5 Ways To Track Progress WITHOUT Using A Scale

Many people focus solely on the scale to measure their progress, while the scale is a great tool and will show if you are headed in the right direction over-time, there are many other ways to measure progress that are less harsh on you mentally.

If you are someone who gets obsessed or overly disappointed when weighing yourself, these five ways to measure progress may be a better option for you.

  1. Progress Pictures

This is a very underrated way to track results and can be a great tool to measuring your progress. If you are strength training while pursuing weight loss, your weight on the scale will fluctuate greatly because you will be gaining muscle, while losing body fat.

A progress picture can show how your body composition is changing, and gives you a visual of you heading in the right direction without relying on a scale.

2. Tracking Your Strength Increases in The Gym

Another underrated but useful tool of progress, is keeping track of your weights in the gym and whether or not you are increasing reps or weight as time goes on. If you are increasing your performance in the gym, there is almost always a chance that you’re headed in the right direction with lose in body fat and increases in muscle gain.

3. Tape Measurements

This method of tracking progress is great because you don’t have to update it weekly or daily, but more on a monthly basis. The scale is tempting to update weekly and even sometimes daily for most of us which can cause a negative impact on the way you look at yourself.

We suggest measuring the places you’d like to see decrease or increase the most in inches, and then updating them once per month to see if you are on the right track.

4. Body Fat Percentage

Although there aren’t many accurate and easy ways to measure body fat percentage, it is a great tool to give you a baseline of where you are and something you don’t have to track on a frequent basis.

If you don’t have access a DEXA scan near you, you can use an electronic body fat reader or pinchers. Remember if you choose not to use a DEXA scan, you will not get 100% accuracy, but a range that you could be in.

5. Clothing

This may seem simple and silly, but being able to fit into old clothes is a GREAT way to measure progress. If the scale hasn’t budged, but you can fit into your favorite pair of old jeans, thats a sign that you have changed your body composition in a positive way.

Remember, the scale should never be your main focus while on your fitness journey. It is just a number and does not determine your self-worth or progress being made. Stay consistent with working out and eating healthy, and your goals will happen! This has to be a long-term lifestyle, not just a short term fix.

Mobility: The Missing Piece to Making Progress in the Gym

Blood, sweat, and tears is what we’re told it takes to reach our fitness goals. When we think of the gym, we think go hard, or go home… theres no time for that warm-up stuff when you’ve already taken your scoop of pre-workout and are ready to jump right into heavy sets of squats or push-ups.

Its unfortunate that fitness has made a turn to “how hard can you beat yourself up”, rather than making it a long-term, health commitment. In todays society, we want things quick with minimal effort and it shows when it comes to most people trying to reach their fitness goals.

Importance of Warming Up Properly and Maintaining Mobility

No matter what style workout you decide to commit too, its very important to warm-up properly before going into an intense workout. Even something as simple as going for walk, you MUST go through a series of mobility drills and stretches in order to maintain proper positioning during exercise.

In todays world, we are ALL too sedentary and our jobs require repetitive movements throughout the day. This leads to muscular imbalances, tight musculature, and the in-ability to execute basic movements of the human body. Our knees cave inward, lower back rounds, and shoulders hunch forward due to the lifestyles we live. By simply completing daily mobility and stretching routines, you can not only improve these issues, but if you do them consistently you can even end up decreasing aches and pains you feel throughout the day.

Would You Race Your Car Without Warming it Up?

This is a great analogy to get the point across. You’ll never see someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to racing; start their car and immediately put the pedal to the floor. You have to let oil run through the engine and let the engine components warm up. If you don’t do this simple thing, you’re asking for engine failure.

This applies to your body as well, mobility and stretching before a workout will prepare your joints and muscle tissue to move better throughout your exercises.

Some simple benefits to completing a mobility routine before workout are:

  1. Increased range of motion
  2. Increased activation of muscles
  3. Improved movement patterns
  4. Improved blood flow to muscles and joints
  5. Reduced risk of injury/joint pain
  6. Reduced risk of over-use injuries
  7. Improved recovery time
  8. Faster increases in strength
  9. Faster increases in muscle gain
  10. Less time off taken from working out, due to injuries
  11. Reduced stress
  12. Reduced Anxiety

As you can see, the list goes on and on! Unfortunately we cannot tell you exactly what your warm-up should be, BECAUSE every one is different and every BODY is different. A proper warm-up for someone will vary depending on the individual and their personal muscular imbalances and weak points.

If you are curious as to what a proper warm up would be for you, feel free to contact us for a complimentary consultation and assessment on posture, flexibility, and movement.

Understanding Muscle Gain: How Much Can You Gain in A Year?

Setting realistic fitness goals for the year can be more challenging than you think, at the studio we often hear clients say they’d like to get to their goal weight and physique within a matter of a few months. Obviously there are tons of variables when it comes to how realistic a persons goals are for building muscle or hitting their goal weight – but there are a lot of things to think about when it comes to setting a REALISTIC goal for yourself.

How Much Muscle Can You Gain Each Year of Strength Training

We are commonly mis-informed when it comes to how much muscle you can actually build from eating and working out correctly. Unfortunately the fitness industry has been filled with fad diets and bogus workout programs that promise you massive amounts of results when the reality is that, they are just trying to make money and will say whatever sounds good so you buy their product. Lets take a look at some proven facts when it comes to how much muscle you can build per year.

Beginners: This is someone who has just began their strength training journey, has little lean muscle mass relative to their weight, and does not have good muscular control. You are considered a beginner for the first 1-2 years of strength training – within the first year MOST people can expect to see 5-15lbs of lean muscle gain.

 The second year will be slightly less than the first, but usually you will see significant increases in lean mass when you are in this phase due to the body making quick adaptations to your change in lifestyle/stress put on the body (AKA increasing muscle).

Intermediate: A client who is entering the intermediate stages of weight training will most likely be in this phase from 3-5 years weight lifting. This is the stage where you get more efficient when it comes to movements in the gym and are pushing significantly more weight in the gym than the average person. You also will have noticeably more muscle mass than the average person due to muscle maturity and density of the muscle tissues.

Someone in this stage can expect to see 2-5lbs increase in lean muscle mass per year, as you see it is significantly less than a beginner. This is due the body already being accustomed to the individuals routine of going to the gym, leading to less adaptions made.

Advanced: As you can already see, the more years spent consistently working out, the less and less muscle mass you will gain each year. Even though it sounds disappointing, you would be surprised how much just 1lb of muscle can actually change your whole body! Not only will you have more definition, if you are eating correctly you will most likely lose body fat as a reaction to the increased lean mass on your body.

People in this category usually have been weight training consistently without time off for 5+ years and have near perfect form, years of experience, and years of piling on layers of muscle mass. You can expect to see .5-2lbs lean muscle mass added per year once you have reached this level.

As always, remember these are estimates and can change depending on the individual. Experience, genetics, past eating habits, and current eating habits play a large role in how much muscle you can truly gain.

Hopefully this makes you think twice before hitting that buy button from your favorite fitness influencers new fad diet. Hire a trainer, understand the science of exercise and nutrition, and keep doing scientifically proven workouts/dieting methods for years – thats how you get results! Thanks for reading.