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Body composition tracking - choosing the right method

Andrew Garlick

An athlete may be concerned with tracking how well their body is responding to their training load, diet and supplement routine. Depending on their training phase that may mean muscle growth or possibly muscle maintenance and fat reduction. Any reduction in lean mass or drastic body fat reduction can suggest ‘overtraining’ or poor recovery and nutrition which may lead to detraining and excessive fatigue.

For a typical “weight loss” client trying to reduce body fat, we are usually trying to preserve their lean muscle mass, to keep their metabolism functioning well and to help with muscle tone. In some cases an increase in muscle mass is desirable for added strength and functionality as well as aesthetics.

In any case, regardless of the specific performance, health, or aesthetic goals, monitoring the changes in body composition is one of the best ways to understand how someone is responding to their training program and nutrition plan. Picking up positive and negative changes are just as useful in allowing us all to make judgements as to whether we will keep training a certain way or whether we need to change our approach.

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