Stop Weighing Yourself. Five Better Ways to Measure Fitness
In our very first session, I’ll ask new clients to set a fitness goal to better understand what they’re expecting and what they hope to accomplish by us working together. But honestly, I already know the answer. Invariably the new client will reply that they want to lose weight and then proceed to tell me how much and by when.
Weight loss is a good motivator, but there are better ways to measure physical fitness
While its certainly not wrong to want to bring down your weight, the numbers of your bathroom scale can sometimes seemingly rise and fall on their accord! Kilos lost are so easily gained again over holidays, and especially on vacations; it can be very frustrating and ultimately sap an individual’s long term motivation to get healthy, when little do they know, they’re making progress in ways they just haven’t measured.
Generally, fitness is assessed in four key areas, including aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. To do a proper assessment, you’ll need a watch that can measure seconds or a stopwatch.
Five better ways than body weight to measure fitness
RESTING HEART RATE – Place a finger under your jaw a feel / count your resting heart rate in a time period. These are important numbers for sure, and if you’re starting a new fitness regimen, you could record this and use as benchmark.
BODY FAT SCALE – Mayfair has an amazingly accurate body fat scale that has helped numerous clients and trainers get a better idea of where they’re at – making it that much easier to reach their fitness goals! And it’s free to use – just ask me
What is body fat composition? Think about it this way: two people who are the same height can weigh the same number but one looks healthy and toned while the other looks plump. This is called body fat composition. Because muscle and fat tend to weigh the same, a lot of people (including myself) will rarely see changes in their weight, however see big changes in body fat. If you are lifting weights and eating relatively well, most likely your body fat composition has gone down and your muscle mass has gone up! That’s great!
STAIRWAY TEST – if you live or work in a building with stairs why don’t you try walking up them, as many as you can, and benchmark the point where you can’t go any farther. Try again next week or infrequently when the elevator is out of service – can you go higher? And higher? Once you find you can get to the top then it becomes a function of time – measure
FLEX TEST – Can you touch your toes? Once again, benchmark the number of inches between your fingers and toes – repeat
CLOTHES TO MIRROR TEST – this really is the ultimate test. The mirror is cruel but doesn’t lie. The waistband of your favourite jeans isn’t changing.
A fit person would be better off basing their progress on how well their clothes fit, pictures, and if they like what they see in the mirror. None of these things lie. Think about it this way: two people who are the same height can weigh the same number but one looks healthy and toned while the other looks plump.
Weight loss is an entry level motivation for a gym membership
Weight loss is a great way to get started on a path toward living a healthier life. Making positive changes in your diet and adopting a challenging exercise regimen can be rewarding in so many ways… recording the number on the bathroom scale is a fair course of action, but just one way to measure overall physical fitness. Don’t become fixated on the scale.