If this is you, then you’ve come to the right place! Often when we start a fitness program which involves avoiding our favourite foods and drinks and hitting the gym more often, a lot of us are fixated on the kilos that we should be shedding. This is because of years of programming – things we’ve heard people say, things that are said by the media that lead us to believe that it is that number on the scale that tells us whether we are slim or not. It is that number that has the power to decide how are going to feel about ourselves. And that’s why many of us dread it!
I’m here to tell you, that we give a lot of power to this number – which is actually just one of the ways to measure our progress and fitness levels. Your weight often fluctuates for a number of reasons – such as water retention caused by dehydration, your BM schedule or for no good reason at all. Therefore, if you just rely on your weight to track your progress, you’re in for a frustrating ride – especially if you are a sensitive person who gets demotivated easily.
Instead of being so fixated on weight, there are other metrics that are just as important and must be considered at the start and throughout your fitness program. These are:
- Body Fat Percentage – your body fat percentage can be determined through different types of equipment such as body scanners (expensive) or through sending electric signals through your feet to measure the density of fat (cheaper but less accurate). Basically, when done correctly, it determines how much of your body is fat in percentage terms. This should give you a fair idea of how much fat you need to lose. For example, 35% body fat and above is considered overweight/obese while the fittest, leanest athletes are at 10-15% body fat.
- Inch Loss – a lot of people who usually complain of not seeing results on the weighing scale, do notice a positive difference in the way their clothes fit, but think nothing of it. This is actual fat loss. The way your clothes sit on you, is one of the most telling ways for fat loss. Therefore, a suggestion is to not brush it off as good luck, but to rather, acknowledge it and accept the compliments coming your way!
- Improved strength – fitness and getting healthy is not just about weight loss and fat loss. If you are into it for the long haul, then you must focus on other aspects of your fitness and work towards building them up further. Strength or weight training for example is a qualitative way to measure your progress. If your starting weight for a deadlift was 50 kgs in week 1 of your fitness routine, and now in week 6 you’ve reached 65 kilos, that’s a big achievement in a really short amount of time!
- The mirror – are you noticing more muscle tone in your body? Are you seeing small but significant changes in your posture? Are tiny little muscles popping up? Is your collarbone looking more pronounced? These are some wonderful initial changes that you will see at the start of your fitness program. If you stick to it for years – where you continue to challenge yourself, you will see even more significant changes in your body, such as your lower back and belly if they are heavy on fat.
Sometimes your body will simply not show you the results in terms of the numbers you are looking for. It doesn’t mean that you need to quit. You simply need to keep at it, keep trying different things till you find the one sport/activity that suits your body the best and that you enjoy. After that, there will be no looking back!