“I’m working so hard, but the scale just won’t budge! What gives?”
The scale can be your best friend or worst enemy. That’s why I recommend you use the mirror as your scale. The mirror doesn’t lie. In fact, it can be a great motivator to get you focused and fitter. When you look in the mirror, take note of your body’s curves, definitions and overall shape. Check back daily, weekly or just once a month – however often you would step on a scale. Use each face-to-face check-in as a measurement of your progress. Do you see more definition in your biceps? Is your waistline curving in just a little bit more?
At first glance, it may be intimidating to evaluate yourself this way. But, remember: Your body is more than a number on a scale. By tracking progress in the mirror, you’ll be more in tune with how your body responds to all your hard work. Take this chance to appreciate what your body can do. With a little time and three important lessons in mind, you’ll see exactly what I see – a better you!
1. You don’t lose weight overnight. A healthy one to three pounds of weight loss per week should be your goal. Some weeks it may be more and others less. Keep a food and fitness journal, hire a personal trainer or do whatever works best for your body goals. You’re creating a healthy lifestyle to maintain, so be realistic.
2. Muscle is denser than fat. One pound of muscle and one pound of fat weigh the exact same, of course, but they certainly don’t look the same. Because muscle is denser, that one pound will take up a smaller area on your body than one pound of fat. Put another way, you can lose body fat and still weigh the same, because you’ve put on the same amount of weight in muscle. Your body will look leaner, but the scale is stuck in place.
3. There’s more than one path to success. Using other forms of measurement will ultimately give you the clearest picture of how your exercise and nutrition programs are working – or not working. When the scale hasn’t moved for months, it’s time to calculate your body fat percentage. Females 18 years and older are considered in the healthy range at 20 to 30-percent body fat. Males 18 and older should aim for 10 to 20-percent body fat. If you don’t have a body fat testing device, a personal trainer or healthcare professional should be able to help.
Get fitness and sports nutrition tips from personal trainer Deniz Duygulu, an International Federation of BodyBuilders Men’s Physique pro athlete. Like Deniz on Facebook to watch videos demonstrating correct form and for advice on fueling effectively.