How to Track Your Fitness Progress Without a Scale
If you think the only way to track your fitness progress is with a scale, think again! In our opinion, using a scale isn’t necessary. In fact, it can even be demotivating at times! Consider the fact that even though a pound of fat and a pound of muscle weigh the same, you’ll look leaner if you have more muscle than fat. That’s because fat actually takes up four times as much space as muscle does!
And if you’re burning fat while building muscle, the number on the scale may not move as much as you want to. Or at all, because of your hard-earned muscle gains. And the scale doesn’t know that!
We’ve compiled six (better) ways to track your fitness progress. We call these non-scale victories (NSVs). So, it’s time to put the scale away and focus on one or all of these other methods of tracking your success:
1. Take Progress Photos
Why it works: Progress photos are an essential part of any fitness journey. They’re a visual way to track your progress over time that help identify any physical changes. And, assuming that you’re being consistent with your progress photos, they’re an objective way to track change.
Progress photos take the focus off the number on the scale and put the emphasis on physical changes you can see. Your weight may go up but that doesn’t matter if your clothes fit better and you’re feeling amazing! And don’t forget that you can easily store your progress photos in the Fit Body App.
2. Use a Tape Measure
Why it works: There’s seriously so much that can affect your weight — like water retention (hi, that time of the month!) — which doesn’t accurately reflect your fat loss. If you use a tape measure, it’s a more accurate way of determining if you’re losing fat.
Where Should I Be Measuring?
• Lower Belly
Remember that one pound of lean muscle takes up far less space in your body than one pound of fat does. The scale won’t capture this information whereas using a measuring tape will!
3. See How Your Clothes Fit
Why it works: Perhaps you have a favorite pair of jeans, a top, or another item of clothing that has felt a bitttt tight recently. Try it on every few weeks or so, and see how it feels. Does it feel looser? Does it fit better? If so, this is a key NSV!
4. Track Your Workout Progress
Why it works: Not all progress is physical. Grab a journal, or open up the digital journal in the Fit Body app, and track the amount of weight you used and how many reps you did during your workouts. Keep an eye on specific exercises, such as push-ups, that you used to dread and have become easier over time as well.
This is another way to take the focus off of physical changes and back onto your fitness and endurance levels. Revel in the strength you’ve gained during your journey and be sure to celebrate it! At the end of the day, progress comes from achieving performance related goals!
5. Check-in With How You Feel
Why it works: The focus of your fitness journey should ultimately be on how you feel and your health.
Do you feel more energized throughout your day? Are you less stressed out? There are so many important mental markers you can take note of to indicate progress in your fitness journey.
6. Use a DEXA Body Composition Scan
Why it works: A DEXA/DXA (Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry) scan offers a highly accurate analysis of your body composition, bone density and fat content. Imagine being able to know the exact amount of lean tissue and fat within each part of your body!
Fun fact: this is Anna’s preferred way to measure her body fat percentage.
A DEXA scan only takes about 10 to 20 minutes and it’s similar to the experience of having an X-ray. The procedure is very safe and uses a lower level of radiation compared to standard X-rays. They’re relatively inexpensive but you can also ask your doctor or chat with your insurance provider about where to get one at a lower cost.
See, girls, you have so many options when it comes to tracking your fitness progress without a scale! Embrace all your NSVs and go crush your next workout!