Today I am going to explain to you why the scale is not the best indicator of fitness.
I’ll tell you why the scale can play games with you, how it is not the best measure of progress, and what you can do to truly measure your health and fitness.
By the end of this article you will understand exactly how to measure your health and fitness, and quite possibly, even hate the scale a little less!
All I ask of you?
Read every word. Top to bottom. Side to side.
Don’t miss a beat.
I want you to fully understand why you don’t have to get so anxious over the scale.
Dealio? Cool, let’s hop in.
Why The Scale Is Not The Best Indicator Of Fitness
I want to start this article by showing you a picture of my online coaching client Tisha from Virginia.
She looks freaking amazing, doesn’t she?
Tisha is by far the hardest working, most consistent, strong willed human being I know.
She has worked with me for over a year and has not missed a single day of a check in with me, which has led to this incredible progress. I cannot speak highly enough of her.
So why am I including this picture in this article?
Because without even knowing her weight you probably are thinking “Damn she lost a lot of weight!” Or “Damn she looks amazing!”.
Want to hear how much weight she lost in the process of these pictures?
She did not drop not even a single ounce of weight during the 55 days these pictures were taken.
Her weight was the exact same for each and every one of these three pictures.
You are now probably thinking “well how in the hell is that possible?!”.
Keep on reading, let me tell you how.
Why The Scale Is Not The Best Indicator Of Your Fitness
What Is The Best Indicator Of Your Fitness?
If you have ever tried to lose weight you have probably had a time where maybe the scale wasn’t going down but your clothes were fitting differently.
Maybe your face or arms were looking different, but the scale wasn’t moving much.
So with all of these things that are happening aside from the scale which is the best way to know if what you are doing is working?
Well, that is just it, there is no one best way to know.
We are going to go over ways you can measure your health and fitness, but one thing you have to understand before we move on is there is a difference between weight loss vs fat loss.
Difference Between Weight Loss Vs Fat Loss
Losing fat off of your body, and losing weight, are not the same thing.
Just because you lose weight does not mean you lost fat.
Just because you lost fat, does not necessarily mean you will lose weight.
Why is this?
If you want an in-depth explanation of this topic, I urge you to head HERE to watch my YouTube video on this topic that goes over it.
But the short answer is weight and fat are two different things.
Think about this.
Let’s say you weigh 200lbs right now.
You drink 16 oz of water, which is equivalent to a lb.
If you were to step on the scale immediately after drinking that 16 oz of water you are going to weigh 16 oz heavier on the scale.
So now you weigh 201lbs. Did you gain fat? No. You simply just gained weight.
On that same token, let’s see you used the restroom later on that day from drinking all of that water.
You weigh 201 from the water. You use the restroom, let out the water you drank, and then step on the scale again.
You weigh 200 lbs.
Did you lose fat? No. You simply just lost weight.
In a span of 6 hours you gained and lost a lb, none of which was losing or gaining any fat.
See why the scale can be fickle and may not be the best indicator of your fitness?
“Muscle Weighs More Than Fat!”
Again, if you have ever tried to lose weight and the scale has not moved I am sure you have heard this.
Let me make something very clear first, above is a lb of fat versus a lb of muscle.
Muscle does not weigh more than fat. A lb of muscle weighs the same as a lb of fat.
Just like a lb of feathers weighs the same as a lb of bricks.
The difference lies in the composition of the feathers and bricks, or in this instance the muscle and fat.
Muscle is more dense than fat, which means it takes up less space on your body.
You can see above, the pound of muscle takes up much less space than the pound of fat.
If you refer to the picture of my online coaching client above Tisha, I told you her weight did not change in any of those progress pictures.
But, she looked completely different. This is because she lost fat and gained muscle.
She looks completely different as you saw. Her waist got smaller, her arms look smaller and more defined, her clothes fit differently.
But her weight did not budge.
If she lost 7 lbs of fat, but gained 7 lbs of muscle, the scale is not going to move.
This is again because 1 lb of muscle weighs the same as 1 lb of fat on the scale, so the scale will not show any “weight loss”, even though clearly you saw she looks like two different people.
Yet she looks smaller because again, muscle takes up less space on your body. So you can remain the same weight but look smaller and have your clothes fit different.
Why The Scale Is Not The Best Indicator Of Fitness
What Is The “Best” Way To Track Progress?
You now know why the scale if not the best indicator of fitness. If you remember I told you there was no one “best” way to track your fitness progress.
This is why you need to be tracking multiple different measurements to truly understand your fitness progress.
I get it, nothing is more frustrating than working your ass off dieting and exercising, but not seeing any progress.
This is where most people go wrong.
I hope you have already begun to see, you very well may be making progress, you are just not tracking your progress accurately.
Below I am going to give you a few staples that I do with every single one of my online coaching clients .
Pictured above is one of my online coaching clients Nadia.
She, very much like Tisha, works so incredibly hard. Between having two jobs, two kids, loving to travel and enjoy life, she is busy!
Yet she still is able to put her health and fitness first and make insanely amazing progress as you see above.
These pictures were taken 9 months apart.
The one thing I have learned from coaching thousands of people is that it is incredible hard to notice changes on your body because you see yourself every single morning.
You wake up and see yourself in the mirror every day, so all of the small little changes you may be making day by day week by week may not be so apparent to you in the moment.
When you are able to have the pictures side by side, you are able to see the changes in your stomach.
You can see the changes in your arms or face.
You notice your muscles coming in.
This is because you have them side by side to compare from.
Where as if you did not you would not think much of your changes because you can’t really notice any small changes.
Yet I promise you the small changes add up over a course of 2 4 8 12 weeks, and if you are taking progress pictures you will be able to notice them.
The more you notice change, the more inclined you are to keep going.
This is a bit of a side rant, but everyone always ask me as a coach “How can I get motivated to keep going?”.
Motivation doesn’t hit you in the head. There is no motivation fairy that sprinkles her dust on you in the morning when you wake up.
You won’t be motivated every single day. Yet, that is okay.
You, and most people, think it goes Motivation – Action – Results.
You get motivated, you take action, then you see results.
That is not how this works.
The only way you will be motivated to keep going is if you are seeing results.
The only way to see results is to take an action.
So it really goes Action – Results – Motivation.
These progress pictures are a perfect example. You see them, see the changes, and that motivates you to want to keep going.
Sorry, side rant there.
Back to progress pics, I would take progress pictures every 4 weeks of yourself.
The next way to track progress is going to be taking measurements.
I will continue a story about my online coaching client above Nadia.
Recently her weight stalled out for 4 weeks.
It fluctuated between the same .5lbs back and forth for 4 weeks.
We were due up for measurements and she felt that unsure if any changes took place, since the scale had not moved.
Yet, I urged her to still take the measurements just to collect data and see if we were or were not making progress.
She took the measurements… her waist was down 1.5 inches in those same 4 weeks.
Again, the scale stalled for 4 weeks straight, but her waist measurement went down 1.5 inches.
Which, if you don’t know, is beyond incredible progress. Usually an average of .5-1 inch would be considered amazing progress and she exceeded that.
This let us know her diet and exercise plan we were on was working, because we have the data to prove it.
Think about if we would not have taken those measurements. She may have gotten frustrated and quit because she thought she was not seeing progress (not her in particular because I know her and she doesn’t quit at anything but, you get the gist).
This is going to lead me down another side rant.
I just told you Nadia’s weight stalled out for 4 weeks, it didn’t move at all.
I told you Tisha’s weight did not move in 55 days.
Yet you reading this probably get frustrated and want to quit after your weight has not gone down in a day, let alone 4 weeks or 55 days.
I am not saying this to get on you, I am saying this to motivate you.
Don’t quit. Most people never reach their goals because they quit way too early.
Just because your weight doesn’t go down for a day or a week doesn’t mean you’re in a “weight loss plateau”. It means you are in the journey and it is apart of the process.
If either one of them would have quit during that time, they would not have seen the amazing progress they have.
So next time your weight stalls out or things aren’t going how you want, I challenge you to work even harder. Be even more consistent with your diet and exercise.
Most importantly, just don’t quit.
If you want help along your journey, feel free to head HERE to see if we may be a good fit to work together.
Other Progress Trackers
On top of the things I just listed, it does not have always have to be hard data or progress pictures to indicate your fitness progress.
This entire article is about why the scale is not the best indicator of fitness and they’re so many ways to measure if you are making progress or not.
For example we touched on earlier but if your clothes are fitting better, that means you are improving your fitness.
If your clothes are fitting bigger or if you have to buy new clothes that means something is working.
If people are telling you that you are looking differently, that means you are improving your fitness.
If you are getting stronger, ie you are lifting more weights or holding a plank for a longer duration of time, your fitness is improving.
There is no one form of measurement you have to follow or stick to. Take all of these info consideration when thinking about your health and fitness.
Why The Scale Is Not The Best Indicator Of Fitness.. But It Isn’t The Devil
So I just spent the last 15 minutes explaining how to measure your fitness other than the scale and now I am going to say, that doesn’t mean the scale is bad.
That doesn’t mean you should run and hide from it, especially if you are scared of it.
Think about if your kid was getting bullied in school, would you tell them just to run away or let them get beat up?
No you would probably go to the school and … nicely talk to the kid, ahem.
This is no different. This entire article has been about measurements other than the scale but that does not mean you cannot use the scale.
In fact I have every single one of my online coaching clients weigh themselves every single morning.
Why is this? The scale, the pictures, the measurements, all of it is data.
Simply data. Nothing more, nothing less.
Think about if you weighed once a week vs everyday.
You would only have 4 data points for the month as opposed to 31.
And as you saw above the scale can be fickle for many reasons. (If you want a full breakdown of why the scale fluctuates watch my YouTube video HERE).
It is data in our experiment we are doing. There is no emotion tied to the scale. There is no emotions tied to any of the data.
It is simply to gather data to make a conclusion about if what we are doing is working or not.
If it is, cool we keep going. If it is not, cool we make changes. That is the extent of that.
I strongly urge you to do the same.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions feel free to drop them below, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in possibly working together and becoming one of the success stories you saw above, head to the link HERE to fill out the form and see if we may be a good fit for coaching together.
Really look forward to hearing from you.