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The measuring tape or scales?

Measuring tape or scales? Which one would you opt for to guage your progress on your fitness journey? I used to think that the only way to measure any improvement in your body shape was to step onto the scales but now my head has been turned!!

Since starting my PT business I have come to the conclusion that the scales are sometimes a foe not a friend. You see, when people exercise they lose fat but gain muscle especially when doing the sessions I write. I don’t agree with someone just completing cardio after cardio session as you need to strengthen your muscles too. This is one of the reasons why I think so many runners get injured, yes its a high-impact exercise and great for bone strengthening but your not incorporating it with any strength training, if you did add, let's say some squats to your program these would strengthen your core, quads, hamstrings and help stabilise the muscles around your knees thus making them stronger and you will be able to run for longer injury free!

So in all of my programs / sessions I write there are either some bodyweight or weight exercises within the routine - unless the client is injured etc. At the free 30 minute initial consultation I offer all my new clients, I weigh and measure them. I explain that doing it this way means they will then have 2 ways of checking their progress. The only time I didn’t do this it was quite a negative experience for both myself and more importantly my client. You could tell her body shape had changed, she had a waist, her bum and bust had lifted, her arms and legs had much more definition. So the day of the review came and she stepped onto the scales and low and behold she had lost a couple of lbs, but it was much less than she’d hope for. Luckily she was a sensible lady and could recognise that her body shape had changed and muscle was replacing the fat which weighed more.

After that I learned my lesson and I now weigh and measure my clients explaining that the fat will go but in place will be muscle that burns more calories and changes your body shape making you look more toned and defined, dropping dress sizes along the way. Of course your weight should lessen but I don’t see weight loss as the most important reason for starting your fitness journey, by all means have it as one of your goals but don’t forget the other reasons such as improving your quality of life in the present and future, feeling more confident and happier inside and out as fitness is a great way to boost your mental health if your suffering from depression or generally feeling down about yourself. These 2 reasons for me outweigh (excuse the pun) weight loss, and don’t forget about the healthy balanced food plan that also needs to be put in place, eat less calories than you are burning and you will get the calorie deficit you need it's not rocket science! I suggest the MyFitnessPal app for looking at how many calories your consuming during a day to start with and then give it a tweak here and there, it's surprising how many people say they are eating the right foods but since using the app they’ve realised their portion sizes are far too large!

Finally make that change, whether it’s weight loss that is your goal or improving your fitness make sure you have a couple of ways to measure how well your doing towards getting to that target. Please don’t lose sight of the fact that not only will exercise change your body shape and help you drop a dress size or two it will help improve your mental health and change your outlook on life in general helping you be more positive and hopefully boost your confidence which we all need a helping hand with sometimes. Remember if you train consistently, eat properly and do it for the right reasons you will succeed in achieving all your goals that you set out to hit!

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