Don't Get Spooked by the Scale; 5 Other Ways to Track your Progress

Don't Get Spooked by the Scale; 5 Other Ways to Track your Progress

Has this ever happened to you? You've been lifting heavy for some time, dialing in your nutrition habits, drinking plenty of water and getting lots of rest. You feel good, strong, sexy AF, on top of the world. You hop on the scale hoping - expecting even - to see a certain number, but you glance down and see ... 3 pounds... HEAVIER!? (or lighter, depending on your personal goals)?! How could this be!

When it comes to tracking your progress, it's important to take a holistic viewpoint and consider multiple angles. When we hyper-focus on one metric, we can lose sight of the whole picture and miss valuable information. Oftentimes that metric isn't the most useful or representative of our overall progress, especially when it's just a number on a scale. We live in a world that attaches a lot of meaning to what should simply be an objective measure. As a result, we tend to get pretty bent out of shape over it (no pun intended). The truth is, our weight naturally fluctuates throughout the day as our body intelligently carries out processes to keep us moving and grooving. Focusing too closely on weight alone, and checking in on it too often (multiple times a day, once a day, once a week may even be too much) can even hinder our progress, particularly if we experience an emotional attachment to a certain number. So instead of giving all of your power over to 3 little numbers just telling us how much gravity is working against us, let's look at some other useful ways you can track your progress. 

1. How Does Movement Feel 

A great indicator of your overall progress can simply come down to checking in with yourself from time to time about how it feels to move your body! Maybe there was a particular movement pattern that was extremely difficult for you when you first started, and now you move through it without much thought as it's become second nature. It can be easy to take pain-free movement for granted when we're experiencing it - anyone who has suffered an injury knows how acutely aware we become of that once we can't easily access it. You can take a functional movement assessment before, during and after specific programming blocks if you prefer to look at things in terms of metrics and numbers, or if you're more of a feeler, maybe just carve out some time here and there in your workouts or sport to pay attention to how it feels. Jot down your thoughts and refer back as you keep going, which brings us to:

2. Keep a Journal 

Putting all of your thoughts and feelings down in one place provides you with a frame of reference that will help you to see progress over time. It's all too easy to forget or dismiss the value in the work we do and progress we make when we have our sights set on a specific goal. Every single step it takes to bring you closer to that goal is where the real work happens, not just the last one or the arrival at the goal. Keep a journal, track your progress. Maybe you're a habit tracker, and you check off daily habits here. Maybe you log how you felt physically, mentally, emotionally, what you ate, how you slept, how heavy your back squat was, one big win and one area for improvement. It can be as simple or complex, detailed or to the point as you need it to be. Just stay consistent, use the same or similar metrics over time, and weeks, months, maybe years down the road you'll have a database of info to look back on and see with clarity where you were, where you are are, and where you're going. 

3. Personal Records or Fitness Wins

If strength gains are your jam, this can be an awesome metric to take into account how well you're progressing. With consistency and focus on proper form you will undoubtedly find yourself needing to reach for bigger weight to keep progressing forward. Sometimes it can be easy to fall into a range of weight that you reach for in certain workouts just because it's what you're used to, and what you know without a doubt you can do. You've reached a plateau, and breaking through to the next level can feel intimidating and challenging. Maybe you've never really tracked what weight you use, and end up just blindly grabbing something that seems hard enough. By starting the habit of keeping track of objective measures in your workout - like how much weight, how many sets and reps, tempo, and rest time to name a few, you start a clear framework that you can build on. No more guesswork about what you can and can't do, when to try to go up and when to scale it back. And now, you'll know for sure when you've smashed a new PR. Being able to move more weight with more efficiency is a clear and useful indicator that you are progressing forward, and by keeping good track of your own wins, you'll set yourself up for big wins.

4. Energy for Daily Life

That's right, the thing that we're here to do... live our lives? Do you have time and energy for that one? Perhaps the most important metric of your progress is this one right here, and it can be an easy one to lose sight of when we're in too deep and maybe a little too fixated on numbers. Did you make it to your kiddos soccer tournament last weekend and find some enjoyment in it? Do you wake up feeling well rested and ready, excited even about at least one part of your day? Are you able to move through your day without reaching for a caffeine or sugar fix to keep you going? When your weekend or day off finally rolls around, do you get to use it for something you love, or find yourself regularly needing to use it to recover? Of course day-to-day can be stressful, and circumstances outside of our control get in the way. But if you're having a consistently difficult time bouncing back or getting through it, this might be a sign that it's time to switch some things up. Maybe you need more nutrient-density, regularly timed meals with balanced macros, or more rest time between workouts, lower intensity, more sleep, etc. etc. But, if you're feeling good, energized, able to manage stress if and when it pops up, you're clearly doing something right. Let how you feel in your day-to-day life be a valuable tool to help you decide how to dial in your habits, not just the other way around. That is the point, after all!

5. Body Composition Analysis

If you have a specific weight goal, remember that the number on the scale is only one piece of the puzzle. Determining the other variables that contribute to that number provides the details you need to make better informed decisions on not only how much progress has been made, but how to progress moving forward. Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) Technology provides you with a breakdown of your overall body composition, so you can see how much of that weight is muscle mass, body fat, and body water. Sometimes an increase in total body weight is indicative of an increase in muscle mass and decrease in body fat- not a problem at all, in fact a very good sign! BIA Technology removes the guesswork from the equation and provides you with concrete information you can use to track your progress over time. 

If you're tired of going at it blindly and ready to take the guesswork out of your next leg of the journey, click the link below to sign up for your FREE No Sweat Consultation!

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