Relying on body mass index (BMI), the numerical measure of your height and weight, as an indicator of health is highly unreliable, according to a new University of California study. In fact, more than 54 million heavy Americans are wrongly labeled as unhealthy, the researchers say; these so-called “healthy overweight” men and women may have to pay higher health insurance premiums as a result.
But, even if you’re a fit guy, there’s been long-winded debates over the efficacy of BMI measurements as indicators of health and fitness despite the fact that measuring changes in body composition is one of the most effective ways to evaluate your diet and workout regimen, and lowering your body fat percentage is crucial for getting six-pack abs and a chiseled physique.
So, what are the most accurate ways to track changes in body composition then? Well, there are tons of different techniques, each with their own set of pros and cons. We outlined the most popular methods to hit the market in recent years—and the ones that have been around for decades—so you can decide what works best for you.
Note: For the best results, check your body composition every six to eight weeks to measure improvements and see progress.