If you dread stepping on the scale, then it’s time to think of different ways to measure your fitness progress. Your weight isn’t the only (or sometimes even necessarily the best) way to track your improvement. Instead, opt for one of these methods to track and measure your fitness progress!
1. Keep a Workout Journal
Keeping a workout journal can help keep you focused and organized, whether you’re tracking eating habits or recording workout progress. In time, you will notice that stats may improve!
Here are some things you will want to consider when logging:
– Exercise Name
– Emotions/Intensity Level
2. Measure Your Body Composition
Another way to track progress is by checking your body composition. Body Composition is the percentage of muscle in your body versus fat. As you continue strength training, you will build muscle and you will burn fat. This will cause your body composition to become lower. It is recommended to check every 6-8 weeks to allow time for progress.
Q: Why in some cases will the scale not reflect this?
A: If you lose a pound of fat but gain a pound of muscle, your weight on the scale will be the same, but you’ll actually be leaner.
3. Take Before & After Pictures
When you feel like you are stuck in a plateau on the scale, try resorting to before and after pictures! They are a great way to notice the changes your body is still making! You may notice that your arms look more defined or that your chin/cheekbones are more prominent.
It is best practice to wear similar clothes in the before & after picture so you can see a true comparison.
4. Circumference Measurements
Grab the old measuring tape! Repeat the measurements every four to six weeks to gauge your progress and see how your body is changing. These are some areas you may want to track: chest, waist, hips, thighs, arms.
Email/Talk to a fitness center staff member if you need guidance on how to measure.
5. Take Note on How your Clothes Fit
You don’t want to buy new clothes that are too small just to say you have lost a pant size but taking note of the way your clothes fit can be a better measure of your fitness than the scale.
If you are hoping to lose weight, the scale may stay the same even as you progress, especially if you have been strength training. Muscle is more dense than fat and takes up less space. Therefore, your clothes may begin to fit a little looser and the scale may not reflect it!
Written by: Kristen Wakeford