Measuring Progress: more than just the scale

We hear it pretty frequently: "I keep weighing myself but the scale doesn't move!"
 
Many people have a weight loss goal in mind when they come to the gym, and that may be a good place to start. However, it is by no means the only measure of success. Below are some other ways to track progress that may not be reflected on the scale.

Feeling "better"

It's likely that you notice your body overall feeling "better." There's bound to be muscle soreness from working out of course, but we find that after working out for a few weeks, most people have more energy, less anxiety, and sleep better at night. That's a definite win in day to day life!

Increase in ability

In your time at the gym, have you noticed the same weight getting a little easier? This is the first of the non-scale victories to celebrate. Perhaps you can go a little heavier than you could last month. Or maybe you can withstand a little more cardio than before. These are no small feats and a good sign that your body is responding well to exercise.

Before pictures

Very few people enjoy having their picture taken when in the "man I really need to get to the gym" phase, but I'm here to encourage you - please do! These before pictures provide great evidence of how hard you've worked. You see yourself in the mirror every day so you may not notice changes in your physique unless you have something to compare it to. Another thing of note:  pay special attention to the curve on your face. Smiling because you're healthier and happier makes all the difference!

 

Clothing fit

Maybe you've noticed a little looseness in your pants. Or, depending on your goals, maybe you find your lats threatening to bust out of your shirts. This is a good indicator that your body is transforming. The washer and dryer can also play a part in this method of measurement though so if you want to be even more accurate you can look to...

Measurement tracking

Tracking your measurements is a pretty accurate way to measure progress as your body transforms. We do this with many of our clients here and we recommend anyone who is starting out (or continuing toward their goals) to take their measurements as well. Be sure to measure around different parts of the body and be consistent the next time you measure. Some places to measure: neck, upper arms (both sides), chest, waist, hips (around the largest part of your butt), upper thighs (both sides), and calves (both sides).

 

What if none of these things happen?

If you've been putting in the work (that means working out to the point where it's actually a challenge for you) for a substantial amount of time and haven't noticed any of the above changes, it's possible there's something hindering your progress. The first place to check is your fridge. Nutrition plays a large part in progress at the gym. It may be that your diet just needs a little tweaking to better fuel your life. If you need help in this area, our nutrition counselors are available by appointment. We usually ask that you start tracking your food intake for a week or so before meeting with a counselor to get a good baseline to start from. If you know your nutrition is roughly where it should be and you're still not seeing results, it's a good idea to meet with your doctor to discuss possible hormonal or auto-immune limitations. 
Feel free to celebrate all of these non-scale victories and let them encourage you to keep setting goals in your fitness journey.