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Thread: Bodybuilding Goals

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    Charlotte, NC

    Bodybuilding Goals

    I am curious to see how those on here with bodybuilding goals track their progress?

    It is obviously quite easy to track powerlifting or strength progress - you either lift a weight or you do not. For bodybuilding it can be a bit more complicated since some people look to build lean mass, some focus on body composition, and others focus on specific bodyparts.

    Personally I have never taken regular bodypart measurements and have usually just gone by how I look in the mirror, but I know that can be deceptive at times.

    So, what does everyone use? Tape measure? Calipers? Scale? Mirror?
    ASC 105 Kg Pro Strongman | My Website | Facebook Fan Page

    Weight: 235 lbs | Gym PR's -> Front Squat: 515 lbs / Overhead: 375 lbs / Deadlift: 700 lbs


  2. #2
    LittleJake JSully's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
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    When I was bodybuilding I would use a tape measure every once in a while, but the mirror is your best friend. Calipers are great to see where you're at bodyfat-wise, but once you get used to readings and if you pay attention to the mirror, you don't even need calipers anymore to tell where you're at.
    Jake Sullivan
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  3. #3
    Cutting some beef DavyRen's Avatar
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    I look in the mirror several times a day but that's just cos i'm Mr Vain
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  4. #4
    squat rack curler platypus's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    I just focus on the scale. If my weight goes up, I'm happy. Maybe sometime in the future I'll focus on more specific goals, but for now I'm good.
    ain't nuttin but a peanut.

    You will have gotten stronger when the weight that feels heavy is actually heavier than the weight that feels heavy now. Then the weight that feels heavy now will be a warmup for the weight that feels heavy then. But the weight will always feel heavy or you're not lifting enough weight. Clear? -Rippetoe

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Charlotte, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by platypus View Post
    I just focus on the scale. If my weight goes up, I'm happy. Maybe sometime in the future I'll focus on more specific goals, but for now I'm good.
    This is actually what I did from about 155 lbs to 200+ lbs.

    Recently I have thought about including more hypertrophy work and am not sure how I should track if what I am doing is effective. Obviously I do not want to try to gain a ton of weight (and probably would have a tough time doing so) but am not sure if the mirror, calipers, or tape measure will provide a better guide for me. Perhaps a combination would be best.
    ASC 105 Kg Pro Strongman | My Website | Facebook Fan Page

    Weight: 235 lbs | Gym PR's -> Front Squat: 515 lbs / Overhead: 375 lbs / Deadlift: 700 lbs


  6. #6
    The Flyfisher rbtrout's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    So. Cal.
    When I lifted for bbing, I used all 3 to see how I was doing. When my weight went up and my bf stayed the same, the measurements got bigger.
    Give chalk a chance.

    49 years old

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  7. #7
    Thai Boxing Bodybuilder The Gasman UK's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Swindon, UK.
    I've been in the BB game for a while and I find a combination of 'all of the above' (below lol) as it were...

    Key measurements - Waist size, Thigh/Legs, Calfs, Biceps, Forearms, Shoulders, Chest, Neck. I also like to ask a pretty girl to help me out with this bit

    Weight and Bodyfat - Use these in conjunction. Measure weight with a scale, same time once per week, under the same cirumstance.

    Bodyfat - Calipers are ok, as long as you are accurate with them, but excess skin can throw this measurment. Electrical impedence machines hand held or with probes are Ok but can be out by as much as 1-2%. The key with the electronic devices is the same as the scale. Use the same device, at the same time each week or month, under the same conditions. On an empty stomach upon waking is fine, but whatever you do, next time make sure the conditions are the same. Take 3 readings each time and take the average or middle value.

    The mirror - Your best friend and worst enemy. Losing bodyfat can make muscles appear more defined and therefore bigger even if the tape measure says its smaller, but the same is true in reverse. Take photos for reference once a month or every two months, again under the same conditions.

    That's my advice anyway, might be wrong but works for me.

    PM me mate if you need any more BBin advice! I have big respect for the big powerlifters i've seen how hard they train!
    The Gasmans' journey to the single digits -

  8. #8
    Clean Bulk in Progress james_w8lifter's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    I use the scale and the mirror. The mirror can be really deceiving sometimes but it can be good for gauging progress. Haven't ever been a fan of measurements. I've measured my arms maybe 3 times in the past 2 years and that's it.
    6' 1.... 211lbs.
    Bench: 275lbs x 1
    Deadlift: 385lbs x 1
    Squat: ??? (not enough)
    Goal by the end of May 2010... Weigh 225lbs.

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  9. #9
    Senior Member cphafner's Avatar
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    Apr 2003
    The Big Apple
    Pictures. Pictures never lie imo. Scale doesn't always reflect what you are doing. You can stay the same weight but have more muscle and less fat than a previous weigh in.
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  10. #10
    A gallon a day, everyday! ThomasG's Avatar
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    Pictures, scale, mirror.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2009
    Mirror lies! Lately I have just been focusing on lift numbers but I still have bodybuilding goals like getting my LBM to a certain point, don't have an effective way to measure this right now, but one day when My muscle mass is enough I will want to get back down to a more lean bf% as well, but after I do some more growing and recomping and most especially keep getting stronger.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Invain's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    The mirror.
    Best lifts: 615/475/660, Raw w/ Wraps

  13. #13
    Team Chesticles! Unholy's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    I use a combination of things.

    Most importantly progress pictures, hitting the same poses, in the same lighting, under the same conditions (pumped vs flat, carbed vs depleted, etc)

    Mirror, gives me a good idea of where I am at but with nothing to compare to its easy to let your mind play tricks on you. (we can be our own worst critics sometimes)

    Key measurements, as stated above.....waist, chest, arm, hips, quad are all good to track. If your waist is growing and the rest are staying the diet.

    Bodyfat......although the only real way to measure BF% is to dissect someone, its pretty easy to estimate BF% from pictures esp when you are fairly lean (which is relative) Calipers and electronic devices can be off by as much as 5-10% and even DEXA scanning and bodpod can be off by 2-4%.
    5'11" 185lbs 9% BF
    S/D/B PR's 445x1, 495x5, 335x1......Looking to get stronger and do a PL Meet this summer!
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  14. #14
    Senior Member David Trantham's Avatar
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    I usually use the scale and try to gain about .5 to 1 lbs per week, also i know if my weight is slowly going up and i am getting stronger that i must be gaining a little muscle, also i look into the mirror as well.
    height: 6' weight offseason 220lbs bodybuilding: 10 years
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    IFPA CAPE COD 3rd place heavy
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