Measuring progress is a great tool to use when you are trying to physically change your body by losing weight and bodyfat or increasing your weight. Tracking results is great for motivation and is an indication of where you are currently in your journey towards your goal. There are many ways you can measure progress and it is important to use more than just one. By using just one tool as a method of measuring progress e.g. bodyweight scales, may only get you so far and can be inaccurate of other progressions made while on your fitness and health journey. I will go over some other great ways of tracking your progress other than using the scales.
This is the way of taking body measurements using a measuring tape around various parts of the body to measure progress with through changes in body shape. E.g. chest, waist, hip, arm, leg circumference. You can find that you may not make a lot of change on the scales when trying to lose weight but body measurements can still change if new eating and exercise habits have been introduced.
This stands for ‘dual energy X-ray absorptiometry’ this measures bone density as well as body composition elements like how much body fat and muscle mass is in your body. It can break down each individual limb, identify exactly where body fat and muscle tissue is distributed, as well as visceral fat (dangerous fat around your organs). This is a fantastic tool but does come at a price and they aren’t as readily available like a set of scales or a measuring tape. I would suggest to get a DEXA scan if you want some more detailed information regarding your progress every 3 months or so.
These are also a method of measuring body fat through measuring 3-10 points of the body through skinfolds and then calculating a body fat percentage using a formula. These can be difficult to do yourself, so best to get a professional to do for you who knows how to use calipers.
Taking progress photos during your fitness journey is another great tool to compare what you used to look like and notice other changes e.g. posture, body shape, muscle imbalances, skin and hair health etc. These can be very motivational as well to keep working towards your goal if the scales aren’t moving hoe you want and you know you’re putting the work in!
How you feel
Do you feel that you have more energy throughout the day? Or maybe you wake up ready for the day instead of wanting to hit snooze on the alarm? These and many others are things to track when you are trying to change eating and exercise habits. More body cues can include –
- Quality and duration of sleep
- Energy levels at the start of the day and during
- Recovery after exercise
- Monitoring cravings and hunger
- Some aches and pains are reduced or non existent
Similar to taking photos, noting how clothing fits you can be a method used to track your progress. Ladies, you could have that pair of jeans that now fits you perfectly when a few months a go they were a bit tight. For men, you might have gone down to the next hole on your belt buckle. It is always a good excuse to treat yourself to some new threads!
Strength & Endurance
Tracking your progress through your exercise is a great tool to see strength gains and improvement in cardiovascular fitness. For many newbie members to the gym or new to strength training it is very common to see a jump in increased strength in the first few months as your body is adapting to this new stimulus it hasn’t had before or hasn’t done in a long time. If you find that you aren’t as tired between sets on an exercise or recovering quickly after a cardio workout this can show your cardio fitness is improving and you can push a little harder for your next workout!
I hope these other methods of measuring progress can help you in your fitness journey and know that it isn’t the end of the world because you haven’t dropped that extra 0.2kg on the scales! Using other methods to track progression will help your motivation and keep you accountable to get to your goal. If you are still having trouble, please contact me so we can chat about how you’re tracking your progress and get you motivated!