I get cold sweats just thinking about stepping onto a scale. It is the one piece of equipment that can totally demoralise and demotivate even the most avid fitness conscious person. Why the sudden and definitive statement you may ask…well…I’ll let you in on the cause for my absolute hatred for that horrid little piece of useless wast of space.
The scale and I have had a long drawn out Love/Hate relationship…well we’re breaking up for good this time. I have never been an overweight person but I have never been the type of person who could eat just about anything and not start to pick up weight…so in short I have always been careful and made sure that I never went past a certain weight. Everyone who knows me will tell you that I’m an avid gym bunny…and they wouldn’t be far off, however it has taken me years to learn or rather figure out what really works for me in the gym and I have had lapses of laziness where I have fallen off the workout bus. So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not perfect at the whole gym game.
Recently I decided that I’m tired of being medioca…I’m turning 30 this year and I want the body of my dreams before my metabolism slows down to an absolute screeching holt and I find myself disappointed that I never got to experience what it feels like to have a lean, perfectly trimmed & sexy fisique. So I have set goals for myself and I have been on a healthy balanced eating plan. plus I have been working out daily for the past 2 months. I used the health zone scale at the Virgin Active at the beginning of my training so that I would have a record of where I started. Well to my absolute disgust I found that my weight has gone up instead of down! The first thoughts that raced through my mind were…”great, all that hard work and for what?” …”I felt like I was looking better and felt better in my clothes…maybe I was fooling myself”. A wave of disappointment and despair rushed over me and all I wanted to do at this point was go home to sit on the couch, eat the biggest chocolate I could get my hands on and cry.
During my drive home I started to come to my senses though. The scale is never an accurate reading and probably not the best tool to use to measure your progress and I say this for the following reasons.
firstly, muscle is heavier than fat…so if your working out your going to burn away the fat and build muscle instead or if you are very new to working out this is probably what is happening…
“when you first start resistance training one of the first thing that happens is that insulin sensitivity increases in the muscle cell. this occurs when the number of glut-4 transporters increase on the exterior of the muscle cell which increases nutrient uptake, namely in the form of glucose which is converted to glycogen. when the body stores excess glucose water is also stored at the ratio of about 1:3-1:4. so for every molecule of glycogen the body stores 3-4 molecules of water. this typically makes the muscles look more full and most mistake this initial weight gain for muscle but it is not. it can take those new to resistance training many, many months before there is an actual increase in muscle mass, if they are lifting heavy enough with the right diet. this is one of the reasons why tracking the body fat % is more important than the bodyweight. when you track the body fat % you know exactly where gains and losses on the scale are occurring, instead of guessing which unfortunately most people do…Source(s):BS Exercise Science IFPA Certified Master Trainer”
Regardless of this, my second point will affect your scale reading no matter what weight you are…if you weigh yourself on an empty stomach, in the morning and then at a later date you forget and you jump on there after a meal, at night…the result will not be accurate. It may sound silly…I don’t know about the rest of you…but for me every gram counts! Another mistake…which is the one I made last night is to climb on the scale after a workout, in the evening after eating all day. Why?….simple….during a workout you consume a lot of water and your muscles are heavier after they have been pummelled with a vigorous workout, plus you consume liquids and food all day and all of this effect the reading on the scale. So like the piece above…it’s probably best to track your body fat% instead of your weight.
I like the measuring tape for more accurate results as well. Measure yourself before you start your fitness mission so you have a foundation to base your results on. Thankfully I did this when I started and even after my horrible scale ordeal…after measuring myself I found that I had not been fooling myself and that the results are definitely there.
So in closing…the scale is not your friend! If you must use it, do so first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. And remember…it’s not an exact science…so don’t let it demotivate you…sometimes the most accurate judge of weight loss is you…when your losing or firming up you will be the first to notice…everytime. 😉