Your Scale is Lying! 5 Better Ways to Track Your Progress

Updated August 9, 2023

If you’re on a fitness journey, it’s common to rely on the numbers on your scale to measure progress. However, the scale can be deceptive. Factors like time of day and sodium intake can cause weight fluctuations, making the numbers unreliable and potentially demotivating.

Additionally, if you’re involved in strength training programs like CrossFit or Olympic lifting, you may gain weight from muscle while still losing fat. So, it’s important to explore alternative, more accurate methods of tracking progress. Here are five superior methods to assess how far you’ve come without obsessing over the scale:

1.) Measurements

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. Consistency in the measuring technique is key. While it doesn’t differentiate between muscle gains and fat loss, it complements the other methods listed below.

2.) Body Fat Calipers

If your goal is fat loss, measuring your body fat percentage is a reliable way to track progress. Budget-friendly body fat calipers are available, and learning how to use them is quick. Changes in hydration level may cause slight variations, but this method is one of the most accurate for tracking 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. Pay attention to how your clothing fits. If items feel looser than before, it indicates progress. Remember that certain areas, like the quads, may become tighter while others, like the waist, become looser as you gain strength and muscle.

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.

WOD Planet