Building the aesthetic physique: how to get a measure of your success

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Four steps to track your progress and get closer to your goals

Building the aesthetic physique you want is a process of proposal, test, analyse and adjust. Assuming you don’t have a coach to do it for you, the process usually looks something like this:

Propose a training and diet plan
Give it a go
Analyse the results
Adjust to improve

Lots of people are good at the first two stages but they forget to undertake fair and reliable analysis which ultimately inhibits their progression. When building an aesthetic physique the ultimate goal is visual so the majority of the tests are orientated around look and size. That being said, it can help to log workouts as performance can be a helpful progress indicator.

A simple and relatively easy method i’ve found to be effective for personal progress is to every Sunday (or every other Sunday if in a more casual phase) wake up, stick the kettle on and log my body’s information.

Step 1: Take your body weight

Try to keep saturday’s diet and training similar week-on-week to add consistency (or test on a morning after a day that you can keep consistent).

Step 2: Photograph your body

Log a number of standard poses both tensed and untesed. Log in the same place, under the same light, with the same camera to keep the conditions consistent. If you can get someone to take them for you it’s much less hassle.

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Step 3: Log your measurements

Get yourself a Myotape. Your proportions can say a lot about your progress – if you’re chest is expanding while your waist is reducing you’ll know something is going right. If you’re putting on weight it helps you track that if you’re putting on weight it’s gone on in the right places. Things like your waist may expand while building muscle but take the ratio of your waist to your chest and you may see you chest has grown more in proportion so overall may be a positive.

There is no absolute list to follow but I log everything I can, including joints every now and again. Joint’s won’t really change but can help calculate proportions and natural limits. Things to regularly measure include: Neck, Chest, Breadth (width for shoulders), Biceps, Forearms, Wrists, Waist, Hips, Thighs, Calfs and Ankles. Guidance for how to measure each body part can be found online.

Step 4: Take a body fat test

Having these records allow you to alter what you’re doing to improve progress. They’re also great to look back on later down the line to see where you’ve come from.

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