What to Expect Over Time
Unlike weight, which can swing from day to day and even throughout the day depending on factors like hydration and food intake, body fat percentage typically changes gradually over weeks or months.
Because of this, if you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle, we recommend doing your body scans every 1 - 2 weeks to track your progress.
What is a typical body fat change?
It is generally considered safe to lose up to 2% body fat per month, if done by a healthy weight loss program focused on proper nutrition and movement (always seek the guidance of a professional before starting a weight loss program).
It is common for people with higher fat mass to be able to lose body fat faster than someone with lower body fat. Also, the rate that someone loses body fat over time can change.
When starting a new weight loss journey, sometimes body fat percentage will not change significantly while the actual fat in your body is decreasing. This is because it is common to also lose muscle mass when losing weight. Over time, your body fat percentage can change more drastically as muscle mass loss slows while body fat loss continues, especially if weight loss dieting is paired with exercise. Because of this, it is helpful to monitor your fat mass and lean mass values alongside your body fat percentage values so you can have the full picture of your progress.
What is a typical muscle mass gain?
Most people doing targeted strength training supported by proper nutrition can expect to gain between 0.5 - 2 lbs (0.23 - 0.9 kg) of lean muscle mass in a month.
Potential muscle mass gains will vary depending on several factors:
- Training Age: How long you’ve been training.
- Hormonal Profile: The amount of testosterone and other hormones affect muscle production. They in turn are impacted by sleep, stress, recovery, medications, and other factors.
- Genetics: Genetics can affect your maximum muscle potential.
- Muscle Memory: Restoring previously lost muscle will happen faster than building new muscle.
- Nutritional Support: Proper nutrition and hydration are important for aiding muscle growth.
Tracking lean body mass over time is a great way to see gains in muscle mass associated with your training. Because skeletal muscle mass is the largest component of lean mass in adults (40% of body weight) and bones, organs, and water weight change very little in adults over time, relative changes in lean mass are usually related to muscle mass.
Consistent scans are crucial for comparable results
When tracking progress over time, you should ideally scan at the same time of day and with similar clothing and lighting. This ensures that any changes in the results you're seeing are due to changes in your body composition and not other environmental or contextual changes (e.g. water weight, lighting, baggy clothing, etc.).