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Body Composition vs The Scale

Updated: Jun 24, 2023

How many times have you got on the scales either at home, at the health club or in the doctor’s office?

Body Fat Calipers

What are the first thoughts that come through your head when you are about to get on the scale? Are all pounds equal when it comes to improving physical appearance and health? Body fat weight is different than muscle weight and the scale doe does not know the difference.

Body composition vs the scale...

People usually focus in different areas. Some focus on the scale, others on the difficulties of their new habits and others in old and new goals. When people only focus on the scale and don’t pay attention in their new habits and other changes, sometimes they end up dropping their weight loss program because they don’t see the scale change.

This does not mean that they are not getting results. It means that the scale is not telling them what they want to see, but in fact their body fat is decreasing. It is more important to focus on what you are changing than the scale number. This is why it is important to know the difference of body composition vs the scale.

Body composition assessments are very important in a weight loss program because you will truly know your body fat composition...

There are many ways of assessing body compositions, bioelectronical impedance, hydrostatic weighing, infrared body composition analysis, skinfold are some examples.

All have different costs and some are more accurate it than others. Choosing a body composition assessment method comes down to preference availability, cost and beliefs.

Body Fat Impedance

My point here is to find a way to do a body composition assessment instead of guessing your results because this is what you are doing when you weigh yourself on a scale.

Here are the reasons why:

When some of my clients focus on the scale, they become discouraged because they see a little or no change on the scale.

However, usually they tell me that their clothes fits better, looser on the waist and shoulders. When I show them they results with numbers and a chart, they start believing in their results. It is easy to have a visual of results. That is exactly what they expect from a scale.

Even though is not applicable for everyone, most of them, are losing fat and gaining muscle, reason why they weigh the same and the body is shaping to a smaller size. We, as a society, have an illusion about scale’s expectations even though we are already seeing results that can be measure in other ways.

Weight lifting will reduce your body fat...

Many women are afraid of weight lifting because of many myths in society. I had many clients who were afraid of getting “muscular,” but as soon as they see their body taking form and toning their body by decreasing their body fat, their worries are gone and they push more. Weight lifting is the only way you can tone your body because need to muscle to tone your body. If there is no enough muscle, you won't look tone. This is the reason why many times the scale does not change, because the exchange of muscle gain and body fat loss.

Woman doing military press

The first areas that we should be focusing on are habits and lifestyle changes. Ones we understand that, we need to focus on losing fat, not weight.

The only way to get results is by focusing on what we are doing to deliver results. For example, Staring at your bank account won't add money to your account, saving, investing and working will. So focus on your habits not the scale.

For some people the scale changes drastically. For others, is periodically small. It all depends in the levels of fat and muscle that the body has and the metabolism of the body. In addition, don’t forget that as we age, less muscle and more fat the body tends lose and gain. This is one of the reason why it takes more time to get results as we get older.c

Simply weighing a person does not tell us anything about their body fat...

Thus, a muscular individual may have a higher weight but less fat compared to a “healthy weight” individual. Focusing on weight loss as an indicator of improved fat loss has a similar limitation. By developing healthier living patterns, one’s body composition will change.

This will result in a loss of body fat, a slight increase in muscle mass, a smaller waistline with little or no change in body weight. Therefore, relax if you don’t see any changes on the scale and continue changing your lifestyle. There you have the differences of body composition vs the scale.


Custom Body Fitness is located in Glenwood Springs CO and Carbondale CO

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