The weighing scales can be incorporated as part of your measurements but using it in isolation to measure successful or unsuccessful fat loss is not a good approach.
The scales can fluctuate from day to day, from hour to hour, from minute to minute for many reasons. Here are a few examples:
- the time of day compared to the last time of day you weighed in.
- if you use a different scales.
- the amount of food you consumed the day before or day of compared to the last time you weighed yourself
- the amount of water you consumed.
- and for females, the stage of your menstrual cycle.
It’s time for Fitness Professionals to move on from measuring their clients success on the scales, only.
Have you ever felt great due to eating well and training consistently? Your energy is high, you’re sleeping well. Clothes are fitting better and you feel leaner. But, then you step on the scales and because it’s increased you automatically feel bad, you get down in yourself.
Are you allowing a number on the scales define your happiness?
In general, if you’re feeling better you’re progressing. Go back and again read why your weight fluctuates.
Another factor to consider is an increase in weight does not mean an increase in fat. If you’re lifting weights and in a calorie deficit, it’s possible you’re reducing body fat and gaining muscle. Scales is decreasing from fat loss, increasing from muscle gain. But, don’t worry, muscle gain is a GOOD thing, remember if we want to look toned we must lift weights.
So, what are better measures of success?
- Number 1! How your actually feel. This is the first and most important question I will ask a client. Health and Fitness is far more than just losing fat and toning up.
- How your clothes fit. Pick an item of clothing right now that’s uncomfortable. Try it on every week. A measure of progress is checking if its feeling a little more comfortable as the weeks pass.
- Sleep quality. Track it, rate it, increase it. Good quality of sleep cannot be underestimated in the quest for fat loss.
- Mood. How is your mood day to to. Is it improving due to better sleep, consistent training and structured nutrition.
- How you look in the mirror. As the weeks are you happier with who you see in the mirror?
- A compliment. That moment a friend you have not seen in a few weeks or months says “you look great, have you lost weight”.
- Pictures. Look back on old Facebook and Instagram photos. Take new ones and compare.
How can we use the scales?
A better method of using the scales is to take it under the exact same circumstances 3-4 times per week. Take your average. If the average is reducing week to week and all the other points above are improving then it’s more reassurance you’re making progress. Remember the road to success is a bumpy road. The average won’t be a straight line to success.
Females please note your menstrual cycle has a dramatic effect on the scales. Don’t compare week to week. Compare each stage of cycle to that same stage in the next cycle. For example, don’t compare week 1 of your cycle to week 2, compare week 1 to week 5 (in other words week 1 of following cycle).
We hoped this helped you in understanding how to use the scales and you’re also encouraged to use other methods as a measure of success.
Please feel free to email Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.