Learn how to take body measurements for weight loss correctly so you can really measure your success. How to measure, where to measure, and how often will help you on your fitness journey!

measuring waist with tape measure

When you’re trying to find a way to measure progress on your weight loss, it’s a good idea to use measurements of your body parts rather than weighing on the scale. The scale can be deceptive. But if you are measuring pounds lost, remember these few tips:

  • Don’t weigh every day. Your weight will fluctuate based on many factors from day to day. Stick to once a day week or, even better, once a month to get a better picture.
  • Weigh at the same time each time. If you eat and drink first, do that every time. If you don’t, then don’t every time. Weigh wearing the same weight of clothing each time.
  • Remember that your weight fluctuates dramatically by water weight especially for women, so the scale isn’t the best measure of actual pounds of fat or muscle.
  • Muscle is heavier than fat, so if you are lifting weights and building muscle, your weight may actually go up as your body gets smaller and more fit.
person standing on a scale with tape measure

If you want more of my weight loss story and how I grew up on little Debbies and soda and learned how to change my health and life through exercise and nutrition, check out this nutrition guide. It has some basic dos and don’ts that my wife and I used for me to lose 100 pounds and be on no medication at age 53. There are also some sample meal plans in there. It was a long process, not a quick fix, but if I can do it, so can you!

How to measure the body

Measuring inches is a far better way to determine fitness level and loss of fat as well as muscle gained. There are a few ways to get the best measurements. Use a flexible measuring tape that is made of fabric or plastic so it can hug the curves of your body. Remember these tips:

  • Stand up straight with good posture. Don’t slouch.
  • Make sure your tape is straight and not twisted.
  • Look in the mirror if you’re measuring yourself and make sure your tape is going around the body part you are measuring and doesn’t go up or down in the back.
  • Place the tape snugly up against the body but don’t indent the skin or fat. Just hug it slightly.
  • Don’t suck in or flex, relax the body.

I like to measure the chest, waist, and right thigh about once a month or once every 3 months to measure the progress of my clients. When someone comes into the gym for a fitness evaluation, they will usually come back in 3 months to a year for another one to compare it to. It’s fun to see their progress and I’ve been loving the inches I’ve lost since I started losing weight after my health situations have improved.

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How to take chest measurements

To measure the chest, put the tape measure around your back and meet up in the center of your chest. Try to make the tape go straight across your nipples to get the best measurement.

man measuring waist with tape measure

How to measure thigh

Measure your right thigh, it’s always a little bigger than the left on most people. If you are building muscle, you’ll see a lot of increase in the thigh. If you are losing a lot of fat, you’ll see a big difference there too. Place your tape around the widest part of the mid thigh, there’s a little place where fat kind of collects there. You’ll know it when you see it. Then take the tape straight from there.

How to measure waist

To measure your waist, line the tape measure up on your belly button. Then check in the mirror and make sure you are measuring straight around the back. That will give you a great indicator because you’ll always have that “land mark” to follow.

There are other places to measure. Some people do the hips and biceps as well. We do for the fitness evaluations. You can measure any place where you want to track the progress.

For the hips, find the widest part and measure that and for the bicep do the same. It’s about mid upper arm as well. Similar to the thigh.

You’re going to love seeing the inches go down as you lose fat or go up as you gain muscle in your arms and legs. Measuring is a great way to stay encouraged on your fitness journey! If you keep up the work, you’ll be looking like you want and feeling better in no time.

Here are some workouts to get you started on your weight loss journey too:

And don’t forget these free workouts for obese beginners too! Remember that exercise helps you control your food cravings! Try one of these easy workouts to get started. And don’t forget to set reasonable Fitness Goals to keep you on track.