T Nation

Tape, Caliper, Mirror, Pictures or Scale?

Here’s a question for you aesthetic minded lifters out there.

Which of the following tools/methods do you use to determine when its the time to switch from a bulking to cutting (or the reverse) phase?

  1. Measuring tape
  2. Caliper
  3. Mirror
  4. Pictures
  5. Scale
  6. Coach/friend recommendation
  7. Current wardrobe size

If you use any other tools/methods, feel free to post them.

Mirror and Pictures.

Nowadays, I generally use the mirror more than anything. I am my own worst critic. I look in the mirror every morning and make mental notes of things I need to progress on.

Anyway, by the looking in the mirror day-to-day I can just tell when I need to increase my calories, decrease them, throw in a few cardio sessions weekly, or do a full on bulk or cut.

[quote]MarcAnthony wrote:
If you use any other tools/methods, feel free to post them.
[/quote]

I use a shoe.

[quote]TDog305 wrote:
Mirror and Pictures.

Nowadays, I generally use the mirror more than anything. I am my own worst critic. I look in the mirror every morning and make mental notes of things I need to progress on.

Anyway, by the looking in the mirror day-to-day I can just tell when I need to increase my calories, decrease them, throw in a few cardio sessions weekly, or do a full on bulk or cut. [/quote]

Agreed. I only use the scale for the most part when gaining just to make sure I am doing what I set out to do. the rest of my physical progress is now charted through pictures and the mirror. I also wouldn’t take pictures any more freuqently than once a month when dieting and possibly every 2-3 months when gaining.

I would recommend a beginner stay away from the tape measure. They will expect “measurable” results too quickly and become discouraged when they may just be doing exactly what they need to be doing. They do need to be making sure they are actually gaining weight. It makes no sense to say you are “gaining or bulking” but the scale never goes up. Unless someone is doing some MAJOR body composition switching, it is highly unlikely that they are making much progress with no significant weight increase.

[quote]cremaster wrote:
MarcAnthony wrote:
If you use any other tools/methods, feel free to post them.

I use a shoe.[/quote]

lol, I can’t believe that I forgot that!