I have been training for six months. My goal, as most people, is to build muscle and lose fat. 

I am unable to tell for sure, whether I am progressing or not. How do I know whether I am progressing? 

Tshewang Dorji 

20 years old 

Dear Tshewang,

That’s a very good question. It’s absolutely necessary to know how to measure progress, as progress is an integral factor in creating motivation to be consistent in everything we do.

Since your goal is to build muscle and lose fat, I am going to isolate measuring progress just for your goals.

1. Measure body fat percentage: 

You want to measure your fat percentage, and keep a track on it to gauge your fat burning progress, less fat means more visible and defined musculature, it also means less of a useless load for your body to carry around, your relative strength will go up, making you more efficient.

The simplest and most reliable way of measuring body fat percentage, is by using a fat measuring caliper.

2. Taking photograph: 

It is a good idea to take photos every two weeks, and make critical comparisons by you and an eye of another person, who is knowledgeable, educated and experienced in this field.

So you can make adjustments to your training, nutrition and lifestyle to achieve your personal goals.

3. Measure strength:

Keep detailed measurements of weight lifted for various exercise and reps completed with good technique.

Exercises like barbell squats, deadlift and bench press are there best and most reliable to measure strength.

An increase in strength will translate directly into an increase in muscle size, which are correlated.

First our strength increases and than new muscle growth follows.

Tip of the week

It is absolutely necessary to have tangible results

4. Measuring your body parts:

Measuring your arms, waist, thighs, calves, forearms, etc. are a reliable way not only to measure muscle growth, but to know exactly how your muscle gain is being distributed in the body.

Doing so you can work harder on your weaker muscle and go easier on your stronger ones.

5. Bodyweight: 

Measuring body weight once every two weeks is one measurement of progress. But don’t take it as the final word on your progress, as it’s far easier to put on fat than muscle.

So taking all the five factors into consideration, will give you the most reliable analysis of your progress.