Most people who are trying to lose
weight often become frustrated by the number that is displayed on the
scale. As a personal trainer I use the scale as a tool to determine an
individual’s fat mass. Multiplying a person’s body fat percentage by
the weight measured on the scale easily accomplishes this. The fat mass
number is then subtracted from their body weight, thus giving the
individuals lean mass, which is the muscle, water, and internal organs
of the body. For example, two females that are 5'6 and weight 135lbs
can look very different from each other, even to the extreme of being
polar opposites. One might have a body fat percentage of 33%, while the
other might have a percentage of only 22%. Of important note though,
one must realize that the weight on the scale can be influenced by
several different factors.
For example, an individual that weighs in
at 140 pounds, and ate a dinner high in salt content the previous
evening could possibly actually be showing a weight on the scale that is
actually higher than it could be by 2 to 5 pounds. This could be a
result of water retention from the salt of the previous evening’s meal.
Salt has the effect of retaining water at the cellular level in our
bodies. Other factors can also influence our body weights including
water retention, dehydration, recent illness, and pregnancy.
individuals whose weight will decrease the most significantly on the
scale are those individuals that are obese. Generally, as body fat
percentages go for males, 10% and under indicates very lean, 11-15%
indicates a lean individual, 16-20% is average, and 20% and higher is
considered obese. For women, the following percentages are used: 20%
and under indicates a very lean individual, 21%-25% indicates a lean
individual, 26%-34% is average, and 34% and greater is considered
A qualified personal trainer can check
your body fat percentage with a tape measure and a skin caliper, and
will be able to accurately calculate your fat mass. A realistic goal
for most people is to lose 3% body fat in 4-6 weeks. This is done
without starving the body, and being on a rigorous exercise program.
Although most individuals will be able to lose some fat percentage, it
will be easier for those with higher body fat percentages to do so.
In addition to loosing body fat,
individuals might actually notice an increase in the weigh-in number on
the scale after starting a weight-training program. This is perfectly
natural after starting a weight-training program. As the body begins to
build muscle, and lose fat at the same time, the heavy mass of the
muscle may outweigh the mass of the fat that the body has lost. Again,
a qualified personal trainer like me, Scott White, can measure your
body accurately, in addition to weighing your mass on a scale and give
you the percentages of your fat and muscle. Once your body percentages
have been determined, you can move forward with a fitness plan and a set
of goals to achieve.
get your body fat percentage and lose weight by the test, not the