T Nation

Measuring Body Mass?

What is the proper way to measure ones body mass. I’ve noticed that my weight bounces all over the place throughout the day. I usually measure it at the gym, but it still varies from day to day depending on whether I just ate, visited the toilet, or drank water.

So how do you guys standardize your body mass measurements?

[quote]C-Bonics wrote:
What is the proper way to measure ones body mass. I’ve noticed that my weight bounces all over the place throughout the day. I usually measure it at the gym, but it still varies from day to day depending on whether I just ate, visited the toilet, or drank water.

So how do you guys standardize your body mass measurements?[/quote]

You are asking the wrong question.

Everyone’s weight fluctuates throughout the day and the body mass index means absolutely nothing when it comes to body composition. There is no need to “standardize” it as there is no way to do this as if you weight doesn’t fluctuate.

You quit weighing yourself so often and pay more attention to whether it is gradually increasing or decreasing over all. You try to weigh yourself under similar conditions each time to eliminate the x-factors.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
C-Bonics wrote:
What is the proper way to measure ones body mass. I’ve noticed that my weight bounces all over the place throughout the day. I usually measure it at the gym, but it still varies from day to day depending on whether I just ate, visited the toilet, or drank water.

So how do you guys standardize your body mass measurements?

You are asking the wrong question.

Everyone’s weight fluctuates throughout the day and the body mass index means absolutely nothing when it comes to body composition. There is no need to “standardize” it as there is no way to do this as if you weight doesn’t fluctuate.

You quit weighing yourself so often and pay more attention to whether it is gradually increasing or decreasing over all. You try to weigh yourself under similar conditions each time to eliminate the x-factors.[/quote]

I don’t recall mentioning the body mass index anywhere in my question. I’ve just noticed that the fluctuation in body weight throughtout the day varies by a huge factor, and I am only trying to minimize the X factor like you called it.

OP,

In future when the prof replies to your message, you generally get every question answered but without the space-filling signposting. So work on your comprehension.

Your question : how do you standardise your body mass measurements. This question implies accounting for the x-factor, which is impossible and time wasting. So, what are some possible solutions?

  1. Take many measurements to discover the overall trend.

Do many measurements(by this I mean over a period of months/years, not many measurements everyday). Graph them, and draw a line of best fit. The slope of your line will indicate the nature of your weight gain/loss. It will not tell you anything about body composition.

  1. Minimize x-factor

Measure yourself as soon as you wake up. This is as close as you can get to a constant condition. If it’s not feasible, then any attempt at a rigid schedule of activities before an afternoon weigh in is generally futile and not worth the effort. In any case, it is not of any importance to know your exact weight from day to day, you should only be interested in the pattern of change.

-Cloth

hmm, so your weight keeps fluctuating eh? You aren’t by any chance traveling in space are you? A change in the distance you are from massive astronomical bodies can affect how you feel their gravitational pull, hence changing your weight (but, obviously, not your mass).

Perhaps you should try measuring your mass, which is constant, or taking each day’s weight measurement and adjusting for the gravitational pull you’re experiencing when it’s taken.

For example, the gravity on earth is 1G, but on the moon, it’s only about 0.17G hence if you were to weigh yourself here on earth and find that you weight 200 lbs, then you were to take off on one of your crazy space missions to the moon, you’d find you only weighed 33.3 lbs. Plus or minus water weight and whatnot.

Hope that helped (not really, just bored and felt like being an ass),
Jay

I’m not sure what exactly what you’re after here, but you are never going to stop fluctuations throughout the day which defines immediately out of existence any hope of the type of standardization it seems you’re after. Kind of what Professor X was saying.

Personally I don’t use any “body mass” measurements the way I think you are defining that term. When I was a disgusting fat body and decided to not be any more I swear to you I didn’t weigh myself before I started and I didn’t weigh myself once for 3 or 4 months. Didn’t care.

What am I going to say? Yippeee I lost a pound? I wanted that round belly and the fat cheeks gone and nothing was going to make me happy until the mirror told me they were. Who cares what the scale says.

Now I’m working on gaining some meat and the scale is much more useful, but only over time. The difference between 7am and 6 pm means nothing, but the general trend between last week and this week does.

I go along with the less often is more useful school. Concentrate more energy on training and less on sketchy measurements until you’re in a position for them to be of some use. My 2, ok maybe that was 3 cents.

When I said “mass”, someone confused it for body mass index. So I also used weight, and now someone starts acting like my old physics teacher.

On the other hand Tiri I guess you’re right. I dunno I was just interested in knowing how my gains are going. What I wanted to avoid was measuring myself at a day’s low and come a month later and measure it at a day’s high.

Anyways I guess it doesnt matter much like everyone said as long as you see a trend.

Like it’s been said, just put your measurements into Excel or one of the free “office” programs. It would take you 30 seconds per day. Take your waist measurements if you want, or just see if your belt gets tighter or looser.

I’ll give a you a practical example.
This morning I weighed 210. 5 minutes ago I weighed 213. So what? Water.

However 2 months ago or so I weighed 200 and was pinching just about the same amount next to my belly button. This is good news, but 3 pounds morning to night tells me what?

Don’t get me wrong, but myself and some other guys are just saying instead of worrying about an avalanche of data that’s not very useful I’d rather have a lot less that tells me something meaningful. It’s less work too.

[quote]C-Bonics wrote:
When I said “mass”, someone confused it for body mass index. So I also used weight, and now someone starts acting like my old physics teacher.

On the other hand Tiri I guess you’re right. I dunno I was just interested in knowing how my gains are going. What I wanted to avoid was measuring myself at a day’s low and come a month later and measure it at a day’s high.

Anyways I guess it doesnt matter much like everyone said as long as you see a trend.[/quote]

Guy, no one confused what you said. The ONLY standardization for BODY MASS is the BODY MASS INDEX. It is used for large populations of people which is why it is STANDARDIZED. I told you that you were asking the wrong question and then told you how to eliminate factors that contribute to weight fluctuation…but that isn’t enough?

I swear, it is like I need crayons sometimes. How is what I wrote not clear enough?

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
I’ll give a you a practical example.
This morning I weighed 210. 5 minutes ago I weighed 213. So what? Water.

However 2 months ago or so I weighed 200 and was pinching just about the same amount next to my belly button. This is good news, but 3 pounds morning to night tells me what?

Don’t get me wrong, but myself and some other guys are just saying instead of worrying about an avalanche of data that’s not very useful I’d rather have a lot less that tells me something meaningful. It’s less work too.[/quote]

Well said. Body composition makes body WEIGHT a much less useful form of data. I weigh myself more often when gaining. I weigh myself once a week or less when dropping weight. Obviously, my ideal would be to stay the same weight while affecting my body composition towards more lean body mass.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
C-Bonics wrote:
When I said “mass”, someone confused it for body mass index. So I also used weight, and now someone starts acting like my old physics teacher.

On the other hand Tiri I guess you’re right. I dunno I was just interested in knowing how my gains are going. What I wanted to avoid was measuring myself at a day’s low and come a month later and measure it at a day’s high.

Anyways I guess it doesnt matter much like everyone said as long as you see a trend.

Guy, no one confused what you said. The ONLY standardization for BODY MASS is the BODY MASS INDEX. It is used for large populations of people which is why it is STANDARDIZED. I told you that you were asking the wrong question and then told you how to eliminate factors that contribute to weight fluctuation…but that isn’t enough?

I swear, it is like I need crayons sometimes. How is what I wrote not clear enough?[/quote]

Not exactly Prof X - he’s trying compare his scale weight to his “true” weight, not to a population. Just do what Cloth said.

[quote]HoratioSandoval wrote:
Professor X wrote:
C-Bonics wrote:
When I said “mass”, someone confused it for body mass index. So I also used weight, and now someone starts acting like my old physics teacher.

On the other hand Tiri I guess you’re right. I dunno I was just interested in knowing how my gains are going. What I wanted to avoid was measuring myself at a day’s low and come a month later and measure it at a day’s high.

Anyways I guess it doesnt matter much like everyone said as long as you see a trend.

Guy, no one confused what you said. The ONLY standardization for BODY MASS is the BODY MASS INDEX. It is used for large populations of people which is why it is STANDARDIZED. I told you that you were asking the wrong question and then told you how to eliminate factors that contribute to weight fluctuation…but that isn’t enough?

I swear, it is like I need crayons sometimes. How is what I wrote not clear enough?

Not exactly Prof X - he’s trying compare his scale weight to his “true” weight, not to a population. Just do what Cloth said.[/quote]

His scale weight IS his “true weight”. Muscle mass is largely water. I can go from a very low carb diet to one high in carbs and go up 10lbs in two days. My muscles will look more full…because they are larger. That 10lbs gain is still my " true weight".

Likewise, I can go up 3lbs over the course of a day from the time I get out of bed to the time I go to sleep. That weight is also my “true weight”.

The real question is, do you understand this? Your post implies that you don’t and that you believe these fluctuations don’t represent real gains. Your entire body is in flux all day everyday. People thinking in terms of some static state of being are the ones confused. That is the point being made and I am not sure you get it. I am positive the OP doesn’t.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
HoratioSandoval wrote:
Professor X wrote:

The real question is, do you understand this? Your post implies that you don’t and that you believe these fluctuations don’t represent real gains. Your entire body is in flux all day everyday. People thinking in terms of some static state of being are the ones confused. That is the point being made and I am not sure you get it. I am positive the OP doesn’t.[/quote]

Yeah, I do understand - that’s why I put “true” in quotation marks. I don’t care that I’m 1 pound heavier if I eat 1 pound of food, and I bet you don’t either. And the OP gets it, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked the question.

He’s just trying to separate the changes in his weight that are due to diet and training from changes that are due to everything else. The BMI stuff was still from out of left field.

[quote]HoratioSandoval wrote:
Professor X wrote:
HoratioSandoval wrote:
Professor X wrote:

The real question is, do you understand this? Your post implies that you don’t and that you believe these fluctuations don’t represent real gains. Your entire body is in flux all day everyday. People thinking in terms of some static state of being are the ones confused. That is the point being made and I am not sure you get it. I am positive the OP doesn’t.

Yeah, I do understand - that’s why I put “true” in quotation marks. I don’t care that I’m 1 pound heavier if I eat 1 pound of food, and I bet you don’t either. And the OP gets it, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked the question.

He’s just trying to separate the changes in his weight that are due to diet and training from changes that are due to everything else. The BMI stuff was still from out of left field. [/quote]

The BMI stuff was letting him know that his QUESTION was from out in left field and that the BMI is the only way to “standardize” weight. Was this not clear in the FIRST response telling him that he was asking the wrong question?

This whole thing about record keeping is one area where I definitely wouldn’t say my way is necessarily the best for most guys, but I don’t write anything down.

I have never kept written track of sets, reps, weight, bf etc. I am in no way implying that this is what this guy should do either, but if I start down that road my obsessive personality will have me analyzing charts and graphs and searching for formulas.

My routines and goals are simple enough where I can just keep mental track. I weigh myself, pinch my midsection and look in the mirror when I think of it and just keep of track of the general direction everything’s moving in. Like I say not for everybody, but I do think some guys might be better off with something closer to this than all the in depth analysis they seem to get bogged down in.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
HoratioSandoval wrote:
Professor X wrote:
HoratioSandoval wrote:
Professor X wrote:

The real question is, do you understand this? Your post implies that you don’t and that you believe these fluctuations don’t represent real gains. Your entire body is in flux all day everyday. People thinking in terms of some static state of being are the ones confused. That is the point being made and I am not sure you get it. I am positive the OP doesn’t.

Yeah, I do understand - that’s why I put “true” in quotation marks. I don’t care that I’m 1 pound heavier if I eat 1 pound of food, and I bet you don’t either. And the OP gets it, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked the question.

He’s just trying to separate the changes in his weight that are due to diet and training from changes that are due to everything else. The BMI stuff was still from out of left field.

The BMI stuff was letting him know that his QUESTION was from out in left field and that the BMI is the only way to “standardize” weight. Was this not clear in the FIRST response telling him that he was asking the wrong question?[/quote]

It may be time for the crayons…

[quote]Professor X wrote:
HoratioSandoval wrote:
Professor X wrote:
HoratioSandoval wrote:
Professor X wrote:

You are asking the wrong question.

Everyone’s weight fluctuates throughout the day and the body mass index means absolutely nothing when it comes to body composition. There is no need to “standardize” it as there is no way to do this as if you weight doesn’t fluctuate.

You quit weighing yourself so often and pay more attention to whether it is gradually increasing or decreasing over all. You try to weigh yourself under similar conditions each time to eliminate the x-factors.

The BMI stuff was letting him know that his QUESTION was from out in left field and that the BMI is the only way to “standardize” weight. Was this not clear in the FIRST response telling him that he was asking the wrong question?[/quote]

In your second paragraph you tell him that it’s impossible to standardize your weight measurements. In your third paragraph, you tell him to standardize your weight measurements by minimizing x-factors, creating a standard set of conditions. That’s not clear.

Also BMI is not the only way to “standardize” weight. It’s used because it’s really easy to measure a person’s height and weight whenever they go to a doctor, and their BMI can be compared to their medical records to see if a person’s BMI predicts anything. It is being used beyond its predictive powers, as most athletes realize. Weight could be “standardized” across the population by factoring in waist size or bicep size to the BMI equation. That would be a better index of health, but it would take more time at the doctor’s office, and we don’t have years of data to look at.

Anyway, it was a fine question. A fine answer would have been “Don’t worry about it, just look in a mirror. If you want to see how your weight changes through the day, just weigh yourself a few times a day and graph it for a week and see what happens. You could even use a crayon.”

[quote]HoratioSandoval wrote:
In your second paragraph you tell him that it’s impossible to standardize your weight measurements. In your third paragraph, you tell him to standardize your weight measurements by minimizing x-factors, creating a standard set of conditions. That’s not clear.[/quote]

I doubt many but you and the OP misunderstood what was written. In fact, you make yourself look worse the more you argue this. Telling someone how to minimize fluctuations in body weight to get a clearer understanding of gains is somehow not clear? Exactly how does something need to be spelled out for it to finally be clear to you? Do you have this problem in school as well?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
HoratioSandoval wrote:
Telling someone how to minimize fluctuations in body weight to get a clearer understanding of gains is somehow not clear?

[/quote]

That is what the guy was looking for!

And yes, I have trouble in school - I actually can’t read.