Editor’s Note: This post is written by our elite performance specialist Andrew Verdon. Andrew has completed a Diploma in Exercise Science, Certificate IV in Fitness, Level 1 Strength Coaching Qualifications with ASCA. He is currently completing a Post Grad Diploma in Applied Science (Elite Sports Training) and will go on to do a Masters in Recovery.
Want a really simple way to check your body fat levels and the level of health risk this could put you at? Here is a reliable and easy test you can do at home with a tape measure (and a note pad).
With a tape measure held horizontal take it around your waist at the level of your belly button. Keep your tummy muscles relaxed and take the measure. The most accurate way to get the measure is to get someone to hold the tape and sight the measure on the right hand side- not the front. If you doing it by yourself then place your finger on the number on the right of your body and let the tape go and record where your finger was- simple!
What should it be?
|Healthy range||At risk level||High risk level|
|Male||Under 90cm||94cm-101cm||102 cm +|
|Female||Under 80cm||82-88cm||89cm +|
This now gives you your starting point and you can see how effective your dietary modifications and exercise sessions are. If they are working you should see some reduction in the number after around 2-3 weeks. I often see a large drop initially then a plateau after 2-3 months but keep on going till it reaches the healthy range. I put much more emphasis on this number than body weight as this a direct measure of the body fat levels and your impact on them.
If you are in the healthy range then check it every 8 weeks to keep and eye on it- if you see it creeping up then get moving! If it is in the higher ranges then I think you should check it every week- record the score and track your progress. I do this with my clients at every session and it is a very powerful tool to monitor and give them motivation to keep up the good work.