Whether you have a goal to lose weight or put on weight, most commonly, people will head to the trusty bathroom scale and jump on, hoping to see the number staring back at them reads less than last time, or more than last time. The thing is however, the scale is giving you a number that reflects EVERYTHING about you. EVERYTHING you’re made up of. Muscle, fat, bone, skin, organs, tissues, water.… EVERYTHING! That number isn’t necessarily a true indicator of you making progress. Sure sometimes the number on the scale may be down, but down from what? Did you lose fat? Do you have less fluid that day? Did you lose muscle? These will give you a lower reading for sure. But do we want to lose muscle? No. If that’s happening, that is not progress.
So what are the best ways to determine whether or not you’re making progress? Well, I have come up with my top 4:
Take note of what your body is telling you. How your energy is? How your sleep and mood is going during periods of stress (training)? There are apps out there to help with this if needed. Feeling energetic and ready to tackle the day and your training with full gusto? Thats progress. Especially if you used to be someone that could barely muster the energy to tie your shoelaces. Sleeping better? Has your quality of sleep improved drastically compared to previous weeks, months, years? That is progress. And what about your mood? Are you less cranky? Do you find yourself dealing with and handling stressful situations much better and clearer? Situations that in the past would perhaps increase stress and anxiety, therefore, bringing your mood into darker place. That is progress. The human body is extremely skilled at showing you signs of how things are in your life. Listen to it.
For something more visual, take progress photos. These can be done periodically, let’s say, every 4, 6, 12 weeks or so. You look in the mirror, you see yourself right there, right then, at that point in time. You can’t check the mirror for how you looked last month. Or 3 months ago. Photos allow you to do this. They show you just how far you have come over a period of time. They can also be brutally honest. They can show you if you’ve gone backwards. That is vital information to ensure you change things up in order to get back on track and continue making progress. So get snapping! And remember, show as much flesh as possible.
At RFT, you have the advantage of the Inbody Scan. This will give you a snapshot of your health markers right now. Body fat, muscle mass, fat mass, visceral fat, waist to hip ratio. These are all details that can indicate whether you’re making progress or not. Got a weight loss goal? Keep an eye on your fat mass. Got a muscle gain goal? Watch your skeletal muscle mass. If fat mass is coming down while muscle mass goes up, or is at least maintained, the scale won’t move much but that is still progress. And the most ‘sought after’ progress to be honest.
Lastly, keep track of your fitness markers. How much has your strength improved? How much fitter are you? Are you less puffed when you walk up a flight of stairs or around the block? Are you easily manoeuvring furniture around the house now or lifting boxes is a breeze because you’re stronger? These are often overlooked indicators of progress. Sometimes we get so caught up in numbers that we forget the little things that make a huge difference. And for those that love the numbers, remember, even if it’s an extra half a kilo on a particular lift, or one single extra rep at last weeks weight, that is great progress.
Including one or all of these methods to track your progress will greatly assist you with motivation. Help you keep your eyes on the prize so to speak. Use the information to your advantage and continue forward accordingly, be it by doing what you’re doing if you’re still making progress, or tweak things if progress has stalled.