If you work out, screw the scale!

As many fellow women will know, there’s no better way to drive ourselves crazy than to step on the scale several times a day and obsess over our weight and any little changes we may notice. But is stepping on the scale even necessary to see if we’re making progress when we’re working out regularly?

I have some good news for you: It absolutely is not!

In fact, when you work out on a regular basis, the scale might not even be the best or the most appropriate tool to help you see progress. The only thing you see when you step on the scale is your entire weight. You don’t see how much of that weight comes from muscle, from fat or from water. And for the most part, the weight that you want to focus on getting rid of is from fat. Another thing to take into account when using the scale is that muscle is heavier than fat, which means that one pound of muscle will take up much less space on your body than one pound of fat. If you work out and as a result build muscle and lose fat, your weight might not change much and might even go up, but you might still look slimmer, leaner and more defined. The scale cannot tell you any of that and will just trigger panic about the weight going up when there are in fact so many positive changes happening in your body.

If you would like to track your progress, there are several better ways to do that than the scale. You can also use them in addition to weighing yourself to give you a better overview if you’re not ready to throw out the scale just yet. Some great alternatives or additions to the scale are listed below:

Taking progress pictures: Taking progress pictures to compare can be a great way to see if your efforts are paying off. They show you changes in your physique that the scale cannot. Do you see muscle where a few weeks ago there wasn’t any? Does your overall silhouette look firmer? To make progress pictures truly comparable, you should take them at the same time of day (in the morning before breakfast might be the easiest option), and wear the same clothes in each picture.

Having your body composition measured: Having your body composition measured by a professional is probably the most accurate method to determine if your workout programme and diet are helping you move in the right direction. With that kind of measurement, you can determine how much of your body weight is fat and how much is muscle mass, which is way more informative than just having your entire weight without any distinctions. There are different methods to measure body composition, for example BIA or skin fold measurements. If you are serious about wanting to see your progress regularly, I would recommend having the measurements done about every 3 months. Once you decide on a method for measuring body composition, it is best to stick with that same method for your following measurements to make sure the results are comparable. For the same reason, it is also important that the conditions before each measurement are the same. You can do that by measuring always at the same time of day and sticking to the same routine beforehand; you could for example have each measurement taken at 8am before breakfast after going to bed at 10pm the night before. If you decide on skin fold measurements, you should have all your measurements done by the same person as the results with this method strongly depend on each person’s technique.

Trying on items of clothing: Trying on a pair of jeans that you couldn’t quite fit into when you started your journey can be another way for you to visualise your progress. From month to month, you might notice that it becomes easier and easier to fit into those jeans, and though your weight might not have changed much, your figure sure has!

Let me know if you found this helpful!

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