It’s not uncommon for people to struggle with recognising the progress they have made on their fitness journey.
It’s so important to stop being overly hard on yourself and recognise that the scales is not the only way to measure progress!
This is quite possibly one of the best ways to keep track of your progress as your measurements will change even when the scales does not.
✓ Take the time out to take your measurements weekly and record them in a diary or on a calendar so that you can keep track of the improvements you are making.
✓ You don’t have to measure every art and part of you, focus on some key areas that you want to improve such as your waist measurement and anywhere else you are placing focus on such as the biceps and thighs.
#2 Progress pictures
When we see ourselves every day countless times through the day, it can be hard to see the word for the trees when it comes to progress.
✓ Take weekly or even monthly progress pictures to help keep you accountable and to have something solid to compare where you are at now to where you were a few months ago.
✓ Many people are unhappy when they look back at photos as they couldn’t recognise the difference since they saw themselves so much daily.
This is also a fantastic way of evaluating any changes you need to make to your diet or training plan.
#3 The weighing scales
The scale is useful but only one of many useful measurements to evaluate progress. It is important to not place too much importance upon it as your weight will fluctuate due to other factors than simple fat gain and loss.
✓ Hormones and water levels play a huge role in the weight displayed on your scales on a daily basis. We lose water in our sleep so even not having a good night’s rest may affect the digits on your scales.
✓ If you had extra carbs the day before, you will hold more water and so will weigh heavier.
We can place way too much emphasis on the scales as a reflection of our progress and when it moves in a direction other than the one we want to see it can be very disheartening. This is why it’s crucial to understand that you may still have made progress even if it is not reflected on the number on the scales. However, the scales is very useful for tracking patterns in weight fluctation that you may have.
#5 Progress in your fitness levels
It’s very easy to get caught up in only recognising the progress you have made in your physique, but it’s equally important to take heed of the leaps and bounds that you are making in terms of strength and fitness, which in turn will benefit your overall health.
By taking time to acknowledge these improvements, especially in your off season, you will find it a lot easier to stay motivated and stick to your training and nutrition plan year round. Make sure you keep track of all your lifts so that you can recognise when you hit personal bests, and even watch for improvements in any cardio you do.
✓ Are you on a harder level on the Stairmaster or can you finish that three mile run faster than a few months ago?
These are all often underappreciated signs of progress.
#4 How do your clothes fit?
This is such an easy indicator of progress that takes no time or effort to monitor but can really highlight just how far you have come. If you drop a clothing size, no matter what the scales says this is an indication of progress presuming your goal is weight or fat loss based.
✓ Muscle takes up less space on your body than fat, so chances are, even if the scale has not moved a large amount, if your clothes are fitting looser you are probably losing fat!
Take home message
Make sure that you take the time to appreciate the progress that you make, even if it is not all progress in your physique.
Improvements in your strength and fitness levels are important too and should be recognised as such!
Keep track of the progress you make so that it is easier for you to see how far you have come. It can be hard to recognise your progress when you see yourself every day.