You might think that simply stepping on the scales every week is the best way to monitor your fitness progress. That’s not necessarily true. While weight loss is one factor in how well you’re doing, here in Houston, TX, when a client comes in, I use several techniques. You can use some of these at home and even a few that I don’t use, which will give you a better idea of how you’re doing than simply looking at the number on the scales.
Your scales can lie. I don’t mean they show you the wrong weight. They probably do, but it doesn’t give the true picture of your progress. As you’re working out, you start to build muscle tissue, which weighs more than fat tissue does per cubic inch. The more you replace fat tissue with muscle tissue, the thinner you’ll look, even if your weight doesn’t change. That’s just like comparing the container that holds a pound of lead with one that holds a pound of feathers. The one holding lead will be smaller. Take measurements around your middle, on your thighs, on your hips and even your biceps. It shows you the progress you’ve made when the first three are smaller and the biceps are bigger.
Start with an outfit that is tight.
Clothing is telling. If you have a pair of “thin” pants, the ones that fit comfortably when you’ve shed a few pounds, try them on when you start your fitness program. If it’s impossible to zip them, that’s even better. Once every two weeks, take them off the shelf and try them on again. As you get fitter, they’ll get looser.
Track your workouts.
Are you able to do more than you could when you first started? EXCELLENT! That’s always the goal. I have one client that was severely out of shape, but kept coming back for more. Her goal was to race up several flights of stairs without requesting oxygen. (Her words, not mine.) It really didn’t take her that long. Within a month, she reported that she had managed four flights of stairs without stopping. Her next goal is to do five in the same amount of time.
- Take a picture when you start and along the way. Make sure you’re wearing the same relatively revealing outfit and standing in the same place and distance from the camera to get a true view of your progress.
- Measure your tummy and compare it to your hip measurement. Fat around the abdomen is a health risk. If you divide the abdominal measurement by the hip measurement, the results should be 0,85 or lower.
- See how quickly you can get tasks completed and how much more energy you have. Keep a diary and record your energy level every day about three times throughout the day. You’ll see it growing if your workout is doing its job.
- Stepping on the scales is still an indicator, even though it’s not always the ultimate indicator, of your progress. Check your weight every week at the same time and record the results.