Calkins - NSCA-CPT, ACE | Cincinnati, Ohio
You Step on it, You Won't Be Happy...
As you begin (or continue with) an
exercise and healthy eating program in
an effort to lose weight, don't step on the scale for at least a
month. In contrast to what we've been conditioned to believe, the scale
is a lousy way to measure changes with the body.
And regardless how many times I encourage people
to "stay off the scale", they always jump on to see how much progress
they've made in the past day, week or month. What's worse, if we aren't
happy with what the number reads, we become deflated, and many times
give up. Don't do it. Don't weight yourself; the scale will not give you
an accurate measurement of the improvement you're making.
Your scale can only tell you how much you weigh
in total, but it just simply cannot tell you if you've lost body fat.
And on the journey of developing a lean, toned, energized, highly
functional and healthy body, you're going to add some necessary things
to your body that the scale will record as "gains" in weight.
The following will add to the reading your scale
gives you and are ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY if you want a body that looks and
feels great and functions at optimal capacity:
- Connective tissue
- specifically, tendons and ligaments. Connective tissue adapts
through resistance training to allow you to function at higher levels,
and it will not adversely affect your body's appearance in any way.
- Muscle tissue
- As you add lean muscle tissue to your body, you'll burn more
calories and stored body fat during exercise as well as throughout the
day doing normal activity. And the additional muscle tissue allows
your body to look and feel firm and toned.
- Glycogen -
when you consume whole grain carbohydrates you're body will store
glycogen (the reserve fuel that gets converted into glucose, the
body's primary source of energy). And with each gram of additional
glycogen, your body stores several grams of water along with it. This
is a very beneficial process, but it will add to what your scale
- Blood Volume
- as we become increasingly fit, we add blood volume. This
actually adds a significant amount of total body weight, but again,
does NOT adversely affect the way your body looks.
In addition to these positive gains in weight,
your scale can vary as much as 3-6% on any given day based on digestive
contents and your hydration level.
Instead of using a bathroom scale, here's how you can determine real progress:
- Answer the following
questions: Do I have more energy? Are my clothes fitting more loosely?
Have others commented that I'm "looking good"? Am I starting to like
what I see in the mirror?
- Measure your body composition
- discover how much of you is made up of body fat versus lean body
mass. All the methods of measuring body composition are subject to
some error, but if you stick to the same method and tester, you'll
find that change over time is reliable. In ABC, we'll test you
again at the end of your 4-week session.
- If you're up for it, take a
picture of yourself before you start your fitness and fat loss
program. You don't even have to look at the photo (yet). Save it for
later. After a few months of exercise, take a look at the difference
between the old and new you.
It's ironic that the increases in connective
tissue, lean muscle tissue, glycogen and blood volume - the things that
are crucial to improving how your body looks, feels and functions - can
be the same things that initially make you think you're making no
I know it's tempting, but PLEASE stay
off the bathroom scale. At least for now.
Your friend in