Whether your goal is to lose weight or to gain muscle, you definitely need to keep track of your progress. You might think that you can rely on your intuition and you will “feel it” when you reach your goal, but this is not the best method! Because you have to live with yourself each and every second you are so familiar with your body that you will barely notice any difference.
Even though you will lose (or gain) a few pounds you will mostly feel exactly the same. If you ever lost weight you know what we are talking about and you also know the feeling of meeting with someone you haven’t seen in a long time and they say “Wow, you lost a lot of weight!” when you actually didn’t feel any differently. You don’t always need to rely on the opinions of other people because here are 3 great ways to keep track of your progress yourself:
1. Weigh Yourself (including Body Fat)
Whether you want to lose weight or gain muscle this is definitely the first step you need to take, but it’s not the only one! Weight can be a good measure for progress but it’s NOT the most accurate one. Let’s say that you want to lose weight and look great naked. You might not lose any pounds, and you might even gain some. Guess what? It is possible that you look much better! In this case you lost a good amount of fat and gained some muscle instead. So in this case the weight itself is not a good measurement and you need to also measure the percentages of body fat and lean muscle mass. You can do this with a digital scale that uses the Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis, with some fat calipers or by using an online calculator (this is the least accurate method).
So find your percentage of body fat (and muscle if possible) and keep track of them over time. If you see your fat going down and your muscle going up, you are definitely on the right track. The best time to weigh yourself is once every 4 weeks. You can also weigh yourself every week, but in this case you won’t see big changes. You definitely DON’T need to weigh yourself every day like some people do. Compare the results of each month and as time goes by you will also be able to compare overall results (your progress in the last 6 months, in the last year and so on).
2. Measure Yourself
Besides weight and body fat, you also need to take accurate measurements of different body parts. If your goal is to lose weight then you definitely need to measure your waist and ladies might want to measure their hips as well. On the other hand, if you are looking to gain muscle you need to measure the circumference of your arms, your chest and back, your quads, and your calves. This way you can see exactly which muscle groups are growing faster and which ones still need improvement.
3. Take Photos
Last but not least, you need to take some photos. You might not feel in the mood to take photos of your body right now, but keep in mind that one day you will compare your dream body with your “before” photos and you will be very proud of yourself. As long as you keep these photos private, there is nothing to worry about. Who knows, maybe one day you will be featured on websites or magazines as one of those truly inspirational body transformations. Just as with weighing yourself, you don’t need to take these photos very often. Once every month should be fine to see some changes and when comparing photos taken in different months or years, you will definitely see improvements.
So feel free to use any of these methods but for more accurate results we definitely recommend using all 3 of them. Are there any other aspects we missed? Let us know in the comments area below.
7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals: 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Habits and GoalsFeatured photo credit: a group of four young men are jogging along the waters edge at the beach for exercise. via Shutterstock