Does this scenario sound familiar?
You’ve been on point with (insert diet here) for the last six weeks. You’ve been measuring your food, keeping track of your macros and writing every bite down in a food journal. Everything is on point.
Your friends and family are supporting your every step because you’ve been setting the alarm to get up early to hit the gym before work. No going out during the week and no eating out because you think one slip up will lead you back to the ice cream container.
And your wiz bang fat loss program that you bought off the interwebs is kicking your behind. You’re breathing hard, sweating a lot and when you’re flexing in front of the mirror, you’re starting to see some muscle for a change.
All in all, you’re feeling pretty good about yourself until you step on the scale.
It says you’ve only lost 3 pounds. That’s a mistake and the scale is wrong you say. You step on it again and gives you the same answer. And that’s when you feel like taking a sledgehammer to that lying piece of shit.
However, before you do that, don’t despair because there are other ways to measure your progress that don’t involve the scale. The scale is just a number and it doesn’t tell you what’s going on with the rest of your body.
Instead of tying all your progress into one number, use the following suggestions as a true measures of progress. Please put the hammer away now, I beg of you. Besides, you still need it.
The hammer, that is . 😊
1. Lifting numbers
You’re tracking everything you eat but are you tracking your exercise numbers? You know, the weight you’re lifting inside the gym.
Because people often make the mistake of not writing this down. Then they fail to see the improvement they’ve made inside the weight room. Keeping a lifting journal will tell you if you’re
- Lifting more weight
- Doing more reps with the same weight
- Whether you’ve mastered (or struggled) with an exercise
Furthermore, when it comes to your body, progress isn’t linear . 1+1 doesn’t equal 2. There are times when you’ll make great strides and there are times when the scale isn’t your best friend.
This is why keeping track of your numbers is essential.
Improvement, no matter how small, is still improvement. And when you’re making a lifestyle change, every win is important to keep you on track to crushing your goals.
Download a training sheet here.
2. Have a performance-based goal
Is there an exercise you want to get better at?
Is there a physical goal your yet to achieve?
My goal is to dead lift twice my body weight.
These are examples of performance-based goals. Having a goal outside of the way you look and the number on the scale, takes the focus off both and puts the focus on performance.
Because having a goal outside of your vanity goals keeps you locked in when things are not going your way. And while working towards your performance-based goal, you may meet all of your goals.
3. A tape measure
Ever heard someone say, “ I haven’t lost weight, but I’ve lost inches.”
This is because your body composition is changing. You’re losing fat and your gaining lean muscle at a similar rate, but you wouldn’t know because not measuring and assessing.
All you need to do is to use a tape measure. Measuring your hips, waist, thighs and upper arms at the start of your journey and periodically afterwards will tell you if you’re losing fat even when the scale says you’re not.
If you’re unsure on how to do this, watch this video.
This is real game changer when you’re trying to lose fat and gain muscle.
Get your measurement sheet here.
4. Measure your body composition
Your body consists of organs, fat, bone, water and muscle. However, when it comes to losing weight, you only need be concerned with fat and muscle. Yes, water levels do change because of what you’ve eaten but you don’t worry about this for fat loss.
The usual scale gives you the total number and not a breakdown between fat and muscle. Although there are scales that do that.
However, no matter how you measure your body composition, whether it’s a fancy scale or a handheld device, you need to measure your body fat because this is a great measure of progress.
Losing fat is hard.
You sacrifice a lot in the pursuit of this goal and when things don’t go your way, you may feel like giving up. That’s why it’s important to measure progress outside of the scale.
Now, if you still feel like smashing the scale, go right ahead.