How do you record your fitness progress?
– mood or energy?
– weight on the scales?
– the way your clothes fit?
– recording and comparing your body measurements?
– strength or fitness tests?
– body fat VS. muscle percentages?
Far too often people (women in particular) rely on the scales to judge our hard work and dedication to our fitness journey. However, scales are NOT the answer!
It is important to understand that weight scales, height-weight charts and BMI charts only consider total body weight or total body weight in proportion to height, to indicate if individuals are of ideal weight, overweight or obese. Anyone trying to lose weight needs to understand that they are really trying to lose fat, not necessarily weight! And therefore scales are not the be- all -and- end- all to measuring progress and change!
During a weight-loss program combining diet and exercise, there are going to be times when the rate or amount of weight loss slows, stops or even reverses, and yet individuals can still be losing fat and gaining lean muscle! The only way to be sure of this is through periodic body-composition assessments.
Body Composition refers to the proportion of lean tissue to body-fat tissue. Lean body mass is composed of muscles, connective tissue, bones, blood, nervous tissue, skin and organs. Lean mass is metabolically active tissue that allows the body to perform work. Now poor old body fat can sometimes get a bad reputation, but realistically we need body fat to some degree! A certain amount is necessary for insulation, thermoregulation, hormone production, cushioning and protection of vital organs and maintenance of certain bodily functions.
Don’t get me wrong- scales can be a motivator! I encourage my clients to “weigh in” once a week to keep a check of their progress and movement towards their goals. However, this is in conjunction with other methods also. The girls I train are asked to provide their current weight, weight loss for the week (if weight loss is their goal), their measurements and a progress photo too. Although, the first question I will always ask is, “How do you feel?” More often than not, I won’t even need to ask, but they will check in each week with comments such as “I have so much more energy”, “This feels great” and “I am so much happier!”
No matter which option or options you are using to measure your progress, stick with whichever one drives you and pushes you to keep taking those steps forward! Always be proud of your improvements- no matter how small or large. Always be proud to share your progress and achievements with the world, you just never know who you may inspire!