Don’t just step on a scale

  • Andrea

    Andrea "Dre" Fitness Shoot

Measuring progress — it isn’t black and white! So many times clients approach me with worry — worry that the scale isn’t moving. Sigh, right?

Clients, both male and female have this never-ending battle with the scale. Truthfully, if I could walk into all of their houses and throw it in the trash, I would.

The scale is not the end all, be all of your fitness and wellness journey. It isn’t the ultimate measure of progress.

Have a read of the different ways that you can measure your progress without ever stepping on the scale.

Take pictures

Take pictures or yourself on day 1. Pick a background with good lighting, wearing as little clothing as possible. Capture yourself from the front, side profile and back.

Retake your pictures 14 days, one month and six weeks later. Same time, same background, same lighting, same “clothes”.

Compare the differences, whether it is huge or not — remember that progress is STILL progress.

Measure yourself

Take measurements — waist, hips, left/right leg (thigh), chest/breast, left/right arm. The scale doesn’t tell you how many inches you’ve lost or gained (depending on your goals).

Losing an inch in your waist is progress, losing 0.25 inches in a thigh is still progress. Gaining 0.25 inches in a thigh is leg gains (especially if you compare your pictures as well and notice less fat, more definition/size!)

Track your food

Throughout the 21 days, write down your eating habits in a journal. Note your meals, snacks, water intake. Be honest, be transparent. You may note as the days progressed, you found it easier to eat cleaner. Progress is still progress.

Use clothing

Put on a pair of jeans, a skirt, a work shirt, anything. If your goal is to be leaner, note how it fits. Try it on again, if not two weeks later, four weeks or six weeks later and note the difference. All about the gains? Do the same, of course.

Measure your fitness

Complete a fitness assessment. We call it “Minute to Win It” at Hindssight. Pick a few exercises to max out reps for one minute each. Push-ups, jump squats, kettlebell swings, sit-ups, slamball for example. Go into hulk mode and push out as many reps of each for a minute interval. Record the result.

Maybe, pedal bike a specific distance, swim a specific distance or attempt a yoga class.

Two weeks later, one month later, and/or six weeks later, redo the test, ride, or class and note the improvement. If you’ve been consistent and honest with your efforts, there will be improvement. Yet another thing the scale does not tell you!

Measure your sleep patterns

Many clients will complain initially that they CAN’T sleep, due to their unhealthy lifestyle. Make a note of this before you start. After a few weeks, months make note of the change — hopefully, your improved health has allowed you to sleep better. Progress!

Evaluate your joy, social life and emotions

Are you the office grouch? Miserable for no reason at all. Often, if someone is unhappy with themselves, it comes out in the way they treat others.

Taking a hold of your fitness and wellness is a definite way of improving your everyday life. Seriously! These are just a few ways to measure progress. Methods that tell you so much more than a scale ever would!

If we constantly get caught up with measuring success/progress with one method, we’ll ultimately crash, backslide or give up — and giving up is never an option!

Make the necessary changes to reach your goals based on the results of each assessment and continue to move forward — only using the past to fuel your next step. Remember that this lifestyle is not black and white, we are not a cookie-cut version of something else and that your lifestyle is just that — yours! Be unapologetic about how you live it and remember to be honest with your efforts.

Dre Jackson is a retired athlete who is now a personal trainer, aerobic and yoga instructor and fitness “addict” with more than 20 years’ experience. She specialises in nutrition, weight and sprint training, operating out of HindsSight Fitness and Wellness at the Berkeley Cultural Centre. Contact her on: or 599-0412. Find her on Facebook and Instagram under @Absbydre

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Published Aug 22, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 22, 2018 at 8:26 am)

Don’t just step on a scale

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