Although taking your body measurements might seem easy, it can easily be done incorrectly and provide you with the wrong information. As a personal trainer, I often take my client’s measurements to keep track of their weight-loss progress. Aside from this, knowing how to correctly take your measurements also comes in handy if you’re trying to order a custom-made dress or suit. The following steps can help you along the way.
Measuring your body is best done while wearing solely your underwear, or close-fitting garments, such as spandex exercise clothes. You don’t want a bulging knit sweater or thick pants to add extra inches. Use a flexible, plastic or fabric measuring tape, and if possible, have a friend or family member take your measurements for you. If no one is available, make the mirror your best friend. Use it to frequently check that the measuring tape isn’t crooked and runs parallel to the floor. For accurate comparisons, always take your measurements in the same manner, while wearing the same clothes.
Taking your waist measurement should be done while you’re standing upright in a natural stance with your face forward and your shoulders back and down. Place the measuring tape around your midsection in the area where your waist bents. Bend forward and sideways to determine the correct location. You’ll notice that area falls between the top of your hip bone and your lower ribs. Place the beginning of the tape in front of your waist and wrap it around. Avoid sucking in your tummy and breathe as normal. Check that the tape is parallel to the floor, and check your measurement mid-breath. Write it down for future reference.
To measure your chest, wrap the tape around your body, going over the fullest part of your bust. Avoid pulling the tape too tight, and again, keep it tape parallel to the floor, before writing down your measurements.
Measuring your hips can be a little tricky, because many people measure above the area they’re supposed to; they leave out the buttocks. To find the correct measuring location, look sideways in the mirror and find the widest point of your buttocks. This is where the back of the measuring tape will wrap around. In the front of your body, the tape will go over the bony part that makes up your hips. The tape should run parallel to the floor. Record your measurements for future reference.
You want to measure your thighs around the widest part of your upper legs. Wrap the tape all the way around, keeping it parallel to the floor. Avoid tightening the tape to the point where it’s digging into your skin; hold it snug, but not too tight against your skin. Measure each leg and write down both measurements, making sure to specify the right and left leg.
To measure your arms, you want to wrap the tape around the widest part of your upper arms. Measure both the left and right arm and write the measurements down. Unless you’re measuring the size of your biceps, avoid flexing your arm, keep it hanging straight next to your body or extend it sideways so its parallel to the floor.