Desired body composition changes (increase in muscle mass, decrease in body fat) is best measured using a DEXA scan. DEXA is currently the gold standard in tracking lean mass percentage, body fat percentage, bone density, muscle symmetry, and regional composition. If you don’t have access to a DEXA scan, listed below are some other options to track your progress.
Calipers: Calipers measures subcutaneous fat (fat directly under your skin). While this is not a very accurate measurement technique, it is useful to track trends in changing body composition. Always test under the same conditions and have the test completed by the same person.
Bioimpedance: This form of measurement uses an electrical current to measure body composition. The machine estimates body composition based on how quickly the current is conducted through the body. The accuracy of bioimpedance varies greatly on hydration levels. Same as with the calipers, always test under the same conditions and using the same machine.
Progress Photos: Progress photos are a great way to track visual changes in body composition. Always take the photos wearing the same clothes, with the same posture, and using the same lighting. Progress photos won’t give you measurable metrics but can capture just how far you've come in your healthy and fitness journey.