MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS
Whether you're trying to gain muscle weight or lose body fat, the best way to ensure progress is with regular weigh-ins (and later, skin-fold measurements). Here's how to do it:
1) Weigh yourself every morning at approximately the same time. Try to do it before you eat, but after you've gone to the bathroom.
2) Record your weight each time, but ignore any day-to-day differences.
3) At the end of the week, take an average of all your weigh-ins by adding each day's weight and divide the sum by seven. Compare your numbers each week to see if you're making progress. If you're trying to bulk, but you're not gaining a pound per week, up your calories by 500 each day. If you're cutting, but not losing 1-2 pounds a week, cut your calories by another 250-500 a day (but never let them dip below 2,000).
4) When cutting, it's important to pay attention to your diet and be sure that the weight you're losing is coming from extraneous body fat, not your hard-earned muscle. That's why for phases III and IV, you should seek out a fitness professional (most trainers at your local gym are qualified) to measure your body fat levels. Ask them to give you a seven-site skin-fold test once a week. Then monitor the measurements over the weeks until the end of the program.
If your body fat is decreasing, you're on the right track. If it's not budging, subtract more calories from your diet until it does.