Forget the Scale: a More Empowering Way to Track Your Fitness Progress

Have you ever stepped on a scale and felt traumatized upon seeing the result? It’s Woman Working Outamazing how much emotional weight we attach to our physical weight. While this number can be a useful progress tracking measure, some people get so obsessed that it is better to discard the scale for a more empowering option. Click ahead to learn how focusing on strength can make exercise a more encouraging experience.

Why Obsessing with Your Weight Is Counterproductive

Don’t reduce yourself to a number. The number of pounds you weigh has nothing to say
about your value as a person and may not even be that relevant to your health. If you convince yourself that you are a “bad person” just because you’re overweight or obese, then you might find yourself wondering, “Why bother? It’s too late for me.”  Research has also shown that people with high activity levels have better outcomes even if they are overweight. So, as long as you have cleared it with your doctor, you should seek to be active even if you are tempted to give up due to your weight.

Why Weighing Yourself Every Day Is a Waste of Time

Fat doesn’t leave your body overnight and your weight naturally fluctuates for reasons that are beyond your control. Thus, weighing yourself every day is an exercise in futility that will merely set you up for disappointment. If you do choose to use a scale, it is best to limit its use by scheduling a weekly weigh-in that takes place on the same day and time every week.

Why You Should Focus on the Process (Not the Outcome)

I don’t care if you want to lose twenty pounds, fifty pounds, or a hundred pounds. No matter how much work might be ahead of you, it is more productive to focus on the process than the outcome. If you’re always caught up in the total amount of weight you want to lose, then you might feel like a failure for “only” losing a pound this week. Shift your focus to the present moment and celebrate every victory (even the small ones!).

Why You Should Write Down the Results of Every Workout

If using a scale tends to result in self-loathing, then you should probably stop weighing yourself right now. Fortunately, there is a more empowering way to track your fitness progress. First, I need to identify a fancy technical term that you should become familiar with: progressive overload. Progressive overload is achieved by gradually increasing training intensity over time. You could achieve progressive overload in a variety of ways, including:

  • Performing an exercise with more resistance (weight) than your previous workout
  • Performing an exercise with the same resistance, but adding an extra repetition or two
  • Performing an exercise with the same resistance for the same amount of repetitions, but reducing the length off your rest periods

Example: if you perform 10 squats with a 45 lb Olympic barbell, you could add 5 lbs to each side of that barbell in your next workout and try it again with 55 lbs. If that is too difficult, you could stick with 45 lbs, but try to do 11-12 squats next time. If that is too difficult, you could stick with the same amount of weight and repetitions, but shave 30 seconds off your rest period. There is no “best” way to achieve progressive overload. The important thing is to increase training intensity over time.

Why Progressive Overload Makes Exercise a More Empowering Experience

The beauty of progressive overload is that it helps you see a clear picture of your fitness progress in real time. As long as your diet is on point and you allow your body to recover between workouts, you should be able to improve in some aspect during almost every training session. Instead of getting upset by what the scale says, you will get excited by how strong you are becoming. Instead of being discouraged by how much work is ahead of you, you will be encouraged by the progress you are making every day.

Final Thoughts and Practical Considerations

Understand that you need to follow a consistent strength training routine for this approach to be effective. To ensure you’re going in the right direction, you’ll also need to track key workout statistics like how much weight was used and the number of repetitions performed in the Alliance software.  When it becomes impossible to improve in any of these aspects, then you might want to swap out your existing routine for a new one that trains your body in a different way. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Please share this article if you found it helpful!

About the Author

Daniel Wallen is the CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of the Wallen Way. He is a personal trainer, Lifehack contributor, and author of, “The Busy Woman’s Guide to Getting Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous

8 thoughts on “Forget the Scale: a More Empowering Way to Track Your Fitness Progress”

  1. Another excellent article by Daniel! Tracking real progress on your abilities (walking distance or speed, time spent exercising, weight you can lift) is not only more fun and rewarding, it is a much better index of your progress!

  2. sounds like consistent strength training is a good way to improve your body contouring. So even if the scale shows some weight gain, you can feel good knowing your are stronger.

  3. I have a problem with the scale.. I’m one who weighs daily & it does determine my mood for the day! I think i’ll try the once a week thing. My trainer switches exercises up, adds reps/ or lbs for me. I really enjoy going to the gym & him having my workout planned ahead for me.

  4. I find scale readings to be wildly variable. I try to rely on just one scale for comparison

  5. Getting the weight down and building muscle are often at odds with one another. Still, in the long run, they will come together

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