For those who are just beginning to make fitness a priority or even those who have been fit for years, it’s easy to become dependent on the numbers on your scale as a means of measuring progress. After all, what could be simpler than weekly weigh-ins to see the numbers ostensibly go down each time? There is an inherent problem with this, however – the scale lies.
First of all, your weight can fluctuate by several pounds depending on factors like the time of day or how much sodium you consumed the day before. When you tie your sense of success to numbers on a scale, you could wrongly feel defeated over something that isn’t accurately measuring your progress. Also, when involved in a program like CrossFit or olympic lifting that emphasizes strength training, you could even gain weight from muscle yet still be losing plenty of fat.
There are more accurate ways to track your progress that won’t leave you agonizing over that number beneath your feet. Declare your freedom from the scale, and try these superior methods to see how far you’ve come:
Although there are still some factors like water retention that can affect measurements, the potential differences are so slight they don’t really matter. Your measurements won’t lie. It doesn’t take any special skill to wrap measuring tape around different areas of your body and read off the inches. As long as you measure the same way every time, it is an extremely accurate method. The only potential problem with measurements is that it doesn’t differentiate between muscle gains and fat loss, therefore it should be used along with the methods below.
2.) Body Fat Calipers
If one of the major reasons you began working out was to lose fat, then why not measure your body fat percentage? There are plenty of economical body fat calipers around, and it doesn’t take long to learn how to use them. With calipers, you don’t have to worry about how your muscle gains affect a number because you’re only measuring the fat. Although there can be slight variations due to your hydration level, measuring your body fat percentage is one of the most accurate methods around to track fat loss.
3.) The Clothing Fit Test
Now, this may seem like a no-brainer, but many people put more faith in what the scale says than how their clothes fit. When your clothes feel looser than they did weeks before, you can be sure you’ve made progress. When you get to the point that you can squat the equivalent of your body’s weight or more, your clothes could actually get tighter in certain areas like the quads while being looser in places like your waist. As long as you are aware of how this can occur, you can avoid entering panic mode when you find yourself in need of a tailor.
4.) Weight of Your Lifts
If your lifts have gone way up but your body weight has stayed the same or even increased slightly it’s almost certain that muscle gain and fat loss has occurred. If your fitness concerns are more about making those strength gains than torching fat, it makes sense to keep track of the weight of your lifts. It’s actually just a good practice in general. Keeping a log of your workouts takes a lot of the guesswork out of pushing your body to excel and, in turn, put on lean muscle mass. Seeing your workouts in black and white can also push you to make new personal records more frequently, which will catapult you toward your fitness goals more quickly.
5.) Everyday Victories
Some of the best ways to ascertain your fitness progress aren’t necessarily quantifiable. For instance, only you can revel in many everyday victories that you were incapable of before starting on your personal fitness journey. Maybe you just lifted more weight than you ever thought you’d be able to or no longer feel winded when climbing that flights of stairs. Perhaps you take pride in carrying all of your groceries inside in a single trip or being able to keep up with your kids in the back yard. Although it’s hard to attach a number to these achievements, these are the real life benefits of all the hard work you’ve put in both in and out of your box. This is progress far beyond the measurement capabilities of your bathroom scale.