Congratulations on taking the first step towards your fitness journey by subscribing to a gym membership! Building muscle and seeing progress can be exciting, but it’s also important to track your progress accurately. This beginner’s guide will cover how to measure muscle mass over time, including a particular focus on using an InBody device.
How to measure muscle mass?
There are several ways to keep tabs on your progress, each with its advantages and drawbacks. Some of the most popular approaches are listed below:
1. Visual Inspection
The simplest way to track muscle growth is through visual inspection. This usually involves looking in the mirror or taking photos of your body to see if there is any noticeable change in muscle size. This is why so many gymgoers enjoy posting their accomplishments on social media.
This method is quick and straightforward, but it is also somewhat arbitrary. If you’ve just started working out, it might be difficult to see changes in your muscles within a few weeks.
Even though you are making gains in muscle, it may let you down if the changes aren’t immediately visible in the mirror.
2. Tape Measurements
Taking body circumference measurements using tapes, such as bicep and thigh circumference, is another way to track muscle growth. This method is more accurate than visual inspection.
However, the tape measurement result may be inaccurate, especially if you are overweight. According to research, even medical professionals may struggle to prevent tape measurement errors for their obese patients.
3. Weightlifting Progress Tracking
Monitoring the progression of your weightlifting can help you observe your muscle mass growth. This can be done by recording the weight lifted, repetition count, and set quantity for each workout.
You may download progress-tracking apps like InBody and Strong to assist you. If you see an increase in the weight you can lift or the number of reps you can perform, it is likely that your muscles have grown.
4. Body Composition Analysis
Body composition analysis is a more advanced method of tracking muscle growth.
There are numerous methods for body composition analysis, ranging from a DXA scan, which is one of the gold standard measurements, to a body weighing scale that claims to be able to check your body’s muscle mass.
💡 As one of the high-accuracy alternatives to DXA scanning, InBody devices would be appropriate and cost-effective tools for you to track muscle mass over time.
The InBody devices are currently being used in a growing number of gym settings. Consider finding a convenient location to take an InBody test and track your muscle growth.
Tips to help you effectively track your muscle mass:
1. Be consistent with your tracking methods.
Always remember that it’s crucial to track your progress using the same method and device. This is due to the fact that different devices may use a different technological and algorithmic approaches to measuring muscle mass. In progress tracking, comparing your results with different devices every month would be misleading.
2. Be mindful of the precautions and steps of measurement.
Many gym goers are not concerned about when to measure and what to look for during the measurement. However, improper posture and measuring right after workouts and meals, for example, definitely lead to inaccuracies in measurement. Your efforts in the workout may be disguised by inaccurate measurement results.
3. Track progress regularly, such as every two to four weeks.
Tracking your progress consistently will help you see how far you’ve progressed since the baseline. Knowing whether your current workout and diet plan are appropriate for your specific situation is important. If the results do not match your expectations, you may know it’s time to review your fitness approach.
4. Discuss your progress with an expert.
Discuss your workout plan with a professional regularly. If you receive an InBody result, as shown below, it will be easy for both you and the expert to understand your current progress.
The image above from InBody results clearly illustrates the muscle mass in different body parts.
This can make it easier for you to communicate with an expert, like a physiotherapist or personal trainer. They can give you a lot of personalized advice and point out areas where you can improve.
5. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small.
You might think your progress is insignificant after scrolling through the attractive physique photos posted by gym enthusiasts. This could be demotivating somehow.
However, they put in a lot of work and it takes them years to succeed. And yet, it’s not surprising to hear that they’ve already been through what you’re going through. It’s worth a blast of celebration even if you discover that you broke your Personal Record (PR) or that you gained 0.1 kg of muscle.
Measuring muscle growth is an important step in tracking your progress toward your fitness goals. With the right tools and mindset, you can have an idea of how to measure muscle mass accurately and reach your muscle growth goals sooner.
By using these methods and tips, you’ll be able to effectively measure your muscle growth and track your progress toward a stronger, healthier you.