When we want to get in shape we often use the phrase “weight loss”. I know I did and still do catch myself saying it regardless of my goals. I feel like we’re all being mislead with the actual number on the scale. Depending on our goals, the scale isn’t always the most accurate way to measure progress. There is a difference between weight loss and fat loss. Here’s how to define your goals and how to track your progress the right way.
Weight loss is the number on the scale. It’s shedding weight. It’s physically weighing less. A goal of losing 20 pounds is an excellent goal. But what happens when you start to GAIN muscle with your workouts??
From personal experience I know that when you switch from cardio to weight lifting, you’ll see a drastic change on the scale and it can be a scary thing. But just because that number goes up doesn’t mean you’re not on point with your goals. I’ve lost inches while gaining weight. Why? Because I’m losing fat and building muscle which will cause you to gain weight on the scale.
So of we can’t trust the scale, how do we measure progress? I’m a fan of two different methods: Measuring (with measuring tape and a fat % caliper) and taking before and after photos.
Fat % calipers and measuring tape are super inexpensive and a more accurate way to measure your progress. The calipers can be a little tricky at first but you’ll get used to it.
Taking before and after photos are my absolute FAVORITE for seeing how far you’ve come. I always tell people to record how they feel throughout their journey. How do their clothes fit? Do they feel healthier? How do they feel when they look in the mirror? Do they have more confidence? But sometimes change in the body is hard for that person to see on themselves. That’s why I love photos. When you look back at your beginning, it’s such an eye opener to where you’re at now. It’s so important to know that all your hard work is paying off!
Getting back to your GOALS… If you are looking to lose fat and gain muscle remember that the word gain is right there in your goal. As you bulk up the scale will reflect that. But that’s not a bad thing! If you’re just trying to drop some weight, feel free to measure progress with the scale but keep in mind some important factors like water weight. That could make the scale temporarily go up and can be super frustrating.
Regardless of how you track your progress, always listen to your body! Pay attention to how you feel even if you haven’t reached your goals yet. You will get there if you just keep going and give it all you got!