October 16, 2020 3 min read

When looking to build muscle, burn fat, and change overall body composition…tracking your changes and progress are extremely important. Unfortunately, if not done properly, it can lead many of us down a bad and unhealthy path.

“I didn’t lose any weight this week.”

“The scale didn’t budge and I have been working so hard.”

“It’s been over a month and I have only lost 5 pounds.”

“Why did my husband lose weight so much faster than me.”

“My scale never changes, I am just going to give up.”

These are all common phrases we hear constantly when helping people track their progress.

We all tend to get caught up in that number on the scale more than we should be. The scale absolutely holds a place ... and it can absolutely be used as a tool to track progress, but it is by no means the only tool.

The scale only measures one thing: a number.

And that number can vary based on multiple variables ...

-Water retention
-Fluctuations in hormones

Among other factors.

You have to realize … it is just a number.

Nothing more, nothing less.

That number does not mean we are not seeing success. In fact, that scale number can be very deceiving.

This why we recommend tracking progress in multiple ways:

Taking Progress Pictures – This is, far and away, one of the best possibles ways to track progress. Maybe your scale doesn’t budge … but you see a difference in your pictures from a day to day and week to week basis.

This is the BIGGEST indicator of progress there is! This flat out means you are changing, you cannot “fake” a picture. Take pictures each week and compare to previous weeks! This can be a GAME CHANGER when it comes to progress tracking.

How You Feel – This is quite possibly the most important factor to measure ... and it's also the most overlooked. Say you haven’t lost much weight … but you are feeling better.

More energy, better sleep, better mood, improved skin complexion, more productive work days, even things like walking to your mailbox or up your stairs without having to catch a breath! All of these factors are PROGRESS!

Many of these will be noticed well before you see the scale change, or even a difference in progress pictures! Do not neglect how you feel on a day to day basis!

Inbody Scanners – The inbody is an amazing way to see numbers that are much more than just your weight on a scale. These machines can measure your muscle mass, your fat mass, your body fat percentage, your water weight and even how many calories you burn throughout the day!

This can be extremely beneficial because if you are losing fat but also building muscle…that number on the scale may not change! BUT… that is a great indicator that you are changing your actual body composition!

We know how troubling the scale can be. So just make sure you aren’t placing anything and everything on that specific number. It is just that…a number.

It will never tell the whole story. There so much more that goes into “making progress.”

Do not let the number on the scale control you.

We know that is easier said than done, but keep these other ways to track progress in mind. They are far more important than just that pesky number.

If you need a hand with tracking your progress, reach out to one of our Certified Sports Nutrition Specialists and they will put you on the right path.

*This post was written by Andrew Lynn, who has a Bachelor's in Science Nutrition and Dietetics. He is also a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist.