Tools for Your Fitness Toolkit

June 23, 2009

Do you want to want to gain some muscle so that you look like a stud for the beach or pool this summer?
Be a stud at the beach
Or, would you like to reveal your inner six pack (abs, not beer!) by losing some fat? Well, to do either it will be necessary to make some adjustments to the number of calories you are taking in.

To gain muscle it is necessary to take in MORE calories than your body needs to maintain itself. To lose fat you must take in fewer calories than your body needs to maintain itself. So, how do you know if you’re taking in more, less, or the same number of calories your bod needs for maintenance? The only way is to take measurements.

Here are a couple of tools every serious fitness guy or gal should have in his/her fitness toolkit:
Skin Caliper

1. Skin caliper – this is perhaps the most important body composition device you can get for yourself. It tells you what your body fat percentage is. Did you know that it is possible to gain weight, yet be less fat than you were at the earlier, lighter weight? It is. It is also possible to lose weight and yet be more fat on a percentage basis than you were at the heavier weight. A scale won’t tell you whether you’ve gained or lost muscle or fat. A skin caliper will.

Weight Scale and Tape Measure

2. Weight Scale – speaking of a weight scale, it is important. A weight scale in combination with a skin caliper can be used to tell you if you’ve lost fat, lost muscle, gained fat, gained muscle, or some combination. If you weight is higher and your body fat percentage is the same or lower, you’ve gained muscle. If your weight is higher and your body fat percentage is higher, then you’ve gained some fat (and possibly some muscle). Weight loss accompanied by an unchanged or lowered body fat percentage means lost muscle and possibly gained fat — not a good combo. Weight loss with decreased body fat percentage means fat loss.

3. The tape measure, of course, let’s you know what you’re doing as far as inches are concerned. Probably the best measurement to take is of your waist. Measure across your belly button. In general, if you’re losing fat your waist size will become smaller; if you’re gaining fat, then your waist size will grow. Also, if you’re trying to build a body part up to a certain size (for example, 17-inch arms or a 45-inch chest), then the tape measure helps you know where you are.


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