There are a number of ways to track progress - the scales is one way to do so, but people often get held up on that number they see between their toes, so while it is one tool we use, don’t let it be your only measure of success.
Photos are one of the best indicators of progress. People are more likely to stop you and tell you that you look great as opposed to saying you look like you’ve lost body fat or gained kilos of muscle. So why do we get hung up on these numbers and figures when nobody else cares?
When it comes to taking progress photos you’re best to take them when you wake up, before you eat, drink or train. It is a good idea to do them weekly in the same position and lighting wearing the same thing. This consistency will make it easier to see changes. We recommend taking one photo from the front, one from the back and one from the side. You can take them yourself in the mirror (The back one is a challenge, but can be done) or else get someone to take them for you. Just try to keep all conditions constant each time.
There are a number of ways to track body fat. At Titan Fitness we use the Evolt body scan machine. If you’re based somewhere else I’m sure your gym will have a similar machine or alternatively a personal trainer may be able to check your body fat using a callipers. Just make sure that the same method is used at the end to compare.
You can easily pick up a measuring tape and do them yourself or ask someone to do them for you. We recommend you take chest, waist, hips, thigh and arm measurements. For consistency, if you take them yourself initially do so again at the end, or if someone does them for you get someone to do them for you again at the end. This is to try to keep conditions as constant as possible allowing for most accuracy.
How your clothes fit
If the number on the scales isn’t moving but your clothes are fitting you better and looking great on you then just accept that this is progress! And the only way things can fit and look better is due to your body composition changing. So enjoy that feeling of looking great and keep going!
While the scales can be disheartening for some, it is still a good measure. If you don’t allow that number to affect your mood and the rest of your day isn’t determined by the number you see when you step on, then it is a useful tool to track along the way. If you are using the scales, like progress photos, step on first thing in the morning before you’ve eaten anything, had anything to drink or trained. Also, use the same scales throughout, as different scales can have some variance.
Progress in the gym
Not all progress is aesthetic. Has your fitness level improved? Are you stronger? Take note of the weights you’re lifting each week, if you do any running/cycling/swimming track your distances and times and look back over these records as the challenge progresses. Push yourself a bit harder every session!
Energy levels and how you feel
If you didn’t have the cleanest of diets before this challenge you’ll most likely feel yourself with all this extra energy which is great! Eating well will make you feel great and moving more will have the same effect. On top of feeling better and having more energy, your sleep should have improved too. Its a win win situation!