Why The Scales Lie | Everything You Need To Know

Written by Tom Macmillan, Natural World Champion Bodybuilder & Online Coach

Why The Scales Lie

Dieter works so hard all week..


Dieter steps on scale…


Scales have gone up!


The scales aren’t honest (a lot of the time)


They certainly don’t need to go down to reflect changes in your physique…

So Why Aren’t They Accurate?


Time of the day: I hate seeing people weigh themselves in the gym! especially fully clothed… It’s best to weigh yourself fasted and post toilet


Glycogen: Glycogen is stored carbohydrate, when we have less carbs were lighter, more carbs than usual were likely heavier


Water Weight: Easily held if your salt/water is unbalanced. For example, you have a high salt meal but not enough water, sodium will cause extra fluid to be held in cells.


Hydration Status: If your dehydrated your muscles have less water in the cells, your body will contain less total water thus you will weigh less. Think of a full water bottle, it weighs, empty it fully and your left with a light piece of plastic.


Bowel Movement: Not a popular topic admittedly! But your bowel movements have a big say in how much you’re weighing!. Long story short, if bowels are ‘fuller’ you’re heavier!


Muscle Growth: You won’t turn into Mr. Olympia overnight, but if you’re new to weight training or training in a specific way, you can certainly be building muscle whilst burning fat, similar if you’re coming back from a training lay off

stay hydrated

The Solution…


Weigh yourself daily (or at least more than once!) – take your average at the end of the week and compare weekly
Measurements – thigh, waist, arm, chest compare weekly/fortnightly
Image/video – compare fortnightly (do your best to make sure your lighting and conditions are similar)

The scales are a tool; the scales won’t tell you the full picture. Start taking weekly averages, accept that weight will fluctuate and collect even more data by using photos & measurements. The more you know, the better!


Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile organisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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