5 different ways to track progress without the scale! by Jaimi Jansen
So you’ve been working out daily and staying on track with your diet, yet that number on the scale hasn’t moved.
For most people their gut instinct is to throw in the towel; however, eating well and working out is about so much more than losing weight. Not to mention that weight isn’t always the best marker for optimal health. There are many other ways to measure progress when it comes to exercise and healthy eating, here are a few:
Sometimes instead of losing weight, we lose inches. Pay attention to how clothes feel. Do those jeans that used to be a struggle to button now go on with ease? If so, that means progress is happening! If this is what is observed then it is likely since the numbers on the scale are not moving it is because fat is replacing muscle. Muscle is much heavier than fat and speeds up the metabolism, meaning that more calories will be burned daily.
Another good way to keep track of weight-loss goals with clothing is to have an outfit that you plan to fit into. Every time you try on the outfit you are likely to look better and better in it, this means that your body is showing a difference in looks even if not on the scale.
If workouts are feeling easier, or if the ten pound dumbbells are now a cinch to lift and 15 lbs seems more of a struggle, then progress is being made! The body is amazing and has the ability to maximize performance and minimize energy expenditure. Meaning that the more a muscle is used the easier it is to use that muscle. Muscle cells have become accustomed to the exercise and are ready for the next level.
Creating a personalized assessment or working with a trainer to help create one can be useful to measure fitness levels. For example, how many push ups can be done in a given time, what is the max time for a plank hold? A fitness assessment can measure cardiovascular health as well as strength. The better shape the body gets into the easier the fitness assessment will be to complete, a clear marker that health and physical ability are improving.
Increase in energy:
Moving the body daily and fueling it properly gives energy that lasts throughout the day, not just a quick spike that we can get from coffee or sugar. If through changing diet and exercise allows for the absence of a morning cup of coffee or the afternoon sweet pick me up, then the exercise routine is becoming a success!
Routine exercise and healthy eating always pays off, often in ways that are hard to physically see but that one can feel. Exercise is constantly helping filter out toxins as well as bettering circulation. Healthy eating ensures that proper nourishment with the right kind and amount of nutrients, which can improve sleep and energy throughout the day.
This ensures that there are enough nutrients for proper immune, hormonal and digestive functions, to name a few. It is important to remember that our bodies can only work with what we give them, and so providing the right nutrition ensures the body is being led your body in the right direction, towards optimal health.
Measure other numbers:
There are other numbers to measure besides body weight, some are good markers of coming closer to reaching one’s fitness goals. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is a good example. Basal Metabolic Rate is defined as the minimum amount of calories the body burns to carry out the basic body functions that keep one alive. This is important because the higher the metabolism is, the less likely weight gain will be. The more muscle one has the higher metabolic rate is.
Another good measure to take is circumference measurements of arms, thighs, and waist. Even if it seems like the overall body weight isn’t changing there can be a change in size. Muscle not only weighs more than fat, but it is more dense. Therefore if an individual is gaining muscle they will become more dense meaning heavier per square inch and more compact, hence smaller! Measure circumference and track the difference.
eating well and working out is about so much more than losing weight
By measuring body fat percentage will help focus on eliminating the type of weight that actually matters. When we think of losing weight we are actually referring to losing body fat. Measure this using body skinfold calipers or using the hydrostatic method to see what percent the body is of fat and how it can change over time.
Visual proof is always the most convincing. While it can be hard to notice the results from a new workout and eating routine, it isn’t hard once comparing to a previous you. To effectively take before and after photos make sure to be wearing the same outfit in every frame. This way the difference will surely reflect the body change rather than illuminate an illusion with varied clothing. Photos help to illustrate the reshaping that one’s body is undergoing and how it looks better in the same outfit. For this part it also helps to pick an outfit that has been a ‘goal’ outfit, one that may be a struggle initially to get into. Take photos frequently and notice how the outfit starts to look progressively better and better which helps with motivation!
Don’t wait to begin your journey!