as compared to other sugars. I will have to write a post about this soon but fruits are good especially earlier in the day. Carbs, as long as they are complex carbs and not simple carbs such as white bread are also important as fuel as they reduce into sugar which fuel the body but eaten too late in the day will not burn off. Hope that helps.

  9. July 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Perfect timing in posting this – thank you!

    • Mike
      July 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      You’re welcome Pauline

  10. July 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    The inches are more telling than the scale. Great job Mike!

    • Mike
      July 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      Thanks Kim. That is very true.

  11. July 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Love this! The key is to stay motivated! Thanks!

    • Mike
      July 27, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

      Sure is. Goals and doing the work to get the results.

  12. July 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    I like that you warn about the temporary weight gain…… I have this with my skin care customers too— I have to explain why when they start a new exfoliating skin care program their skin will TEMPORARILY become more acne prone and then– WOW! Same with working out. Temporary soreness and water weight gain, and then…. RESULTS! woot! I’ve never understood how to measure, so this is super helpful, thanks!

    • Mike
      July 27, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

      You’re very welcome Heather. That’s part of what I do as a coach is help people get started and give them the best information I can to help them succeed and keep pushing on.

  13. July 19, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Wow, learned something new today Michael. Had never heard of DOMS before and now I understand how our bodies retain fluid and for what purpose. Good to know NOT to gauge our weight loss solely by the scale.

    • Mike
      July 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

      Yep. Sometimes it’s just the body doing what it’s supposed to.

  14. July 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Great info – I never knew that! I need to do measurements, I tend to focus on the scale!

    • Mike
      July 27, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

      Thanks Kerry. Don’t worry about the scale very much. It’s a useful tool for what it is but it’s just a small part.

  15. July 20, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    Thank you, mike for this Amazing post and video. It is so important to be making sure that we know how to take our measurements properly. Have a great weekend 🙂

    • Mike
      July 27, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

      You’re welcome Susan. It really is important.

  16. Vicky
    July 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Thanks for sharing Mike. Great post!

    • Mike
      July 27, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

      You’re welcome Vicky.

  17. July 23, 2012 at 6:19 am #

    Excellent tips Mike…I think more folks would enjoy the healthy process if they threw their scales away and focused on inches instead:)

    • Mike
      July 27, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

      So true Daisy. The scale is just one small tool and it has it’s purpose but the overall picture is so much more.

  18. July 23, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    I am hung up on the numbers even though I know better…thanks for the info!

    • Mike
      July 27, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

      Yep don’t get hung up on the numbers. They will change all the time.

  19. July 23, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Love the instructional video. In depth and very similar to how I’m doing it right now.

    Measurements are one of my favorite parts of working out. They’re so important because they actually provide PROOF in the numbers that I’m doing something right or I’m doing something wrong. It’s simple. If I’m not getting the results I want, I know that it’s time to dissect what I’ve been doing and adjust accordingly.

    • Mike
      July 25, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      Definitely the best way to track progress and adjust.

  20. July 26, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    Sometimes the scale doesn’t budge but the measurements are dropping – and that’s a great feeling! I’m a seamstress as well and it makes for a bad garment if you aren’t accurate.

    • Mike
      July 27, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

      So true and you also may work the wrong way if your measurements aren’t correct. Gives bad information. Measure twice cut once!

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