When you’re working on your fitness goals, it can be tempting to jump on the scale every five minutes. Unfortunately, scales aren’t always the most accurate measure of your progress. In fact, it’s not unusual for your weight to fluctuate by 5-10 pounds per day, even if you aren’t eating much.
As we become more educated about how our bodies react to muscle gain, food, water, climate, and everything in the world around us, it’s important to focus on better ways of measuring our success. Here are five ways you can track your fitness progress without a scale.
Check Your Endurance
Rather than focusing on how much you weigh, focus on how long you can do something that you were unable to do before. If you lived a sedentary lifestyle before you started training, walking up the stairs at work might have left you winded. Perhaps after a month of training, that is no longer the case.
New runners often start a run/walk progression program that mixes spurts of running with recovery walk intervals. In time, the recovery intervals get shorter, and the running distance gets longer. Improved endurance is a key indicator of progress and cardiovascular health.
Check Your Strength
Weight training is a fantastic way to shift the focus from what you lose to what you gain. As your training progresses, you’ll notice that you can lift more weight than when you started. At some point, you might even realize that the weight that used to be challenging is now a breeze.
When is comes to how you get to exercise – at a gym or at home – you will have to decide what your goals are and what your budget is. Creating your own home gym is not as difficult as it once might have been, as you can easily search the web for reputable online sellers (gym equipment Brisbane, for example) and get what you need along with some tips. Whatever you decide, focusing on your increased strength is an effective way to track your progress.
Check Your Emotions
One of the key indicators of progress in fitness is how you feel overall. Exercise is an exceptional mood booster, as it releases endorphins–the happy hormone– into your bloodstream. As such, exercise has been proven as an effective way to combat depression, anxiety, and fatigue.
Start keeping a journal about how you feel. Note everything about your day and what triggered your positive or negative emotions. See if you can track a pattern that relates to your training plan.
Check Your Clothes
The great thing about muscle is that the same amount of weight takes up less room than body fat. That means that while the scale may not budge, your body composition and clothing size could change drastically.
If your clothes start to feel more comfortable or looser, this is an indication that you have lost weight. Alternatively, if you are trying to build muscle, your clothes might feel a little more snug, especially around the arms and back.
It can be challenging to see progress when we are used to our bodies looking a certain way. Gradual change is hard to notice in the mirror, whereas friends and colleagues may notice a significant difference. This is why people take progress photos to get a more objective look at themselves.
When taking progress photos, be sure to wear the same outfit, and use the same lighting and angles. Get photos of yourself from the front, back, and side. If one of your goal is gain muscle, flex those guns and snap a few photos. Set a reminder to repeat this once every weeks or months to see how you’ve changed.
Time to Make Progress
Scales have a time and place in our world, but they aren’t meant to be taken as gospel. Think about it, if you drink a pot of coffee and weigh yourself before using the washroom, you’ll probably weigh more than you did when you woke up. Some days you may sweat, while other days you may retain fluid.
If you find yourself obsessing over the numbers on the scale, do yourself a favor and lose some weight by removing the apparatus from your home. Remember that you are not defined by a number on a machine.
How do you track your weight loss progress without using a scale?
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