There is one relationship in my life that has outlasted many others. We have been close for over a decade – longer than most of my close friendships have lasted. We have fought, gone months without interacting, and I always go back…seeking fulfillment. This relationship…is with my scale.
Unfortunately, the scale and I rarely see eye to eye. We have an inverse relationship, when I’m working hard, he rarely moves. When I’m not doing what I need to be doing, he seems to move up on cue.
I know a lot of women share this struggle, which is why I think it’s important to find other ways to measure progress in fitness and look away from that piece of plastic and metal on the floor.
After working out consistently for nearly a year, I have seen more progress from body fat measurements, progress pictures, and body measurements than I have ever seen from the scale. Even when my bicep or thigh measurements move up a bit (dude! I thought numbers should go down. what is going on?), I am happy…because I know they are moving up with muscle and my body fat is decreasing. When my body fat decreases, I see myself living longer, living healthier, and living happier. That’s something the scale was never able to tell me…no matter what number showed up in those little red digits.
I think these three progress tracking methods are integral to a fitness-training program, at least for me. I like to see progress and often times a scale can't show me that.
I have my body fat measured every three months or so. I take my measurements whenever I remember…generally every 8-12 weeks. The measurements and pictures are something you can do yourself with a camera and measuring tape (some day I might be bold enough to post some of my fitness progress pictures…but not today ☺ ). You can get your body fat measured at many different places. I get mine measured at the Personal Training and Assessment Center at the local university, but you can also have yours tested at many gyms, doctors offices, etc, for a small fee (many gyms even do it for free!).
I capture my measurements on Spark People, so that I know exactly the day they were put in. It will also show you a graph of your progress during a specific date range, which is nice. But keeping the data in a notebook works just as well!
Now I guess I will get courageous and show off some numbers, so you can see some of my progress (not saying it's impressive or anything. but when the scale refuses to budge, it's all of I've got). To emphasize how these numbers can show you things the scale can’t, remember that between my March 2010 body fat reading & the one I had earlier this week, I am only about 3lbs lighter (yeah, I didn’t say I don’t use the scale, I just said I can’t judge progress by it….nobody is perfect ☺)
Body Fat Readings:
I know that it is not as much fun to look at where you are starting, but it is VERY fun to look back and see where you have been. Before starting a fitness regimen, I encourage you to take some measurements and photos...and try to look away from the number on the scale. Will you?
Links to Health:
What's The Best Time to Exercise?
5 Shockingly Unhealthy Salads
Is Your Job Harming Your Health?
Stay on Track While Heading Out of Town for the 4th