The almighty scale churns up a lot of emotions for many people. When it’s on your side and the numbers are falling, it’s your best friend. And just like that, she stabs you in the back and you plateau or it starts creeping up! The scale can cause a lot of anxiety and many of us put a lot of stock on what it says.
The scale is just another tool to measure your progress. In the right context, a scale is an awesome tool and help! But don’t think it’s not being helpful if the numbers stop dropping. Even if the scale isn;t moving, you can still be making progress. We need to make the scale work for us.
Scales to Track Progress
The most direct use of a scale is to track progress. Whether you are trying to lose weight or gain weight, you can regularly check in to see if your work is paying off. You get instant feedback on your progress too.
“But Coach Wayne, when I do that the scale helps for a while but then I get discouraged when it stops showing me what I want.”
In almost every case, when people get mad at the scale or suggest to ditch the scale and focus on other forms of measuring progress, they are doing a few things wrong.
Get the Most Out of Your Scale
- Weigh yourself often and consistently. – If you are going to weigh a few times a week, or every day, make it the exact same time and situation each day. My recommendation is right when you watch up, after using the bathroom. That will be the most consistent measure of weight.
- Track trends in your weight. – This one you will have to trust me on, but track trends in your weight. This is why I like daily weighing too. If you record each day’s weight, you can see trends better than weighing yourself every once in a while. We all have ups and downs. Take a look at this example:
JIM can see his ups and downs. He can also correlate his life to those changes. Maybe he was up all night with a sick kick on Wednesday night of week 2 and ate more in the middle of the night, retaining some water. All in all, he sees himself trending down. His WEEKLY LOWS are getting lower and lower.
STEVE is just mad and confused. Why hasn’t his weight changed?! Well, he got unlucky and only weighed on the days when he trended up. Even worse, he could have tracked on a LOW day and then saw his weight shoot back up. This is why I low consistent weigh ins, even 3x-4x a week. It will still show you better trends.
3. Use the scale as one piece of the puzzle. – While the scale is a great tool for tracking progress, we have a lot more to track! Here are my suggestions to get a whole picture and how they interact with each other.
– Body Fat Calipers – this with a scale can really show how you are losing weight. Are you losing BF and what is your lean mass doing? Great tool and easy to use! Check out this post on calipers and tracking body fat.
– Strength Numbers – How are your workouts going? Are you adding weight and reps to your exercises? Can you dig deeper than before on cardio? Use your workout sheets and track!
– Your clothes and your look (progress pics/mirror)! – Often overlooked, how your clothes fit is a fine measure of progress. They are staying consistent, so are you fitting in them better? And progress pics can tell a huge story! How does week 1 look next to week 4? Space out pics to show more changes.
In the end, don’t ditch the scale – just use to properly. And use it as one piece of the puzzle. Track your weight, BF, workouts, and take those pics. If you are tracking your nutrition (no cheating), pushing play, and getting good sleep then you are on the road to awesome results!
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