Whether you are trying to lose weight, improve your fitness, or just want to know your measurements to enable ordering clothes online, using a body measurement chart may help you achieve your goals and objectives. We all love to get positive feedback, especially when we are trying to lose weight. We put in the effort to diet, work out and expect to see the results on the scales.
Many people get discouraged when they do not see the results they were expecting on the scales. After working out for several weeks and watching what they eat, the scales do not report the numbers they were expecting. Many give up at this point since they do not see the decline on the scales they were expecting.
How can a body measurement chart help with motivation? Where should you take the measurements, and what are the other benefits of using a body measurement chart? We will explore these concepts and more in the following post.
What Is a Body Measurement Chart?
A body measurement chart indicates the primary locations on your body where you should take measurements. The chart helps to ensure that the measurements you take are always taken in the same location on your body each time. They are also the locations where you would expect to see results as you tone up your body and lose weight.
Tracking these measurements, in addition to tracking your weight, provides positive reinforcement of the progress you are making. You might not lose that many pounds; however, if you are losing inches around your waist, chest, and hips along with other locations, you can see the progress over time.
Readers should remember that there are no perfect body measurements. These measurements are used to track your progress towards the body shape you are aiming for.
What is a Body Measurement Chart Template?
A body measurement chart template includes all of the locations on your body where measurements should be taken. Many people limit their measurements to the chest, waist, and hips; however, that does not tell the entire story. In addition, knowing all of your measurements can be useful when making online purchases for clothing.
The template typically will include measurements as follows:
- High hip
- Waist to knee
Take your measurements at the same location, once a week or once a month, and always at the same location. Use your chest, belly button, and hip bones as location points to ensure that your measurements are consistent each time.
Male Body Measurement Chart (PDF Template)
Female Body Measurement Chart (PDF Template)
Why Should You use a body measurement chart?
People who are attempting to lose weight by diet alone may lose a combination of fat and muscle. Folks who are following an exercise routine and dieting may not lose weight as quickly and gain muscle in the areas that respond to the type of exercise they are doing. If you are doing exercise and dieting, but the scales are not responding the way you had hoped, you could be gaining muscle and losing fat with the net result that your weight is staying about the same.
A body measurement chart records the change in your body as you diet and exercise. While you might lose inches around your waist, muscles in your legs and arms increase because you are doing a combination of cardio and resistance training. The net result is that you only lose a few pounds, lose several inches off your waist, but gain inches on your thighs, shoulders, and arms.
You can measure and see the results, which for many is very motivational and keeps us going with the diet and workout program we are following.
How to Take Your Body Measurements?
Once you have printed the body measurement chart or created a table on a spreadsheet for your use, it is time to take your first measurements. You should have a flexible measuring tape, wear form-fitting clothes and if you are a woman, wear the same bra each time since different types of bra can affect the measurements.
Stand straight, do not lean to one side or the other, place your feet together, relax and stand in a natural position.
Take measurements at each of the locations indicated on your chart and note any identifying marks that will help you always measure the same location each time. E.g., a belly button, a freckle, hip bones, etc., measure at the fullest part of your bust, at the navel or belly button, and the widest part of the hips. Measure your thighs or upper leg at the widest point. You might also measure down from your hip bone or belly button to ensure the same location is always measured.
Make a note of all of the measurements, and then repeat the process every week or monthly basis to track your progress.
How to Use a Body Measurement Chart?
One of the most important elements of using the body measurement chart is to measure consistently in terms of intervals and location on your body. Measuring more than once per week is not recommended. Measuring every two weeks or once a month is suggested to see results and to manage expectations. In addition, always measure at the same location on your body. Whether you use a freckle, belly button, or other marks, always place your tape at the same location for measuring.
The most common areas to measure are the chest/bust, hips, thighs/upper legs, and waist/stomach areas.
Chest/Bust – measure using a flexible tape measure around the largest portion of your chest or bust. Run the tape under your arms, and if you were a bra, always measure with the same bra since bra’s vary a great deal in terms of padding and support.
Hips – measure around the widest part of your hips with your feet together using a flexible measuring tape.
Thighs/ Upper Legs – measure your upper leg at the widest point. Alternatively, choose a point and measure from that point to your hip bone or some other mark to help you locate the same location to measure each time.
Waist/Stomach – measure at the smallest point on your waist, which may not line up with your belly button. Note the location of your belly button in relation to where you are measuring, and use this as a guide for future measurements.
Body Part Measurements VS. Scale
Many people choose to use a scale only and are sometimes disappointed with their weight loss progress. One of the reasons pertains to the amount of muscle they gain while losing body fat. If you gain five pounds of muscle while losing five pounds of fat, the scale will not show any improvement, and many people stop with their program at this point because they are discouraged.
Body part measurements may tell another story. You may have lost weight around your stomach and hips while gaining weight in your legs, arms, and shoulders. This is a reason to celebrate and continue with your diet/exercise program.
Most people would like to build more muscle while losing fat content. However, even if the scale suggests you have lost weight, did you lose muscle or fat? The best approach is to use both the scale and body part measurements to monitor fat loss, muscle gain, and overall weight loss.
Another factor to consider is that muscle burns more calories than fat. For example, ten pounds of muscle burns about 50 calories every day, while fat only burns 20 calories every day. Another reason is to build muscle and help reduce your weight further.
How Else Should I Track Progress?
Tracking our progress helps motivate us to do more and achieve more success in our lives. The same is true for losing weight and becoming more fit. In addition to performing body measurements and weighing ourselves at regular intervals, there are several other methods to track your progress of diet, exercise, and weight loss training.
Taking photos of yourself before beginning a program of this kind is a great way to visually see how much progress you are making. Be sure to take front, back, and side photos.
Some people like to use body caliper measurements to measure the fat content of their skin. Consistency is important. Always measure at the same location. Measure no more than once a week, with monthly measurements preferred.
If you are doing a combination of cardio and weight-bearing exercises, keep track of the amount of cardio and weight you lift. How many minutes did it take to go one mile? How much weight can you lift? Always use a spotter and never overdo it to avoid injuries.
The following are some of the frequently asked questions that many readers have related to body measurement charts.
The female body measurement chart is essentially the same as the male chart. All of the same measurements are taken at the same locations; however, due to obvious anatomical differences, the actual numbers will be different on average than those of a man. There are no ideal measurements for a woman. Everyone has a different body type, and we should be proud of who we are and feel good about ourselves. Do we eat healthily, and are we in good health is the most important consideration? Paying attention to body measurements and the scale helps to ensure that we are living a healthy life.
Similar to the comments about the female body measurement chart, the male body measurement chart is no different. The same comments apply. In addition, men will have a higher muscle mass than women, and their measurements will be correspondingly different. Focus on building muscle and decreasing fat levels. The body measurement chart will assist everyone in meeting their goals.
These numbers refer to the measurement of one’s body, specifically a women’s body. The numbers 36-24-36 refer to the bust – 36 inches, the waist – 24 inches, and the hips at 36 inches. These measurements referred at one time to what mem thought was the ideal measurements for a woman. Today women and men are taught to be healthy and proud of their bodies regardless of their measurements. Being healthy is the primary focus today.
There are no ideal measurements for women or men. Everyone has a different body type and height. There are recommendations for the percent of body fat that men and women should strive to adhere to; however, even these are averages and are not ideal for every body type. The average body fat that is considered acceptable for a woman is in the 18-24% range. Anyone over 24% is considered obese.
Men are considered obese if their body fat measurements are greater than 32% and acceptable in the range of 25-31%. Athletes and fitness buffs will have fat levels in the range of 14-24% for men and 6-17% for women.
Anyone interested in losing weight and improving their health through diet and exercise can benefit from using a body measurement chart to keep track of the changes in their bodies. Using only a scale may not provide the positive feedback they need to stick with their regime of diet and exercise. Exercise builds muscle and reduces fat levels leading to little weight loss but significant changes to body measurements around your chest, waist, and hips.
Muscle gain is considered better than only losing weight, and muscle burns more calories than fat does. Using a scale does not tell you whether you are losing fat or muscle or both, while body measurements can provide the additional information needed to understand how much fat is being lost while building muscle.
Use a body measurement chart to record your measurements and measure once a month consistently in the same locations, across your chest, at your belly button or the narrowest point on your waist, and across your hips at the largest location. Use freckles or other markings to ensure consistency in location for measuring. Some people may want to measure once a week; however, changes in measurements should not be expected to be as dramatic as they would be if you measured once a month.
Take photos front and back and from your side to use as a reference. Wear tight-fitting clothes and keep them private for your reference and comparison at a later date to track your progress.
The measurements you take will also help in shopping for clothes since you will have all of the measurements needed, especially if you are shopping online. Finally, there are no perfect numbers. What matters is being healthy and proud of your body.