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How Do You Know You're Gaining Muscle Not Fat?

So after two months I see that I got +2kg but most of it during last month. I am not sure whether I gained fat or muscles because I do not see visual difference. So I wonder how do I know whether I gained muscles or maybe fat or just retained water.

if you can’t visually see a difference, then you don’t.

If you got stronger you just have to take that as a good indicator at least some of it was muscle.


Measure upper arm, lower arm, thigh, calf, chest, neck, waist every Friday while you’re cold (not warmed up).

That is the most reliable way short of dexa scans.


One of the quickest indicators is clothing fit. If your clothes starts getting tight in the wrong areas, you’ve got a problem. If it starts getting tight in the right areas, that’s a good indicator. If they’re tight all over, use colder wash water.

A lot of gyms are offering caliper measurements now too. If yours does, get calipered at least monthly.


The Issue With Caliper Readings

  1. The majority of Personal Trainers in gym do not have the knowledge or enough experience with calipers to obtain accurate body fat percentage measurements.

There is a definitive protocol for using calipers. A good technician can obtain a somewhat good estimate of an individual body fat percentage, even with inexpensive calipers.

However, finding a really good technician is rare.


Krieger provide a series of articles the inaccuracy issue of all the various method of measuring body fat. Google "THE PITFALLS OF BODY FAT “MEASUREMENT” for more in depth information.

Kenny Croxdale

Appreciate the clarification. I would go back and qualify my statement as follows:

  1. As you’ve noted, caliper measurements are not always a clear indicator of absolute bf% because of limits with the person performing the measurement.
  2. Always have the same person caliper. This should improve the precision of the measurement, but not necessarily the accuracy.

I am enjoying seeing your input on a lot of these threads @KennyCrox because I am learning.

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Still Learning

pookie79, so am I.

I am also “Re-Learning”. New research at times overturns what we once believed to be true.

All truth passes through three stages.

First, it is ridiculed

Second, it is violently opposed.

Third, it is accepted as being self-evident

My initial reaction is the ridicule and opposing it.

The problem with most individuals is they stop there. They never do any homework on it or apply it to their training program.

It is impossible to know if something works without implementing those two factors.

As Einstein said, “Research is what I am doing, when I don’t know what I am doing.”

What I’ve found is that most new research that disputes the current dogma is usually on point.

Reversing Direction

Based on new research and practical experience, I have changed my views on such things as: Kaatsu/Occlusion Training, Post-Activation Potentiation Training, Cluster Sets, Refractory Periods with eating, "Reverse Dieting, Hyperthermia Training,the Ketogenic Diet, Intermittent Fasting, etc.

What I once ridiculed, I now embrace and advocate; depending on someone objective.

I had heated debate with a good friend years ago who’s a pencil neck geek that teaches Exercise Physiology at a college.

I told him he was incorrect.

After doing my research and implementing the training method, I told him that he was correct.

His reply was, “Then you were wrong.”

My reply, "NO, I did not admit to being wrong. I ONLY acknowledged you were right. :slight_smile:

Kenny Croxdale

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