The body fat trap

All Things Fitness

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Hands up how many of you either own a set of scales that has a body fat measuring setting or have used one of the ‘pay me £1 and I’ll measure everything’ scales in your gym changing rooms…

It’s okay, me too!

So for anyone that doesn’t know, I just started my Level 2 and 3 Personal trainer course. On day one we got onto talking about body fat measuring and our tutor asked if anyone was brave enough to get theirs measured. So I popped my hand up and figured I had nothing to lose since I’ve recently competed. We weren’t told how it was being measured yet. Out came the scales with a handle that pulls out for you to hold onto that sends signals through your body and when those signals feed back, you get your body fat percentage. On I got, gripping the handles feeling pretty confident for what was going to come back.

For my competition I sat at under 13% body fat. I knew I had to work to put some on after my competition so my reading wouldn’t have come back at that same level of lean….. There I am hands on the handles, what is the reading? … 26%

Now, I knew this wasn’t right because I know my body. So why did it come back incorrect? Here are a few reasons of why it could be incorrect:

• I’d drank coffee recently so there was caffeine in my system. The readings base around how hydrated you are and caffeine dehydrates your muscles, affecting the reading.
• I had eaten recently. Undigested food counts as weight and goes into the readings, I don’t think I want my undigested porridge going into my calculations….
• I needed the loo. A full bladder will also affect the readings.
• The scale was on a carpet floor. For a more accurate reading, the scale should be place on an even hard surface.

There are many more reasons that I could go into as to why the reading wasn’t correct. I’m just fortunate now to know that this wasn’t my actual body fat reading. If I was a newbie to the gym at the start of my journey, I’d have probably believed that over 1/4 of my body was fat because that’s what the machine was telling me.

So why do we need to know our body fat percentage?

We don’t!

Plain and simple. Unless you’re an elite athlete where those kinds of measurements NEED to be taken and tracked, you don’t NEED to know this. Much like measuring your weight and stepping on the scales, it is one of those things that it is easy to fall into obsessing over. We get caught up in the numbers and seeing them decrease causing all kinds of anxiety and pressures placed on ourselves by ourselves.

The most important thing is how you FEEL. No matter your fitness, health, weight loss goals it is a much nicer journey when you judge by how you feel in your own skin. If you look in the mirror and go ‘yes girl you are looking great today! The hard work is paying off’ then amazing!; stepping on the scale after that to check if you’re right to feel that way can easily diminish all of those great feelings if you aren’t happy with the reading.

So come on ladies (and gents) join me and step away from those addictive and (probably) incorrect fat scanners. If you feel great, own it! Celebrate that great feeling and you’ll look much more radiant because it’s coming from within. No one else can see the numbers so it’s only going to mess with you.

Here’s to feeling good and letting it shine from the inside out!

Char x

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