Body Measurements and the 4 Hour Body Plan


The book, The 4 Hour Body, is more of a reference guide, than a step-by-step weight management plan you read front to back.  There's information on getting started, what to change in the middle and how to finish to reach your body goals.

For many this is tough, they are looking for the A to Z plan to rapid weight loss. Part of the book is for those who are overweight, looking for rapid fat and weight loss plans. Other parts of the book are for those who have very little body fat and want to gain muscle.

I'm sure the vast majority of people who read the book, like myself, are wanting to lose weight and gain muscle and I'll concentrate on that plan here!

Step One

The first step in ANY weight management plan is to take measurements.. and I mean a lot of measurements. Too often I hear of people who only weight themselves and later regret it. The lose a bunch of weight then the scale goes flat for a few weeks and they panic!

As you lose fat your body weight will decrease but as you gain muscle your body weight will increase, so don't count on your scale weight!

The first measurements are done with a flexible tape measure and one of the best is the OrbiTape. You can take measurements without the help of others and they are less than $10 on Amazon OrbiTape Body Mass Tape Measure

Next setup a simple spreadsheet setup or use a paper notebook and down in the left column write these items:

Right Upper Arm
Left Upper Arm
Belly (Belly Button)
Waist (Belt Line)
Right Thigh
Left Thigh
Next at the top of column 2 use “Date” and enter today's date. 
Weigh yourself on the scale and take your body measurements in inches. Add them together to create a “Total Body Inches.”
So in the end you'll have your body weight and total inches. These are the most important numbers to track each week.  There's nothing wrong with weighing yourself daily on the scale but don't worry about daily fluctuations, we are most interested in the weekly full body measurements!

I remember dropping 15lbs in a few weeks then holding steady for a few weeks and then another 10 lb drop. My total inches kept shrinking and it kept me motivated!

Don't start any weight reduction plan without measurements and put a reminder on your calendar to measure every week, same day, and same time of day! (I like to measure the day BEFORE my binge day when I'm at my lightest for the week!)

Body Fat Measurements

The next step is measuring your body fat and this can be a tough subject as it's hard to find the same solution, in every community, in every budget.

Per the 4HB book the best measurement of fat loss is the Dexa full body scan. I found a DEXA machine in my community but the doctors only use it for bone density not fat measurement and you need a doctor to prescribe it and insurance to cover it.

The next best solution is the BodPod machines and this is what I recommend to everyone. I drove 90 minutes to the nearest machine which happened to be at a state university. They charged me $30 and I went home with a print out that stated my total weight, fat and muscle weight and finally my fat percentage! Click here to locate a BodPod in your area!

I can go back for a re-measure for $20 and I plan to go every 90 days.

Body Scanners, Calipers, Visual measurements

There are body scanners out there and some are very accurate but cost a couple thousand dollars.

I've also seen scales with body fat measurements and I'm not sure how far I would trust those either, they are better than nothing.

I have a pair of calipers but they didn't work that well. My wife took my measurements and it was tough. You take four measurements, front bicep, back arm tricep, side of belly and back below shoulder blade. 

My arms have no fat so it was near impossible to get the calipers to measure anything. My belly is where I store most of my fat but it's not below the skin, rather around my organs or visceral fat (see below on how to measure) so the best measurement was my back shoulder blade.

We measured for a few weeks but when I finally got my BodPod done (three weeks into starting) I was 8% greater in my body fat so not the news I wanted to hear!


Bottom line is “Don't cheat yourself” when you start a weight reduction plan by only using a body scale! Take measurements from your neck down to your calves. Add up these inches to create a “total inches” you track along with your body weight.

It's very rare to find people who consistently lose weight week in and week out. You may lose 10lbs in one week then nothing for 4 weeks. I don't want to see people quit or give up when they hit a plateau and use your weekly measurements.

Do you have other ideas or tips to help others with their measurements? Make a comment below!


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