Many people dread getting on the scale and for good reason. The scale fails to paint the full picture of health and fitness.
If they see the number they want then all is good in the world, but in fact, it might not be. Conversely, if we don’t see the number we want, then everything about the rest of our day changes! The wrong number could end up leading to depression, low self esteem, and frustration which then leads to extreme diets, over the top exercise programs and injuries.
Too many people equate seeing a certain number on the scale as being fit and it’s time to realize that this isn’t always the case.
If your true goal is to be healthy and sustain overall wellness then it is important to understand what the scale is telling you and realize there are better ways to measure your results.
Don’t Get Overly Focused on the Number
The first thing you need to know about the scale: it’s just a number! The number it shows reflects how much weight you are carrying at that moment. It doesn’t show that you that you lost 5 lbs of fat yet gained 5 lbs of muscle and water.
Morning, Noon or Night?
If you are going to step on the scale be sure to do it at the same time everyday. The best time to weight yourself is in the morning before you get your day started with eating, exercise and drinking. Morning best reflects your true weight.
The Impact of your daily diet
People often assume that after a night out eating a pasta dinner, wine/beer and some birthday cake, that they will see the scale read up to five pounds than the day before. While it might just do that, it doesn’t mean that you’ve gained 5 pounds.
Understand this: to gain one pound of fat, you’ll need a 3,500 calorie surplus. It is generally recommended that, to maintain your current body weight, you should eat around 2,000 calories per day (many factors go into this USDA suggestion, so please do not take this as advice!)
There are certainly many places like Outback Steakhouse or The Cheesecake Factory, where you can pack on 5,000-plus calories without blinking but it still takes a lot of calories consumed to get you to gain weight over night. Usually, your body will just release the majority of those extra calories consumed above your normal diet.
So, how do you account for the weight gain? It is water. Water from what you drink and from what you eat.
Getting Focused on Fitness
With all this knowledge, why would you want to torture yourself with the scale? Instead, we encourage our clients to change the focus from measuring weight to measuring results.
Here are some ideas and suggestions to focus on besides the scale:
For those of you in Boot Camp watch other clients in class and ask yourself the following questions
Do you take more or less breaks than others take?
Are you close to others during the sprints or timed events?
There are many exercises where you can actively ask yourself how you’re doing in comparison to others (suicides for example). This is a good way to tell whose getting faster or falling behind.
How is your form compared to others in the class?
Are you sticking to the goals set by the trainer for rests in between sets?
Track your own personal performance – During events like our fitness challenges, plank tests or even a simple run, remember or even write down the results. Then try to beat those results the next time that exercise comes around.
Make mental notes about your belt and see which hole you are using.
Shirts and pants will start fitness better as well.