More than just scales to track your progress
We get asked all the time ‘what is the best way to track my progress?’
One of the most common ways is weighing yourself on the scales. But sometimes this isn’t the best way to track as it can vary due to so many reasons. So if you find that you don’t feel great when you get on your scales then these other ways may be a better option for you.
Below we will discuss what we believe are the best ways to not only track your weight loss progress but also to track other progress on your fitness journey as well.
The following are the top 8 ways to track your progress.
Progress Photos (Transformation pictures) – are a great way to see how much your body changes over time. Try to take the photos at the same time of day in the same lighting conditions If you can, take the photos in your underwear (you don’t have to share these with anyone) just so you can notice all the small changes in your body.
Take a photo before you start and comparing it to a new photo either weekly or month to month can show you the changes your body has made and also your confidence.
The way your clothes fit – The fit and feel of your clothing can be a guide to the changes that you might not spot by looking in the mirror. Use an item of clothing to track your progress, whether it is a dress, pair of jeans or just your favourite top and try them on once a month to measure your progress.
Body measurements – measurements and more accurate than weighing your self as muscle weighs more than fat, so taking measurements will show you even the smallest changes to your body.
Your weight may not change on the scales, but you may feel like your clothes are fitting different or you can see a difference when you look in the mirror. So, pull out your measuring tape and trust that more than the scales, and like progress photos don’t do this every day once a week or even monthly is enough.
You can use the following to track other health or fitness goals:
Health Check – If one of the reasons you started your fitness journey is to improve your overall health, a check-up with your doctor can show how you've progressed. As weight gain can come with a lot of risk factors like chronic diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Checking in with your doctor can help you to avoid or learn to manage these issues which will help you live longer and improve your overall well being.
Track water intake – Water is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle that often gets overlooked. Being well hydrated is important for success in your weight loss journey, you need water to perform well during your training and to feel your best throughout the day. Other benefits to drinking water are; it boosts skin health, regulates body temperature, flushes body waste and helps maintain blood pressure.
Aim to drink 2 litres of water a day.
Track workouts – Start with planning your workouts and rest days for the week, this will help you have the motivation to do your workouts on those days. When you do a workout, track it. This could just be marking on the calendar which days you were active, or you can do more in-depth and write down what exercises or the body part you worked on during the session. This will help you when you look back and see how consistent you have been with your training and will motivate you to keep going and not to break the consistency.
Test your strength – Focusing on what you can do is a great way to measure your fitness. When you start there will be things that you struggle to do or just cannot do at all. Don’t let that get you down, you must start somewhere, but don’t forget it. When you look back in a month, 3 months or even 6 months’ time, you will be able to see just how far you have come.
To test, you can pick an exercise you want to improve and each time you do this exercise aim to do 1 more rep than the last time or hold it for 5 seconds longer.
It could even be that when you started you struggled to do push ups on your knees and now you can do a push up on your toes. Or you could only hold a plank for 15 seconds and you can now hold it for 1 minute.
Plan Meals – Your diet is the most important part of your healthy lifestyle. If you aren’t eating the correct food you will not achieve the fitness results that you want, but it is also a key factor in the way you feel. If you aren’t fuelling your body with the nutrients it needs you will start to feel lethargic and not have the energy you need to just get through your day, let alone a workout.
Start with a food diary (especially if you are a snacker) as this will help you to see what you are eating each day and where you need to make changes.
Another tip is to plan your meals and try to meal prep what you can for the week. It doesn’t need to be overly complicated.
So skip the scales and try a new way of tracking!
You want to choose the measurements that are relevant to your goals and the reasons for starting your fitness journey.
Daina Hutchins, Qualified Personal Trainer
Daina has been in the fitness industry since 2016 and is the co-owner of Down Under Barbell (www.downunderbarbell.com). A weight trainer herself, she enjoys training others in high-intensity groups. Currently pursuing diploma in weight management, she is a qualified strength coach, boxing (for fitness) coach and pre- and post-natal fitness.
You can purchase per personal fitness program packages here.