Most people think that losing weight is a good thing. When you think of fat loss, you think of numbers on the scale going down. Yet fitness is not all about how much you weigh, but more how you feel. When I started my fitness journey, I weighed a lot less than I did after training for a while. In fact, I put on over 10kg when I started strength training! This only proves that weighing less isn't always the best option – I was unhealthy before I started eating well and exercising regularly, and now I feel better than ever.
I really want to drill into you head that you shouldn't measure progress solely on your weight. You can become obsessive over checking the number on the scales and making comparisons. There are other ways to measure your fitness success that will help to keep you motivated and happy about your journey.
1. Always measure your results
You don't need to weigh yourself constantly, but it is still very important to track your progress when you start working towards any sort of fitness goal. When you set yourself a goal, you won't know if you have achieved it without measuring your results. Seeing any progress will motivate you to keep working hard. On the other hand, if you're not making headway you can reassess and look for ways to improve.
2. Don't rely on tracking your weight
As I experienced personally, when you start lifting weights and building up muscle, your weight can increase. This is because muscle is much more dense than fat. When you start working out, your body will burn fat storages to use as energy – this is where you will most likely see a decrease in weight as you lose body fat.
You may jump on the scales and get excited that you have lost weight! But as you continue to build muscle, next time you weigh in you may find that your weight has stayed the same or even increased. This can make you feel disappointed, but don't give up. Please remember, the things you have achieved – less fat storage, more defined muscles, increased strength – won't show up on those scales.
3. Take measurements
Sometimes it's impossible to make out any difference in the mirror from week to week. This may get you down, as you feel as though you have worked hard and should see a change in your body. By taking measurements, you can track progress more accurately than you would with the naked eye. Keep it simple by measuring a few key areas: your chest, waist, hips, upper thighs and biceps.
Remember, it's not always a case of lower measurements being best. My measurements increased when I started lifting weights! So make sure you think about the goal you have set yourself, how you hope to transform your body and fitness, and how much better you are feeling.
4. Take photos too!
We all love to take a sneaky selfie now and then, so why not use this as a way of tracking your progress? In fact, this is one of the best ways to see your results over time. Think about how you don't see changes in a friend you see every week, but notice big changes when you haven't seen a friend in months. It's the same with your own body. Before you start working on your fitness goal, take a 'before' photo of yourself. Yes, this can be confronting and you may not like what you see, but it will hold you accountable for what you achieve as you move forward.
Use this image as motivation – if you don’t like what you see, know you can and will change it! Then take progress shots as you work towards your goal. Take a new photo every fortnight to track how you are going, and to see how your body is changing.
5. Celebrate the small things
As you are tracking your physical changes, it is so important to tune into how you are feeling about your journey. Really think about how you feel after nourishing your body with amazing, healthy food and tick off a week of consistent workouts. Do you have more energy? Are you more focused? Be proud of yourself for how far you've come already and the hard work you're putting in.
If you complete a workout, or you increase your reps when you feel stronger, celebrate and reward yourself for this accomplishment. It isn't your overall end goal, but it is another small step closer, and we know it is the small things that make up the bigger picture! You are on your way to success and a better you.
Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.
Get results you can see and confidence you can feel with internationally renowned trainer Emily Skye.