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Keeping track
Your Measure of Success
by Tom Bonanti

Tom Bonanti Fitness and Health Mark's List Ever wonder if all that hard work in the gym is really paying off? Do you ever doubt your progress because you always seem to look the same in your mirror, even though others tell you that you look marvelous? Why not consider taking your measurements and chart the course of your workouts? By measurements, Iím not talking IQ, credit score, or the proverbial and self-proclaimed ď9 inchesĒ you claim on Manhunt. 

There are other more important measurements, and hereís how to go about taking them. First, get a full length mirror if you donít already have access to one. Secondly, buy a flexible tape measure available in the sewing department of most stores. Thirdly, take off all your clothes and be ready to be perfectly honest with yourself as you stand naked in front of the mirror. Make mental notes of areas or muscle groups that need work, i.e. droopy butt, jiggly belly, etc. Donít be overly harsh or critical, youíve also got some good points to your physique, note them also, i.e. perky pecs and nice arms. 

Aware now of the raw material youíve got to work with, use the flexible tape and measure each muscle group. Measurements should be taken before working out on relaxed muscles. No tensing up or flexing, please! Be sure the tape is held snugly and evenly against the skin at all times. Write each measurement down and keep them on file. 

Measure your neck right under the Adamís apple all the way around.

The shoulder measurement is taken at the widest point.

Measure the chest across the nipples while breathing normally.

Measure upper arms around the widest point without flexing your biceps or tensing triceps.

Forearm measurements should be taken at the widest part of the arm below the elbow.

The waist is measured at the naval.

Hip measurements should be taken across the widest part of the buttocks.

Calves should be measured at their widest point. Ditto your thighs. 

Tom Bonanti is a certified personal trainer and owner of Pump'N, Inc Gym in Fort Lauderdale he can be reached at TrainerTomB@aol.com
These assessments can be done solo or with a friend if you are prepared to handle some honest criticism. Retake these measurements every three months as you change your workout routine. Knowing whether or not youíre making progress by honestly charting your results can help you to set new goals or re-evaluate old ones. 

Remember your body (Youíve got to love it!) is a work in progress. Training, eating right, measuring honestly, etc. are the tools you use to become the best that you can be.