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I am looking for procedures/experiences regarding using a camera to keep track of improvements/changes over time.

This can be fat/muscle, posture, general appearance. (Pilates, for example is supposed to make people look better without gaining muscle of loosing fat, I would like to track changes like that).

A side-project could be to use the photos to give me an idea about where I am (I guess there are webs-sites where you can compare yourself to others, or be rated)

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Re: Websites - No need to have others rate you or compare yourself to others. Comparing your new self to your old self thru photos is best. –  BackInShapeBuddy Nov 2 '11 at 20:12
    
Whattt? Pilates doesn't make you to gain muscle or loose fat but makes you look different? It does not alter your body composition but makes you look different? Ok. I guess the Pilates 'guru's have found another mysterious substance that makes up our bodies. LOL –  Mike S Jun 28 '12 at 2:42
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It could be posture. –  Olav Jul 7 '12 at 15:03
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Tracking your progress is one of the best ways to motivate change. Photos are great for showing long term changes (try some of the short term suggestions below as well). Here are the photo suggestions/guidelines:

“BEFORE” AND “AFTER” PHOTOS

  • Wear a swimsuit, underwear, or something comparable so you can see where you need the work, and where you’re making progress.
  • Use a plain background if possible.
  • Take a few front shots (hands on hips, “biceps flex” muscle pose), a few side shots (hands at sides), and a few back shots (hands on hips, “biceps flex” muscle pose).
  • Don’t suck it in or push it out. You want a true reflection of your body’s appearance.
  • Repeat this process every 2-3 months

I also suggest tracking your exercise progress regardless of what your routine is. For example, if you are strength training keep track of weight/rep/exercise during each workout. You could also do this with Pilates by tracking each exercise and times along with notes on how difficult it was for you. The less subjective you can be the better. This is the best way to realize gains from week to week and can serve as a great motivator.

Finally, track your FAT loss by using a body fat calculator. All you need is a scale and a cheap skinfold caliper. This is the best way to determine your body composition which is what you are most interested in. During your progress you may actually gain weight but remember that muscle is denser than fat and you may have still lost fat while gaining muscle improving your overall appearance.

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2-3 months? Take pictures twice a day, and make a time-lapse movie of the changes. :) –  John C Nov 6 '11 at 12:50
    
@JohnC Great idea. Once a day would probably do it though, or you could do pre/post workout shots. That would be cool. –  bnjmn Nov 7 '11 at 17:36
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Feedback is critical, regardless of what you're doing--photos/videos are an awesome learning tool.

The "procedure" is to take pictures :)

Front, back, sides (both, preferably). There's no point in taking them too often; once a week is probably fine, unless you want to make one of those morphing photo montages with really nice granularity.

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