October 2016 - FITBODYUSA

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Since the surge of obesity is on its peak these days, weight loss solutions and recipes are a dime a dozen! But not all are free of side effects. Well, I have already sung praises of water and how it is the best bet for people aiming to lose weight, but did you know that adding certain fruits/vegetables/other ingredients to water can boost its efficacy in preventing weight gain a great deal? Well it can, and I'll show you how and why.

Top 6 Detox Water Recipes

If you are reading this, I am sure you have already done a lot of research on weight loss. And I am also sure you must, by now, have learned a thing or two about detoxification. For those who haven't - while the word "detoxification" has a rather... scary, serious medical procedure-y feel to it, it is nothing more than the cleansing of the body. Simply put, detox water helps kick up the digestion and boosts the immune system, thus helping in weight loss. Moreover, it simply makes drinking a good amount of water easier and more fun!

So... yes, even though your research might have done you some good, what you may not have landed on is some delicious recipes of detox water to add a kick of flavor to your water!

Here is where you want to be!

1. Watermelon detox water

Could it get any easier? Dice up a nice, cold watermelon, fill up a jug of water and add them to it. Drink it every day, as many times as you'd like. It makes for a tasty, refreshing drink that also boosts metabolism.

Watermelon detox water

2. Citrus boost detox water

This drink, that is loaded with the most sought after nutrients like Vitamin C, is made up of the ultimate refreshing trio - mint, cucumbers and lime. Slice these veggies and put them in your pitcher containing the water and keep it in the refrigerator. Let it sit there for a bit, and then drink up and feel the toxins leaving your body!

Citrus boost detox water

3. Detox water with Chia Seeds

If you want to try something different and more filling, this is the drink for you. Chia seeds have the tendency to swell up when added to water thus creating a gel-like, heavy consistency. Providing you with the right amount of calcium and fiber, this detox drink also helps in curbing your appetite and losing weight.

Detox water with Chia Seeds

4. Weight loss combo detox water

This recipe is packed with the most effective and active weight loss agents - grapefruit, tangerine and cucumbers. This drink provides a full-fledged helping hand in facilitating in weight loss by providing flavor, minerals and of course, detoxification!

Weight loss combo detox water

RELATED: Detox Programs As Weight Loss Solution

5. Strawberry and Kiwi detox water

Infusing sliced fresh strawberries, kiwi and lemon in cold water is what makes this zesty detox water one of the top favorites. Sick of the old sour tasting, medicine-like weight loss drinks? Try this and you would never want to switch back to other drinks!

Strawberry and Kiwi detox water

6. Apple Cider Vinegar Detox

This rather strong, tangy tasting ingredient is known worldwide for its detoxifying abilities. Add it to one of the recipes mentioned above or simply to a glass of plain drinking water and it should help you shed pounds faster than you can say "Apple Cider Vinegar"!

Adding Apple Cider Vinegar to the cucumber, lime and mint detox drink mentioned earlier will definitely amplify its detoxifying properties substantially.

Apple Cider Vinegar detox Water

These are all recipes that include fruits and vegetables that are easily bought from all stores. Other recipes include infusing water with apples and cinnamon, or with organic lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. It is really about how YOU like your detox water.

Drinking ounces of water daily was never this enjoyable! Grab your pitchers today and get detoxifying!

RELATED: 7 Homemade Detox Drinks for Weight Loss

To read more articles like this, please visit selfhelpbox.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Abbe_Sami/1385699

Top 6 Detox Water Recipes

Can a person be both fit and fat? With a national obesity rate of nearly 30 percent, this is a question that needs to be answered. People do not seem to be actively looking for ways to be thin, and just because a person is thin does not mean they are fit either. So who, really, has a healthy and fit body and how can we get there from where we are?

7 Tips to Know If You Have a Healthy and Fit Body

First of all, most people think you have to hit the gym in order to be the healthiest you can be, and this is just not true. Although exercise does nothing but enhance your health, fitness is not the only answer. It is not always about how you look. It is not always about how you eat. Just like everything else, having a healthy and fit body has many components.

Here are 7 Tips to know, once and for all, if you have a healthy and fit body!

Healthy and Fit Body Tips 1: Proper Nutrition

Providing your body with the right food and liquid is the most important component to your health. If you struggling with weight loss and the inability to get yourself fit, start with a change in your diet. Eating right does not mean eating less. A soy-based meal replacement once a day works for me, along with a few targeted supplements you can not find in food.

Even people who exercise all the time can not be totally fit if they grab a bag of potato chips over an apple. No matter what you look like on the outside, your inside is what matters the most. If your body is not getting right nutrition, you can not expect it to look and feel good. You are what you eat. Never forget that.

Healthy and Fit Body Tips 2: Muscle Mass

Our bodies require a certain percentage of muscle to stay healthy and meet the tasks of daily living. This varies per individual, but after the age of 30, our bodies lose muscle mass each year. The key to restoring this is resistance exercise to keep muscle mass. To age gracefully by being fit, keep your muscle mass percentage high.

 Healthy and Fit Body Tips 3: Body Fat

This your total body weight that is composed of fat. 10 percent to 14 percent is considered good for men, and 14 percent to 18 percent is considered good for women. Being too far below it and above it both have health risks. Unless you're a weight-dependent athlete or a fitness model, you should strive to fall into your category.

RELATED: What Is the Difference Between Weight Loss and Fat Loss?

Healthy and Fit Body Tips 4: Aerobic Endurance

I bet you do not think about how well your body transports oxygen, right? From shoveling snow to running a marathon, aerobic activity is a good indicator of good aerobic fitness. Your cardiovascular goal for fitness is simple. Get your heart rate up and hold it, then bring it down without becoming short of breath.

Healthy and Fit Body Tips 5: Strength

How much force can your muscles generate? Your body needs to be able to move stuff, and you, around. Mass protects your body, strength moves it and keeps it from falling over. Strength training requires short bouts of high-intensity outputs, much different from aerobic activity. Strength training slows the aging process, so the stronger you are, the slower you age.

Healthy and Fit Body Tips 6: Balance

Life is no fun if you're always toppling over. Your ability to maintain control of your center of gravity is important for obvious reasons. To stay in balance your body uses smaller muscles to help keep your joints tracking properly. A person with good balance has less chance of incurring an injury. The next time you see an exercise ball, use it!

Healthy and Fit Body Tips 7: Flexibility

Your ability to move your body freely through a full range of motion does not require an advanced class of yoga. Simply start stretching your muscles more because they contract during exercise and the daily rigors of living. Keeping your muscles supple gives you a buffer against being injured and is an indicator of overall fitness. It will also help you age with less complications.

RELATED: Yoga For Weight Loss

As you can easily tell, there are many components that are of equal importance in order to have a healthy and fit body. It is not just the way a person looks on the outside but rather a combination of many factors. You have the ability to change your body for the better just as easily as McDonald's can change it for the worse. The difference is developing the mindset of a person who chooses healthy over unhealthy.

Bill Winch is a Personal Wellness Coach whose mission is teaching and coaching others who are struggling with getting healthy, losing weight safely and keeping it off for good. He is a former High School and College Business Educator and Counselor, and mentors from his home office in Rochester, NY. If you are interested in receiving his Free Report "9 Weight Loss Myths Exposed" visit his website by clicking on FREE REPORT or by calling him directly at (585) 271-3767 for a free wellness consultation.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/William_Winch/138174

7 Tips to Know If You Have a Healthy and Fit Body

9 Ways Sports Psychologists Motivate Themselves to Exercise


"I always exercise first thing in the morning so that nothing else in my day will interfere with my ability to get the workout in," says Jennifer Farrell, Ph.D., a school counselor and sport psychology consultant at Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minnesota.


Remember that sometimes it's not just about you.

"I think about my dog's need for physical activity, too, and that helps me stick to my running schedule," says Amanda J. Visek, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of exercise and nutrition sciences at The George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health.

No dog? Find a gym buddy or a running partner; you're less likely to bail if someone is waiting for you.

Exercise motivation - run with dog


Partner or not, treat exercise like any other appointment, says Visek.

"Having it already blocked off in your calendar will make it seem less optional," she says.


Just because everyone is obsessed with group cycling or CrossFit doesn't mean it's for you-and that's okay, says Brandonn S. Harris, Ph.D., an associate professor and program director of Sport and Exercise Psychology at Georgia Southern University School of Health and Kinesiology, College of Health and Human Sciences.

Instead, find something you really enjoy.

"You're more likely to remain active when you are doing so under your own volition, as opposed to something or someone else influencing or dictating that decision," he says.


If you're struggling to stay active, you've probably been telling yourself that you should work out.

It might sound silly, but just telling yourself that you want to exercise can make a big difference, says Stephanie Pearl, LCSW, a psychotherapist in New York City and an instructor at SoulCycle.

She adds that if the thought of the activity itself isn't getting you sufficiently amped, try focusing on an aspect of it like the music you play during your workout.

Exercise motivation - Motivation song


Let's face it: Some days it's hard to muster the energy to give it your all.

You could do nothing-or you could acknowledge that you're not feeling your best and still try to do something, like going on a slow run instead of lingering in front of the TV, says Pearl.


No time to hit the gym or go for a long run?

Research suggests that you may get the same health benefits from engaging in physical activity during three 10-minute segments as you do from 30 minutes at once.

Take three 10-minute brisk walks throughout the day, or try doing a 20-minute session in the morning and 10 minutes of strength work in the evening.

"Every little bit counts," says Farrell. "Instead of saying, 'Well, I don't have 30 minutes so I'm not going to bother,' try to see it as '10 to 15 minutes is better than nothing!'"


Why do you want to work out?

The answer should never be "because I'm supposed to" or "because it's the right thing to do," says Pearl. "You have to really want to and really know why you want to-the more clear and personal your goal, the better."

Farrell suggests taking it a step further and literally taking pen to paper: Write down why you're exercising and what you hope to achieve, whether it's more energy to play with your kids or a reduced risk of heart disease.


Sure, you may feel half-dead when your alarm goes off for an early morning workout, but remind yourself of how great and energized you'll feel afterward, suggests Harris.

And if you're mid workout and considering quitting, remember that each step brings you closer to your goal and that mild discomfort is simply a sign that your body is getting stronger and faster.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Ainie_Iskandar/2332413

9 Ways Sports Psychologists Motivate Themselves to Exercise

Life is very busy for all of us, we have got so many things that we need to do every day - take the kids to school, workout, go to work, cook - the list never ends! So it's no wonder we find ourselves snacking throughout the day. Unfortunately for most of us, that involves unhealthy treats and pick-me-ups, the things that are most responsible for our pudgy belly.

10 Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss

Here we will discover 10 healthy snacks that you can munch on whenever you get those hunger pangs. These treats won't make you fatter, some of them will actually work to help you drop the weight.

1. Yogurt with Berries

Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss - Yogurt with Berries

Aside from healthful probiotics, yogurt is also high in protein. When mixed with berries, which have bundles of antioxidants, this makes for a very healthy and quick snack.

2. Vegetables and Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is high in protein and just delicious. When matched with healthy vegetables it makes for a great snack. It's a great way to increase your raw veggie intake because it's so yummy!

3. Nuts

Nuts are very satiating. They are high in healthy fats and make a great snack because they can be stored in a bag or container and will last many months without any refrigeration. Nuts contain a perfect balance of protein and fats that keep you feeling fuller for longer.

RELATED:  5 Best High-Protein Snacks For Weight Loss

4. Peanut Butter with Fruits
Apples, bananas, pears; whatever you fancy. Peanut butter goes well with all crisp fruits. You'll get a boost in protein and a healthy dose of vitamins and antioxidants.

5. Dark Chocolate with Nuts

So eating nuts by themselves can be pretty hard. Try matching them with dark chocolate; you'll get more vitamins, antioxidants and it'll feel like a naughty snack - even though it's not!

6. Chia Seed Pudding

Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss - Chia Seed Pudding

This is a fairly new product in the US and it's not well known, but chia seed pudding is delicious and highly nutritious. The chia seeds pack a punch of nutrients and keep you full for hours.

7. Garcinia Cambogia

This is a tropical fruit, similar to a mandarin. It grows in Indonesia and has been shown to increase metabolism and reduce body weight. It can be taken as a supplement and will give you a quick pick-me-up when you need it most.

8. Guacamole with Vegetables

Veggies, such as red peppers, have really high levels of healthy antioxidants, carotenes, and other fat-fighting nutrients. The healthy fat in avocados pairs well with most vegetables and will make for a very filling meal.

9. Kale Chips

Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss - Kale Chips

If you've never had kale chips before you're missing out! Kale is the most nutritious vegetable in the world and usually tastes, well, icky. But put it in the over covered in herbs and spices and you've got a great tasting snack.

10. Edamame

Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss - Edamame

Edamame is a dish of steamed unripened soybeans.

It is a great snack for vegetarians or anyone who enjoys their unique flavor and texture.

Edamame is rich in the antioxidant kaempferol, which has been shown to cause weight loss and lower blood sugar in animal studies (55, 56).

It is also high in folate and several minerals, including iron, magnesium and manganese.

One cup of edamame has around 17 grams of protein and 180 calories.

As you can see here, there are many healthy treats you can prepare easily and quickly. Avoid packaged weight loss products and opt for healthy, homemade alternatives.

RELATED: Healthy Snacks For Weight Loss And Health

10 Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss

I'd like to talk today about one of the most intense, high impact exercises that we all know about, that is running. Running is a very high impact exercise which can burn many calories in a short space of time. This will help to reduce body weight over time.

How To Lose Weight Naturally With High Intensity Running

A typical example of the amount of calorie expenditure produced from running, a 150 pound man, could burn up to 100 calories per mile when running, so the more miles a runner will cover the more calories they burn. Running will work virtually every muscle in the body, but the primary muscles worked are those in the lower body.

Now how exactly does running help me lose weight or drop a few pounds in a few short weeks or months? Well to start with as we have already mentioned running is a very high impact exercise which works many of the muscles of the body very hard, this in turn makes the heart work harder to adapt to the level of the effort of the runner, thus in turn produce calorie expenditure.

To lose weight, the process is very simple, a calorie reduction has to take place somewhere, and this can be done with the practice of healthy eating and also regular cardio vascular exercise. Running provides a great solution to burn lots of calories in a short space of time doe to the potential intensity that the runner can use when they are out running.

Now we have several options here, we can use a treadmill in a gym to get a run on, this can be very useful if the weather is poor. Or we can put on our running pants and do a few rounds round the local park or street, or wherever you fancy. Now when it comes to running, the treadmill has a few advantages over the running outdoors but only a few. With the runner using a treadmill, you have the functionality of monitoring your heart rate and the exact amount of calories that you burn during your workout, this also can be done on the streets, but it requires special fitness gadgets to do this.

How to Lose Weight on the Treadmill

Most treadmills do provide an incline option, so that the runner can really challenge themselves at running uphill during their workout. This has a few benefits to it, when you run up-hill the heart and legs are forced to work much harder than running on flat ground, so more calories are burned in the process due to the heart rate beating harder.

This is much more challenging and provides the best way to increase the intensity for the runner's workout on the treadmill. The second way a runner can change the intensity on the treadmill is to simply go faster. This can be done by selecting the desired speed level that most treadmills have.

RELATED: Burn Fat Faster With HIIT Treadmill Workout

The most effective way to change the intensity for the runners' workout is to simply select a HIIT interval training program. HIIT is short for High Intensity Interval Training, this is the most powerful type of training to do to burn more calories and get in to the fat burning zone. This type of running is the most effective for weight loss programs and improving overall fitness levels. Many personal trainers encourage this way of training to clients that want to lose weight, toned up or improve their fitness levels.

OK now onto running outdoors in all weathers. This is the most likely choice to most people, as the gym or home fitness facilities are somewhat of an obstacle for people that are trying to lose weight. Running outdoors offers the most challenging environment and is the most preferred option for people who want to start running to lose weight.

When you start to run outdoors the environment offers the challenge.

You have to be prepared to run on all types of grounds and surfaces, should they be hard or soft ground. This can be counterproductive as it can be slightly hard on the joints, but this issue can be fixed with the correct use of running trainers. A good way to get started with outdoor running is to design a schedule that you follow every week for a month and monitor your progress. This will help you stay motivated and you will look forward to the next time you go for a run.

How to Lose Weight by Outdoor Running

A fun and exciting challenge could be to try a run a mile with in a 4 week period, this is a good mini goal to set if you are trying to lose weight. They key to running is to start with jogging and gradually build things up slowly until the weight starts to come off and you get fitter. When you start running regular, the potential to burn lots of calories increases and this helps to promote weight loss.

This will need to be combined with a healthy balanced diet which has the right calorie intake and nutritional demands to running training program for the individual. The best time of day to go running to improve the chance of losing weight quicker would be to go early morning before the first meal is eaten.

The reason is because when you exercise early morning, there is no food in the body to use as energy, the body likes to use carbs for fuel, and so if there in carbs, and the body will use fat for the energy for the run. When you go for a run later in the day, you are burning the calories from the food that you ate earlier in the day.

Overall running is one of the most effective exercises to lose weight. It is a full body high impact exercise which can burn lots of calories in a short amount of time, and it provides a great way to burn those unwanted calories as part of a healthy weight loss program.

RELATED: Lose Weight Running - Running Tips For Losing Weight Fast

My Name Ashley Hubbard, I am a weight loss consultant. I offer practical lifestyle tips and advice to people on how to start losing weight.
Do you want to lose weight but find you struggle with dieting and exercise?
Learn How to get started with these free special reports.
My Facebook page is regularly updated with information related to weight loss. http://www.facebook.com/healthydietplanforweightloss

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Ashley_Hubbard/2032333

How To Lose Weight Naturally With High Intensity Running

I was discussing with a friend who was trying to decide if he needed a trainer. He told me that he was "holding his own" because he still weighed 150 pounds, the same as 25 years ago when he was a senior in High School. I congratulated him on his ability to maintain a scale weight that, for his height, might reflect good health on some accepted charts out there and then asked what size clothes he was wearing now compared to 25 years ago. In High School his waist size was a 28, he was now moving into a 36. He had been backing off on how much food he was eating, but his pant size seemed to continue to grow. I suggested that it would be interesting to know how much of those 150 pounds from 25 years ago was lean mass (or muscle) and how much was fat. Something had definitely changed if his waist had increased by 8 inches. My friend, like many other people, had mistakenly used the scale as the only means of measuring his progress through the years. Later, when we compared a High School picture to his current appearance, the difference was very noticeable.

How to Know That Your Diet and Exercise Program is Actually Working

In high school, out of the 150 pounds of scale weight, 10 percent could have been fat, leaving the other 90 percent as lean mass (muscle, bone, body fluid, vital organs, brain, and skin). This would pan out to be 15 pounds of fat and 135 pounds of lean mass. At 43 years old that same 150 pounds could have increased to 25 percent fat leaving 75 percent as lean mass. This would be 30 pounds of fat and 120 pounds of lean mass. That's an increase of 15 pounds of fat and a loss of 15 pounds of lean mass / muscle. Since each pound of muscle burns an additional 30 to 60 calories per day, that's why my friend needed to reduce his daily calories to maintain the same weight. That also would explain his need for larger clothes.

In this article, I will address measuring body composition, which helped my friend understand what had happened over the last 25 years. Body Composition (BC) is also called body fat percentage and can be a significant tool for measuring the effectiveness of an eating and / or exercise program.

WHY KEEP TRACK? Keeping track of one's progress, gains, and losses is one of the most important keys to physique transformation success. This area is often overlooked because it seems confusing, too time consuming, or too "technical" to learn and accurately track. Trust me, over the years I have seen both sides. Some people keep impeccable records to track their progress while others "fly by the seat of their pants". It never seems to fail that the people who spent the time to learn how to measure and monitor their results have better and more consistent results than those who don't. DO NOT OVERLOOK THE IMPORTANCE OF MEASURING YOUR PROGRESS!

Height / Weight charts have been very popular to determine if a person is "overweight" but give no indication of BC. The term "overweight" only refers to total scale weight in excess of some standard - we need to ask, "What or whose standard and what was it based on?" Being "above average" or "not ideal" by height-weight charts does not dictate whether or not you need to go on a weight loss program.

The body mass index (BMI) is also very popular as another way that people measure their degree of fatness or obesity based on comparing body height to body weight. BMI doesn't distinguish between fat weight or lean mass / muscle weight, and only uses total weight which ends up making it a less than ideal way to gauge body composition.

BC measurement determines approximate fat mass / weight and lean mass / muscle weight (muscle makes up the greatest percent of lean mass weight). For purposes of this discussion, lean mass (LM) will be viewed as muscle. BC can help us know how to structure our eating plans based on total LM / muscle.

When you measure your BC, it should be done under as similar of conditions as possible (first thing in AM on an empty stomach before any exercise, same day of week, same eating / hydration plan). BC should be avoided during water gain / loss associated w/ different phases of the menstrual cycle. Measurements should occur every 2 to 4 weeks. More frequent measurements, unless you are training for competitive events or getting ready for a bodybuilding competition, are usually a waste of time.

Let's take a closer look at the differences between lean body mass and fat mass. Lean Body Mass (LBM) is how much of your total scale weight is muscle, bone, body fluid / water, muscle glycogen, minerals, vital organs, brain, skin, etc. This is essential and "healthy" weight. It should be most everyone's goal to increase, or at a minimum to maintain, their lean mass weight. LBM does not necessarily indicate fat free mass. LBM contains a small percentage of fat (roughly 3 percent) within the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), marrow of bones, and internal organs. Remember that for every pound of muscle, your body burns from 30 to 60 calories per day.

differences between lean body mass and fat mass

Body fat is the amount of total fat we have on our bodies. It is important to remember that everyone needs to maintain a certain amount of "healthy" fat in order to optimize health. Total body fat exists in two storage sites - one being Essential fat, the other is Storage fat. Essential fat is the fat stored in the marrow of bones, and in the heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidney, intestines, muscle, brain, and spinal cord. It is required for normal physiological functioning (i.e. life). Storage fat is the fat that accumulates in fatty tissue. This "nutritional reserve" includes fatty tissue that protects organs and the fat located directly under the skin. The proportion of storage fat is very similar in males and females (average 12 percent in men and 15 percent in women); the amount of essential fat is approximately four times higher in women. This is likely needed for child-bearing and hormone related functions.

A general guide for the percentage of body fat in men and women based on category would be:

o Essential fat (percentage) - 2 to 5 for men, 9 to 12 for women
o Bodybuilder - 3 to 8 for men, 8 to 12 for women
o Athletic Groups - 5 to 13 for men, 10 to 15 for women
o Optimal Health and Fitness - 10 to 18 for men, 14 to 18 for women
o Average body fat - 11 to 18 for men, 21 to 28 for women
o Strongly consider reducing body (fat percentage) - over 20 for men, over 26 for women

A brief review of techniques for measuring BC are: Hydrostatic weighing (underwater weighing), air displacement plethysmograph (the Bod Pod) which utilizes body density (the ratio of body mass to body volume), skin caliper measurements, girth measurements, and bioelectrical impedance. Others that may be less familiar include ultrasound, x-ray, CT scans, and MRI's. For this article, I discuss one of the most practical and least expensive methods for measuring BC, Skin Caliper Measurements.

Techniques for measuring BC - Hydrostatic weighing

The rational for using Skin Caliper Measurements, sometimes called skin fold testing, is that there is a relationship between the fat located directly beneath the skin and that of internal fat and body density. A special caliber is utilized to measure the skin fold thickness in millimeters at specific sites on the body. The most common sites include the triceps, chest, sub scapular area (back), suprailiac (hip region), abdomen, and upper thigh. Based on these site measurements, formulas are then used to predict body fat percentage.

Skin fold measurement can be used two ways. The first is to take the sum of all the measurements as a relative degree of fatness among individuals. Some fitness organizations gauge progress by comparing specific body site measurements or the total for all body sites rather than relying on estimation formulas to predict body fat. The second way to use skin folds is in conjunction with mathematical equations to predict percentage body fat. These equations are population specific and accurate when similar populations are tested. Skin fold equations have been developed to estimate the BF of men and women varying in age from 10 to 61, and body fatness from 4 to 44 percent. Skin caliper readings become less accurate at extremes of both leanness and fatness.

Most experts agree that measuring body fat levels using this method is about plus / minus 3 to 5 percent accurate. Some would even claim plus / minus 10 - 12 percent accuracy. Remember: CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY -- CONSISTENCY EACH TIME YOU MEASURE. Consistency from one measurement to the next is much more critical than how accurate the skin fold measurements or formulas are. A lot will depend on how much pressure the person doing the measuring uses when they pinch a skin fold. A key here is to use the same person each time you measure - and try to assure that the same pressure is used each time.

Skin fold measurement - skin caliper

Each person has a different genetic predisposition for carrying fat or being leaner in different areas of the body. There are several formulas that are used to calculate body fat percentage. Some will use different body site locations as well as a different number of sites to measure. If you begin to compete in physique or bodybuilding contests, you may need to seek out more advanced or more precise methods.

I wish everyone who is dieting or losing weight would be sure to measure their body composition as they go along. I believe it is crucial for people to stay focused on fat loss and not just weight loss. Too many people get hooked on weight loss, not really caring if it's coming from fat, water, or lean mass. If people are losing over 2 pounds of scale weight per week, research tells us that some of that is lean mass. If you want to lose significant amounts of body fat as rapidly as possible, you need to be sure of where the weight is coming from, fat or muscle.

body composition

Advantages to skin fold testing are simplicity, accuracy when done by experienced persons, and excellent in detecting change when done by the same technician in the same sites, under similar circumstances. Disadvantages include not being a part of a population utilized to determine values (i.e. a female being compared to an all male standard), variability in procedure, body proportions to large for caliber testing, inexperienced person taking measurements, etc. Caliper measurement of 3 to 4 millimeters represents essentially zero subcutaneous fat. At this level, rely more on appearance rather than measurements.

If you are committed to a fitness lifestyle, I would suggest that you learn how to conduct body fat measurements on yourself, your partner or other family members so that you can become your own expert on monitoring your body composition. When learning, you will want to practice on yourself and possibly others, many times to develop accuracy. Skin caliper measurements, when done correctly and consistently, are one of the least expensive, most accurate "at-home" measurement systems available today. Regardless of the margin of error, as long as you are measuring consistently and accurately, each time you measure, you will have a very practical method to track the effectiveness of your training and nutrition program. Even if you measure yourself differently than someone else would, as long as you measure consistently every time, you will have accurate readings (and comparisons) to track your progress and adjust your eating and training plans.

When measuring a body fat measurement, it is best to do it first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, before any type of exercise, and before you drink any fluid. It's important to always measure on the same side of the body. Most instructions recommend that you use the right side. You will be taking at least two different measurements at each site. Cycle through the body by going from one site to the next to the next, etc. until you have measured each site once. Repeat this cycle a second time. If the two measurements are more than 1 millimeter apart, I suggest that you measure a third time. Measuring the same skin fold several times without releasing your "pinch" could result in progressively lower measurements leading to inaccuracy, not to mention a higher risk of bruising. Cycling through each site and then repeating the cycle a second and sometimes third time will ensure at least 30 seconds to go by before you measure the same site again.

When you are first learning how to measure, you may want to get an eyebrow pencil and mark an "X" over the spot you will be pinching. This will help assure that you will be measuring the same spot each of the three times. As you get more experienced with measuring, you should be able to get the 3 measurements (of the same body site) to come within one to two millimeters of each other (millimeters are the increment of measurement on the skin caliper). I suggest that you decide how often you want to take your body composition measurements and stick with that schedule. You could perform measurements every two weeks or once per month. Once you are efficient at measuring and you have been consistently working out while following an eating plan, you will be able to use your body composition measurements to guide you in adjusting total calories in your eating plan and composition / frequency of your workouts.

Comparing your present body fat percentage with your past measurements can be one of the most significant indicators in gauging your success with whatever eating or exercise programs you are using.

Brian Erickson is a personal trainer, fitness consultant and certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor. He and the clients he has trained have placed in five international body transformation contests in as many years. He and his clients have appeared in magazines as well as an international Television commercial, "Extra," and other news / fitness shows. Be sure to check out additional fitness information at: http://www.erikonfitness.com

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How to Know That Your Diet and Exercise Program is Actually Working