Measuring for Progress


For the most part, I have always been under the impression that the MORE data or the MORE information you have on a subject, the more overall knowledge you have on that given subject and the better the decisions you will make when you need to. This relates to tracking your personal training clients as it does with anything else. You would not make large-scale decisions based off of zero information in the corporate world so why would you when it comes to your client?

While I understood the importance of having MORE information at the ready, I failed to implement it early on in my training career. I knew this information was important but I failed to have clients keep track. Now, that does not mean that my clients were not making progress because they were, it just means that I could have shown progress in different ways, ways outside of just the number on the scale and progress pictures.


Let’s face it. The number on the scale usually sucks and usually sucks more so when we are consistently doing everything right and the number is not budging a bit. Hell, it may even rise on occasion. There are MANY reasons behind this but that is not the goal of this article. So, I needed another way that would help myself and my clients track their progress better because changes are still being made even when the scale is not budging.

The answer lies in measuring. Measuring certain areas of your body, consistently, week after week can help the client and the coach know if the client is progressing or not. A change in body composition is the goal for many clients. No one should really care about the number on the scale. We should care more about our appearance. Measuring lets us do that.


There are a total of 9 key areas where I have my clients measure themselves weekly. The most important part of measuring is that it has do be done under the same conditions. I find it best to measure directly after weighing yourself on Monday mornings so that you are completely flushed out. You should also make sure to tense and flex the areas that you are measuring as well. This will push the muscle against the skin and give you a good consistent reading each time. You can use the widest part of your legs, the nipple-line for the chest, and the bicep peaks for your arms. And you need to be accurate. Take and note your measurements to the nearest 0.1cm.

The nine key areas are as followed:
– Chest
– Right Arm
– Left Arm
– 2 inches or 2 fingers above the navel
– Navel
– 2 inches or 2 fingers below the navel
– Hips (at their widest point)
– Right Thigh
– Left Thigh

Here are some links to some tape measure as well:
– MyoTape
– OrbiTape

All-in-all, while tracking weight is certainly beneficial for progress, having MORE information at the ready can help you make wiser decisions when going to adjust your client’s training or nutrition. You should look to use each method together along with progress pictures to really keep a close watch on your client.