Unfortunately, some still use BMI/weight as an indication about one’s health. BMI and some other tools are very outdated and do not take into account muscle mass vs. body fat, bone density or overall health. While most people focus on the number on a scale when they start working out, there are 4 other things that I want you to consider and focus on when you start exercise. Not only are these 4 things a better indicator of the changes your body is going through, but when you focus on things that can't fluctuate as much as the number on the scale it's so much easier to stay motivated and keep going on your fitness journey.
How are your clothes fitting? Do they feel a little loose? Do they feel tight? If your goal is to lose weight pay attention to how your clothes fit! A great thing that happens when you exercise, you start to build strength! Some of that fat you are losing is replaced with muscle which your scale can't differentiate. The number on the scale may not be budging but you can still be going down in clothing size!
If you are looking to build muscle then you might be looking at hoping your clothes fit tighter. I mean think about what happens when you get those booty gains, your pants are going to be more filled out and tighter 😉
These pictures are all within a 2 month span of me getting back into a good routine. In each of these pictures I am 165lbs. The first picture I felt bloated and just felt inflamed most of the time. You can see the progression of muscle and toning happening (at least I can lol)! The middle picture is the first time I was able to get on size 8 jeans comfortably. I have been able to see the difference in my face, my arms, legs, literally all over! But if I was only focused on that number on the scale I would have given up because it has not budged.
Increase in strength or endurance
Did you do 3 more reps than you did when started? Did you add weight to your exercises? You are getting stronger! These are great indicators that amazing changes are taking place in your body. Did you just do a warm up on the elliptical and you didn’t feel out of breath when you were done? YAY!!!! This means you are building your endurance which means you are strengthening your heart and lungs.
There are so many ways to record the strength you have in your workouts, but with a good workout program and keeping track you can watch your strength grow. You can also do fun different things to test your strength. Fun fact I love to do handstands to see how much easier they are getting as my strength grows.
Feeling less tired throughout the day is also a great indicator that your muscles and
cardiovascular system are working better and more efficiently. Exercise helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your body and lets the cardiovascular system work more efficiently! If you find yourself not needing 3 coffees during the day to get through the day anymore that’s a pretty good sign that you are gaining more energy. You might also be sleeping better at night too!
Pain free movement
As you work on building strength and exercising your body, you will typically find that you
might feel less pain day to day. Think about your form! Is it better than when you started? Do you have better posture? These are signs that exercising is making a difference in your body and structure! Form is a great milestone to keep track of because the better your form gets the more your body will make the desired changes you seek.
Even now when I feel like I didn't have a great workout I remember that only 8 months ago I was barely able to walk or do any exercise. So any exercise I can do that doesn't cause pain is a victory!
I often encourage clients to not pay super close attention to the scale because that number is super complicated while these 4 things are pretty simple to pay attention to and can tell you a lot! You are way more likely to stick to exercise long term if you focus on non scale victories.
“Focus on what you gain from exercise, not what you lose” – Fitness is Medicine