Have you ever spent weeks working out and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, only for the scale not to move? If the scale works your nerves, a great way to track your results is by writing down your measurements and using a printable body measurement tracker.
Tracking and writing down your body measurements is a great option for tracking progress because it doesn’t require any fancy equipment and anyone can do it. It also can help with your motivation and reach your fitness goals.
Taking your measurements can help show you where you’re gaining muscle mass and losing fat.
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Why you should use a printable body measurement tracker
Keeping track of your measurements is the best way to measure your results from a workout or weight loss program.
When you track where you are losing or gaining inches, you can determine if you’re making progress, plateauing or going in the wrong direction.
Making progress and gains
If you’re gaining muscle mass and inches in your arms and legs while losing inches in your waist, you are probably making progress and seeing improvements.
If eight weeks into your program, you have stopped gaining inches around your arms, legs and hips, you’ve hit a plateau. It could mean it’s time to add heavier weights to your workouts or increase calories to your diet.
Moving in the wrong direction
Are you losing inches around your waist but at the same time losing inches around your arms and legs? If so, you could be losing muscle.
Why body measurements are better than a scale
When you start following a structured fitness program, you typically have fat loss and replace it with lean muscle mass.
You typically have weight loss goals, but you will find that taking accurate measurements is a more effective way than using the scale for the following two reasons.
Measurements tell a better story
If you’re only using a scale to measure your progress, you might see little to no change at all.
Even if the number on the scale changes, it can be difficult to tell what kind of weight you’re losing and where it is coming from.
Is it body fat or muscle? Is it water weight because your water intake has changed? Are you constipated? The scale doesn’t give you a full picture of your fitness journey.
Measurements can help you focus on muscle
When you step on a scale, all you think about is how much weight you have lost. You have a goal weight in mind.
But when you take body measurements, you’re measuring areas of your body where you should be adding muscle mass. Gaining muscle mass is far more valuable than just losing fat.
You can see how much progress you are making week over week.
Powerful tools to track changes
Ultimately, the goal of keeping track of your results is to learn if your workouts are paying off. While this tool is an important way to track your weight loss journey and fitness progress, it’s not the only tool.
One of my favorite ways is taking progress photos to help you stay consistent when the scale isn’t moving. Progress photos allow you to compare your changes visually, something you can’t see when you look at yourself every day in the mirror.
You also can use a workout log to keep track of your workouts with the amount of weight and reps for each exercise. This can help you monitor your strength through your workouts.
Body Measurement Tracker FAQs
How often should you measure yourself?
For best results, I recommend you chose one day a week to take measurements and record them on this free printable body measurement chart. But first, take your starting weight and all your measurements as your starting point. Then wait about four weeks before taking measurements again because it takes time to see changes, especially at the beginning.
Following the initial period, stick with the same day of the week and time of day to be able to compare the numbers.
How do you take body measurements?
To get accurate results, use a flexible tape measure and decide which body parts you will measure. It’s important to measure the same place and in the same way each time.
Where should you measure?
Here is what I suggest for each area on the printable body measurement chart:
- If you are going to weigh yourself and want to see as low a number as possible, step on the scale first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking fluids, and if possible after going to the bathroom. Do this at the same time you are doing your body measurements.
- For your bust or chest, measure at the fullest part.
- For your arm, measure around the fullest part of your bicep.
- For your waist, measure right across your belly button area.
- For your hips, place the tape measure wrap around the fullest or widest point.
- For upper thighs, measure at the widest area.
- To measure each calf, wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your lower leg.
Take your measurements every four weeks and be patient with yourself. It takes time for many of us to see changes.
After you’ve recorded all the numbers on the printable body measurement tracker, take note of any increases or decreases. Are things moving in the direction you had hoped?
Using the tracker can be very encouraging, especially when the scale is slow to move, or you can’t see the changes in the mirror.
What do you use to track your changes?