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Methods for Tracking Your Clients Fat Loss Progress

Methods for Tracking Your Clients Fat Loss Progress

As a part of the whole process, a variety of tried and tested body composition techniques can be used to determine a client’s percentage of body fat. These are important assessments, as they give us a baseline measurement to work from for it helps to use this percentage (%) figure to determine the best course of action in the amount of time available to reach weight loss goals.

An additional bonus is that these measurements from the body composition assessments can be used to review and evaluate your clients’ weight loss success. Also, they can identify any errors in weight gain that may occur during a weight loss program and can be rectified by a fitness professional team.

In this post, we will discuss the techniques that we use to assess body composition so that there will be no hidden surprises during your weight loss program.

Body Composition

What is body composition? This refers to the amount of percentage % of body fat compared to the fat-free mass that is in the body.

Fat-free mass can be defined as body weight that doesn’t include the fat that is stored (e.g. muscle mass, bones, teeth, water & organs) whereas the body fat has two components essentially and non-essentially. The essential body fat is required for the body to function normally and the non-essential body fat is stored as adipose tissue within various regions of the body like the stomach.

Body composition techniques have the following benefits:

  • Identifies your health risk for extremely high or low body fat.
  • Monitor change in percentage body fat.
  • Helps you to establish a healthy body weight.
  • Used to monitor change related to chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes.

Body mass index (BMI)

Body mass index is an assessment based on the concept that a person’s weight should be relative to their height. A high BMI is connected to a significant risk of chronic disease(s), especially if associated with a ‘big’ waist circumference. Although this assessment is not intended to assess percentage of body fat, the BMI test is a quick and effective technique for calculating whether a certain weight is appropriate for a certain height. It is calculated by dividing the weight in kilograms by the square of the height in meters.

The lowest risk for disease is within a BMI range of 22 to 24.9. Research has indicated that the risk of diseases increases with a BMI of 25 or above, and also in individuals who are underweight (see table below). However, one weakness of BMI is that it fails to differentiate fat mass in the body compared to lean body mass. If one is muscular or athletic then they could fall in to the increased to high categories.

Waist-to-Hip Ratio Technique

This technique is one of the most widely used to determine girth measurements. It is important because there is a strong connection between chronic diseases and abdominal stored fat, with a ratio greater than 0.80 for women and 0.95 for men being associated with a high risk of disease. The waist to hip ratio can be calculated by dividing the waist measurements by the hip measurements, and these will be taken by a personal trainer in the following way using a measuring tape:

  • After breathing in, the waist at the smallest point will be measured.
  • The largest region of the hips will then be measured.
  • A calculation using the following formula will be used to find the waist/hip ratio.

John Parillo Formula for Body Fat

Skin calipers are used to determine the amount of subcutaneous fat underneath a client’s skin. The measurements are taken from the 9 sites; they can be either worked out using the equation below or there is a calculation page on the website below.


% Body Fat = (Sum of 9 sites x .27) divided by bodyweight (lbs)

(Where sum of skinfold sites is in mm, body weight is in lbs).

The skinfold sites are:

  • Abdominal
  • Bicep
  • Calf
  • Kidney
  • Pectoral
  • Quads
  • Subscapular
  • Suprailiac
  • Tricep

Measuring Your Body Weight and Body Fat Percentage (%)

Using a set of bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA) scales is recommended. a BIA measures the electrical resistance, or opposition to the flow of an electric current through the body. Hydration levels can have an impact on the accuracy of the results, as muscle has a higher water content and conductivity than fat. These scales are cost-effective, user-friendly and measure fat-free mass and percentage of body fat.

Learn More

If you want to help clients with food, diet, weight management and improving the results of their fitness routines, the Fitness Nutrition Coach course is for you. You will learn about optimal nutrition, including proven techniques for increasing energy, optimal health and decreased dependence on medications. Instantly increase your job and career opportunities with this popular professional credential.

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Or become a Certified Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist and help your clients achieve their weight loss or weight management goals using the latest proven strategies.

Is your recertification coming up? Learn more about earning your CEU credits. You can find the full list of CEU courses here.

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That’s it for now.

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