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Scales Vs Bodyfat:

Jul 05, 2021 | Blog

Scales Vs Bodyfat: what does ‘weight loss’ really mean?

For many of us, checking the scale becomes an obsession and it is the way many of us track our progress in the gym, however, just because you lose, gain or maintain your "weight" doesn't necessarily mean you're making or not making any progress towards your goals.

Our fitness team is here to tell you more.

What is body weight?

Your weight simply refers to the number that shows when you step on the scale, reflective of your body as a whole. 

You step on the scale and it reads 150lbs. You then spend an hour in the sauna and step back on the scale showing a 5lb weight loss. In excitement you see the scale read 145lbs but what really happened?

Simply put, you only lost 5lbs of water with no actual progress made towards improving your overall health. 

Weight loss and muscle

At the same time, how do you know you're not also losing weight in the form of muscle in these situations? You might have lost "weight" but really did nothing to improve your health. 

On the other hand, what if you're working hard in the gym, building muscle and burning fat?

Did you know the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn during the day?

You step on the scale after a month or two, only to see a weight loss of a few pounds. Frustration sets in and you start to believe all of your efforts have been for nothing.

The scale just does not show the entire picture, but if at this stage we bring our body fat into the picture we can help develop a clearer picture of how we are progressing.

Body-fat testing

Body-fat testing gives us a percentage that shows how much of your weight is made up of actual body-fat and how much of your weight is made up of muscle (lean mass). 

Here is an example of fat loss differs from weight loss:

You exercise 2-3x/week, doing a combination of strength training and cardio, you start to change your nutritional habits - you're feeling great! Then you check the scale to see it's only moved a couple of pounds. Instead of getting frustrated like times before, you recheck your body-fat percentage. 

The results show you've actually lost about 10lbs of fat while adding 5lbs of muscle - SUCCESS! 

On the surface, a few pounds of weight loss might not seem like a whole lot, but in reality, the change in body fat is HUGE for your health and physique.

How do we influence our body fat? – Calorie counting

To put it simply, the most effective way of losing bodyfat and changing the way we look and feel, is to count the calories we consume.

If we look at our bodies as an engine, then we burn a certain amount of fuel, even when we aren’t doing anything. This is known as your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and is the number of calories your body needs/burns to accomplish its most basic functions.

We then need to take into consideration your lifestyle and how much you move to figure out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).

Once we know this number, we can work out exactly how many calories you need to achieve your goals.

For example – if your TDEE is 2500kclas and you want to lose weight we recommended eating between 10-20% below this number (2000-2250kcals) and if you want to gain muscle, we recommended eating 10-20% more (2750-3000kcals)

To calculate your approximate TDEE, simply multiply these activity factors by your BMR.

  1. Sedentary (little to no exercise + work a desk job) = 1.2.
  2. Lightly Active (light exercise 1-3 days / week) = 1.375.
  3. Moderately Active (moderate exercise 3-5 days / week) = 1.55.
  4. Very Active (heavy exercise 6-7 days / week) = 1.725.

Your BMR can be found on a Boditrax machine (where available) or via any BMR calculator online.