Get on the right track – how to measure progress

Get on the right track – how to measure progress

Tracking your body measurements and fitness progress are both crucial to understand how far you’ve come in your fitness journey. We’ve all made similar mistakes – weighing ourselves numerous times a week (or day!), trying to eat less food when the numbers aren’t quite right…..and then go to a BBQ, pig out, and feel awful the next day, because the scales tell you you’re heavier. 

The scales

When you jump on the scales to weigh yourself, there are a few things to remember:

  • If you’re training, your weight can go up, but your fat % can go down
  • The scale doesn’t tell you if you’re losing the right kind of weight, in the right kind of places
  • It doesn’t consider your portion sizes when you eat
  • Your scales don’t know if you are getting stronger. Perhaps a month ago you could do 4 push-ups, and now you can do 10

So if the scales aren’t the best way of measuring success, both for our bodies, and our fitness progress, then how should we measure our improvements?

Measure yourself once a week

Our body can fluctuate in weight by a few pounds during a single day. A lot of this is water weight. It is unhealthy to measure your weight every single day – not only from an OCD perspective, but also for your mental health. If you had four litres of water today, you will probably weigh more than a day you only had two litres. 

So pick a morning – we like Fridays, before the weekend, and take your measurements in the same way every week. Preferably first thing in the morning, with no clothes on (or the same clothes weekly), so the measurements are accurately changed. 

Get the camera out

Stand in front of a mirror in your underwear (or get your significant other in to help), and take a photo from each angle – front, side and back. Keep those photos safe, and once a month take another photo from the same angles. 

As you see yourself every day, it’s hard to notice changes….but after a few months, when you compare the first set of photos with the latest set, you’re likely to see a big difference. 

Take body measurements

Get the tape measure out. Measure your thighs, waist, upper arms, hips, and any other problem areas that you’re hoping to see a difference in. Make sure you measure exactly the same part of your body as the week before – not an inch lower, or higher!

Track these figures once a week, and compare them every couple of months. You’re bound to see a difference, if you’re working hard and eating well. 

What the fork

80% of your success will come from what you eat. If you can’t work out why you’re not losing (or gaining) weight, track everything you put in your mouth for a week. That includes milk and sugar in your coffee, the cheeky biscuit you dunked into your tea, or the extra ketchup you had at the chippy on Saturday. You might be surprised at what you see!

If you always eat 3000 calories a day, your body will crave 3000 calories, whether you need that many or not. If you’re trying to lose weight, try and eat slightly less than you’re used to. You’ll be shocked at how quickly your body gets used to it!

As always, stay fit and healthy.

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