When people embark on fitness journeys, they can become obsessed with losing weight. It is the measurement we seem to use most often to gauge success. But as popular as it is, weight isn't the best way to show progress. In fact, it can be terribly misleading. Our weight can change over the course of a single day depending on several different factors. And remember, muscle weighs more than fat so in many cases, you'll GAIN weight as you become more fit. It is time to get rid of that scale and try other, more accurate and encouraging, ways to measure your success.
Why you should measure your results.
While we are suggesting that you stop relying on your weight to measure success, we aren't saying you should give up tracking your progress. If your fitness goals are clear, you need to have a way to measure your efforts towards those goals. It will keep you accountable and motivated while allowing you to see if what you are doing is actually working.
Why body weight isn't the best measurement of success.
Body weight fluctuates. Often. Once you begin strength training and building muscle, your weight may increase despite the fact that you are losing fat. Muscle takes up less space than fat so your body size will start to decrease even while the number on the scale climbs. Your body weight can be influenced by where you are in your menstrual cycle, water retention, and your digestive system. If you haven't had a bowel movement or have been eating too much salt, your weight will be up. If you jump on the scale and you see a higher than expected number, it can be frustrating and disheartening. This disappointment can become unhealthy and actually stand in your way.
Before and after photos.
Before and after photos are a great way to measure success. Take a photo of yourself when you are just getting started on your goals. It can seem intimidating but no one has to see them. You can keep them private or you can tape them to your fridge or slip them into your gym bag. It gives you a chance to see yourself as you are right now. Once you start to see some changes in your body, take some progress shots. Compare them to the "before" photo. When you really examine the differences you'll feel strong and motivated to keep going. Visual results are far more accurate than the scale.
[bctt tweet="Get Rid Of That Bathroom Scale And These Tracking Methods Instead!"]
By using body measurements, you can accurately track your fat loss. As you lose fat and gain muscle, your body will become leaner and your measurements will decrease. Just take a few measurements in key places like your chest, waist, lower abdomen, hips and upper thighs. Do this every 4 weeks or so.
Celebrate other successes.
How your body looks is only part of a health and fitness journey. Take a look at how you feel. When you really commit to a fit life, you will have more energy and self confidence. Your body is made to move and be active so when you are giving it what it needs, it will respond by making you feel sunnier. So while changing the shape of your body and looking better are great goals and worth tracking, don't forget to celebrate the unseen changes as well!
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How do you measure your fitness journey successes?