How to Tell if You Are Making Progress (NOT using the scale)

If there is one thing I have learned when it comes to fitness, it’s how to track progress.

We are always CRAVING for some sort of reinforcement for our sweaty grueling workouts or dedicated eating plans.  I can’t even tell you how many status updates a day I see that resemble “I lost ___ pounds this week!”

{cringe}

It bothers me that people (especially women) are so misled about the scale because it can actually prevent them from progress.

Almost every client that I accept into my program has to work with me on understanding the scale and what it is meant for, and learning how we actually measure progress.

I want you to realize that WEIGHT loss is not the same as FAT loss. Your weight is comprised of EVERYTHING on your body; fat, muscle, organs, skin, hair, teeth, etc.  And your weight can fluctuate day to day by a few pounds.

It’s possible to lose 5 lbs and be losing ONLY water weight or even worse, muscle mass!  (i.e. being so excited about cardio and excessive weightloss that you lose muscle and are slowing your metabolism!)

What often happens is this pattern of frustration for women.  One day they are down three pounds and excited, then next day back up two pounds.  They feel like they failed and what they are doing isn’t working because surely the scale should keep dropping.

So are you making progress even though your scale might say you have gained weight?  Should you be worried?  Should you start cutting calories?  Is your workout not enough?  What does all this mean?

Weightloss is actually not linear.  You will not lose weight every single day.  There are many factors that influence your weight fluctuations (like sodium intake, fiber intake and even sleep!)

 

Let’s back track to your goal here because I think this is really important….

would you be happier if you weighed a specific number on the scale but still weren’t thrilled with how you LOOK

OR

would you be happier loving your look even if that isn’t the number on the scale you thought it would be ??

Ultimately, we want to LOOK better, right!?

Rather than using the scale as a means to gauge our progress or lack thereof, I encourage and educate my clients to use more accurate ways to ensure they are on track.  Fitness and health is more than a number on a scale!

Let me give you a few ideas:

Take Pictures

You may not see the changes in your body by just looking in the mirror.  Take pictures and compare every week or so.  Pictures are worth a thousand words!  (Make sure to wear the same clothing and use the same lighting.  It also helps to take your pictures are the same time of day.  I have my clients take them when they wake up before eating/drinking)

For example, the scale may not move much if you are building muscle and losing fat (body recomposition) but your “look” will change drastically.

 

Track Performance Time/ Reps

Try timing yourself for 30 days and see if you time improves.  Can you run a mile faster?  Can you hold plank longer?  Can you jump rope longer?Can you do more burpees in one minute?

 

Track Weights

Instead of worrying about your weight going down, focus on your weights going up!  After 30 days: Are you able to increase to the next dumbbell size for a bicep curl? Can you add more weight to your leg press?  Can you bench press more weight?  Can you finally do a pull-up?

 

 

Track Pain/Form

You know that feeling when you start a new workout?  Not the soreness after a workout, but the feeling of really sucking at something or having pain/limited movement/bad form?  Try taking a video or snapping a picture of your form or write down how you are feeling.  After 30 days: does it hurt less to stretch in a runner’s lunge?  Can you finally touch your toes without pain?  Can you go lower in a squat with better form?  Can you keep your body more straight and drop lower in a push-up?  Does foam rolling hurt less?  Can you sit in “happy cow” and not want to scream?  <<That’s an accomplishment for most!

Take Measurements

You will notice that your inches increase or decrease over time depending on your goals and it doesn’t always parallel the scale.  So let’s pretend your goal is fat loss; if scale weight is slightly up but your waist measurement decreased, then you have nothing to worry about!


 

I really hope this helps you think outside the box scale and start noticing some BIG changes in your body.  There are so many awesome things happening for you that you might not even realize so start tracking these!

Want to learn chat more about your goals and break through your plateau!  Let’s chat!

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