Most people tie their fitness and nutrition success to the scale. However, the problem with the scale is that the number can fluctuate for so many reasons. Different factors include the time that you weigh in, the last time that you ate, the last time that you went to the restroom and even how long ago you worked out. The scale can be a great tool but there are so many better ways to gauge your success. My favorite ways of tracking progress make you become self-aware and more in tune with your body.
-Progress Pictures: This is a great tool to be able to compare your body before , during and after. It helps you actually see your progress and see how your body has changed. Make sure when using progress pictures to track your success, that you are not comparing them too often. You can take them as close as a week apart but I would not look back at them for at least a month, if not more. It takes a while for your body to change and if you don’t see progress the first time you look you may feel defeated and give up. When taking pictures try to take them at the same time each day, in the same place, with the same lighting and in the same clothing. This will help you see a more accurate representation of the changes your body has made!
-Energy level and mood in your every day life: This is where you are going to have to get in tune with your mind and your body and really look closely at yourself. Make a mental note of your energy levels and mood in the morning and throughout your day while you are running errands, before your workout etc. Are you more energetic, happier and more easy-going? Then you are making progress. A lot of time progress isn’t always physical. I know that is hard for us to wrap our minds around but sometimes that is the most important kind of progress!
-How your clothes fit: We are all very aware if we feel comfortable in our clothes are not. We know when are jeans don’t fit right or if our bra is feeling too snug. Just keep paying attention to that because even if the number on the scale is not moving, but your clothes are fitting better, then you are making progress!
-Strength and energy levels in the gym: Again, look closely at yourself. Especially during your workouts. Do you feel stronger, are you able to lift heavier. Do you feel more motivated to get to the gym and maybe even have a little extra energy to do a little more work? Then you are making progress. A lot of times the strength comes before the muscles pop. It is another thing that can be discouraging since I know we all want those sexy boulder shoulders. Just use that added energy as a hint that you are on the right track and making progress!
-Use the mirror: This is a hard one if you are looking in the mirror daily. It can be difficult to actually notice your progress and see results. But look closely at yourself, maybe you can see a little more definition, things are getting a little tighter, maybe you can see a little more shape to your body. If so, then you are making progress!
You can choose any or all of these as a tool to measure your progress. However, the biggest measurement of progress is if you FEEL BETTER! If you are feeling good then you are doing something right. Keep up the hard work and don’t give up!
Madison Murray is a certified personal trainer, a group exercise instructor, a certified sports and exercise nutrition coach and a certified functional strength coach. For more information head to www.madfitaz.com or check her out on instagram at @mmmadisonmurray