Weighing scales are what most people use to measure whether they have had a good week (delicious salads) or a bad week (delicious but fattening pizzas). Yet using them every day may not be a reliable way of checking your progress. Weight can fluctuate (by about 2-4 pounds a day) due to a number of factors, mainly how much liquid you have drunk.
At the gym
I see tons of people step on the scales before and after a workout. Yet they are not consistent with how they weight themselves. They might step on the scales before a workout holding a full water bottle and a towel over their shoulder. Then when they weight themselves as they are leaving after training, they put the bottle and towel on the side. Of course, their weight is going to be different, but it doesn't mean anything. Even if they had weighed themselves correctly both times, the only thing their weight would have told them is how much water they have lost during the training session. You will not lose weight from training once. It is a cumulative effect of training consistently and having a good diet.
So, if you have lost weight after a workout it most likely means you need to replenish your body with water. You need to try and drink around 1 litre per kilogram lost.
How can I measure my progress?
In all honesty, there are a great number of other options which are much better than the scales. If the number on the scales aren't changing then this could demotivate you and make it hard for you to want to continue. So, we can use other methods to measure our progress in ways the scales cannot, to make sure we are making a difference.
You would be better off recording your measurements (such as waist, legs, arms etc.) and seeing how these change over time. If you lose fat and gain muscle then the scales may say you have not progressed. Yet if you have lost 2 inches from your waist then that is brilliant progress and you're obviously doing something right. This applies to what size clothes you wear too. If your dress size is going down even when the scales aren't this is an improvement.
Feel Good Factor
Most importantly we can measure our progress by how we feel and how we look. If the number on the scales haven't changed, yet we look fitter and feel healthier then that is perfect. The main reason people should exercise and eat well is so that we can feel better in ourselves and build our confidence in how we look. It is also to improve our lives and reduce the chance of us getting diseases, therefore leading a happier and healthier life.
How should I weigh myself?
Weighing scales are useful, but just know they are not the only way to see if you are improving. If you are going to weigh yourself here is the most accurate way to do it:
- Measure yourself once a week maximum
- Weigh yourself on the same day, at the same time, every week
- Make sure you are wearing the same amount of clothing every time (if any)
- Use the same scales
- Make it part of your routine (e.g. Monday, 6am, before showering)