Ditch the Scale

How often do you weigh yourself?

 

Americans have this obsessive nature with weighing themselves. I know you’ve felt the nervousness of stepping on the scale, anticipating some hoped for series of numbers before. We all have at some point. What I’m about to tell you is that the numbers of the scale aren’t as important as you might think.

 

The scale provides you with a single measure, your total body weight. It doesn’t tell you how fat you are, or how skinny you are, or how in shape you are. It doesn’t tell you how much you bench press, or squat, or how quickly you can run a mile. Yet we tend to base all of these things off a few stupid numbers on a scale. Our happiness or defeat is determined by the numbers that come up. Pretty stupid right?

 

Accurate measurements of our body composition (lean body mass and body fat) require more advanced equipment. This can be roughly estimated using things like body fat calipers, but higher grade measuring devices like the In-Body and BodPod machines are needed for the greatest accuracy. These can be expensive to use, so I’m going to give you an easier method for measuring your progress.

 

Go to the bathroom, take your shirt off, and stand in front of the mirror. I hope you brought your phone with you, because you’ll have to take a few pictures of yourself. Take a pic from the front, the side, and the back. Save those on your phone and repeat the same process every week. If you’re consistent in your workouts and nutrition, you’ll start to notice a difference in your bathroom pics as the weeks go on.

 

The mirror doesn’t lie (unless you have one of those trick ones). The #1 recommendation I make to my clients is to take weekly pics of themselves in the mirror. Do it each week for 8 weeks straight, then compare week 1 to week 8. This will give you a much more accurate indicator of your progress than that stupid scale would.


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Jon Griffith specializes in optimizing performance for firefighters & police. Jon is a personal trainer, firefighter, and former U.S. Army infantryman. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and 3 cats.

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