HOW TO HAVE A HEALTHY HOLIDAY SEASON

For many, the holiday season is a typical time to get carried away and forget about fitness. Fortunately, there are many ways to practice healthy habits and still enjoy yourself. Here are some ways to do it.

NEVER GO TO A PARTY HUNGRY

Going to a party in starvation mode is basically a recipe for disaster because it’s one of the many ways people go downhill with their fitness goals. Eat a healthy meal before attending a holiday party so that you only indulge a little, and reach for the vegetables first before chowing down on the unhealthy options.

BRING A HEALTHY DISH TO THE PARTY

Good news is that you can have control over what’s being served at a party if you bring a healthier dish to share. Not only does this align with your weight loss and fitness goals, but it’s a courteous gesture, which is a bonus.

DON’T WAIT FOR THE NEW YEAR TO EXERCISE

Not only does this mentality lead to overall laziness, but it goes hand and hand with an “all or nothing” mindset, which is typically not effective in terms of long-term fitness. Try staying as healthy as possible and up to par with your fitness goals by moving more during the holidays.

INVEST IN FITNESS

There’s nothing wrong with buying yourself an early holiday gift. If you don’t already have one, treat yourself to a gym membership, a personal trainer or invest in new workout gear. This sets you up for success for a healthy holiday season and prepares you for the new year.

EAT ON SMALLER PLATES

We tend to eat what we see in front of us, so naturally watch your portions with minimal effort by simply eating your food on smaller plates at parties and family dinners.

PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVE HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES

As tempting as it is to nestle under a blanket the entire holiday season, there are plenty of festive physical activities to do. Go ice skating, sledding, skiing or snowboarding. Even something as simple as walking around to see Christmas lights can do the trick, as long as you’re staying on your feet.  Exercising in the cold also boosts your immune system and helps convert some of the body’s fat cells from unhealthy “white” fat to heat-producing metabolically active “beige” fat, which ultimately burns more calories and aids in weight loss according to Tree Hugger.

COOK AND BAKE WITH HEALTHIER INGREDIENTS

Traditional holiday treats are some of the main culprits to over-indulgence and weight gain. Replace common baking and cooking ingredients like flour, sugar and butter with applesauce, canned pumpkin, whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, cinnamon, oats, black beans, honey and avocado. Check out more healthy ingredient swaps here.

DON’T RESTRICT YOURSELF

When we restrict ourselves to certain foods, especially during the holidays when there’s an abundance of special treats, we naturally want them more. Not only is it perfectly normal to let yourself indulge, but it’s actually important if you’re focused on weight loss or weight maintenance. The more realistic you are, the more mindful you’ll be, and you’ll naturally indulge less.

13 COMMON WEIGHT LOSS MISTAKES

Many of us have either tried to lose weight or have at least wanted to lose weight and it’s easy to be misinformed or to waste time by relying on the wrong solutions. Here are some of the most common weight loss mistakes.

1. RELYING ON THE SCALE

One of the most common weight loss mistakes majority of us are guilty of is relying on the scale to detect our progress. Although it can be a helpful tool, especially for those looking to lose an excess amount of weight, it can actually hinder weight loss. First off, this is because most of us don’t understand that there is a difference between weight loss and fat loss. We use the phrase, “weight loss” to describe wanting to lose fat. Second, the scale doesn’t know the difference between muscle and fat, so even though you might be exercising and eating clean, the number might not go down because while you’re losing fat, you may also be gaining muscle in the process. Be mindful of this the next time you look down at that pesky number, because it typically does more harm than good and isn’t always accurate like you think. Learn more about the scale here.

2. DOING TOO MUCH CARDIO AND NOT ENOUGH WEIGHTLIFTING

One common myth we are told is to run for weight loss. Too much cardio can actually do the opposite and cause weight gain because your body will eventually burn muscle instead of fat. According to Health Magazine, too much cardio can cause the body to store energy as fat and increase your appetite, making you more inclined to overeat.  A pound of muscle burns three times more calories than a pound of fat, so that’s why it’s advised to strength train if you’re looking to lose fat.

3. EATING TOO MANY HEALTHY FOODS

Yes, you can gain weight from healthy food. This is because eating too much of anything is not good. Fat loss takes place with a calorie deficit when you burn more calories than you consume, which is why it’s imperative to practice portion control if you’re trying to achieve weight loss.

4. EATING LESS BUT NOT HEALTHIER

Eating too little and too much both hinder weight loss, especially if your diet is small amounts of processed junk food. Not only is it not enough food to satisfy hunger cues, but junk food lacks nutrients, which leads to deprivation, overeating and ultimately, weight gain. In order to reach your weight loss goals, you need to eat more healthy foods like vegetables, lean meats and whole grains and indulge in moderation.

5. BEING IMPATIENT

Weight loss takes time, and this isn’t just because it feels like forever to see results, it’s actually scientific. It takes 12 weeks of consistency to see measurable changes in your body and often times, most people fail to lose weight because they aren’t patient. So, the next time you see something online or on television that promises to help you lose weight fast, it’s safe to say that you won’t keep the weight off. Keep in mind that even though it might take some time to lose weight, the good news is that it also takes time to pack on the pounds. One good meal won’t make you fit or thin just like how one bad meal won’t make you fat.

6. EATING “DIET” FOOD

We are convinced that something is better for us or will help us lose weight if the label says “diet” or “low-fat.”  Take something that is fat-free for instance.The product has been stripped of fat but replaced with added sugars to make it taste better. According to Healthline, low-fat or fat-free foods contain higher amounts of sugar, which increase hunger signals and cause you to actually consume more calories. Rather than focusing on labels, maintain a balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods like fresh vegetables, protein and whole grains. You’ll have a lot better luck at losing weight this way than relying on diet foods that contain hidden ingredients and added sugars.

7. RELYING ON OUTLETS OTHER THAN DIET AND EXERCISE

Like it or not, there is no “magic pill” for weight loss–at least not for long-term results. There are “fat burners” and crash diets out there that might help you shed a few pounds initially, but the cold truth is simple–you have to eat right and work out to lose weight, and to keep it off, stay away from dieting. It’s not a realistic weight loss approach because people typically don’t maintain it.

8. REWARDING YOUR WORKOUTS WITH FOOD

It’s perfectly fine to treat yourself sometimes, but it’s also easy to get carried away and set yourself back if you aren’t mindful. According to Reader’s Digest, a study found that people claimed to have burned more calories than they actually did during a workout and then consumed more food than usual as a reward for exercising. Having that mentality can sabotage your weight loss goals because you can’t out-train a poor diet, so instead, eat clean 80 percent of the time and reward yourself 20 percent.

9. CUTTING OUT TREATS

On the contrary, it’s also a common mistake and habit to feel like we have to deprive ourselves of our favorite guilty pleasures. Once this happens, we immediately crave them more because it’s not realistic or sustainable to quit something we love cold turkey. Just like with rewarding yourself, practice everything in moderation instead of restricting yourself to the extreme.

10. DRINKING YOUR CALORIES

This includes alcoholic beverages and “healthy” smoothies that many dieters drink as meal replacements. It’s easy to ignore liquid calories or not count them, but these calories definitely matter and can easily skyrocket your daily intake. “Healthy” smoothies or shakes often contain hidden ingredients and added sugars that spike your hunger cues, leaving you hungrier and reaching for more food, according to Reader’s Digest.

11. COPYING SOMEONE ELSE’S DIET AND EXERCISE PLAN

Although clean eating and consistent exercise is better than a poor diet and no exercise, what works for someone else might not work for you. Everyone has different lifestyles, body types and habits, and some even have medical conditions that hinder weight loss. If you’re unsure about what works for you, get with a personal trainer that will push you harder during workouts and help your form custom meal plans.

12. DINING OUT TOO OFTEN

Even if you order on the lighter menu or you order something that’s supposed to be “healthy,” there’s definitely a good chance it’s actually not good for you. Sure, some restaurant items are worse than others and it’s important to be mindful when you go out, but many dishes have hidden ingredients and are packed with excess sugar and fat. Limit dining out to once a week and cook healthy meals for the remaining days.

13. LETTING GO ON THE WEEKENDS

You eat clean and exercise Monday through Thursday but once the weekend rolls around you dive head first into greasy food, alcohol and skip the gym. This probably sounds familiar to you since it’s a very common weight loss mistake and is typically the main culprit for stubborn fat that sticks around. By over-indulging on the weekends, you’re taking two steps forward and one step back. Avoid this by limiting alcohol intake and being mindful when you dine out. Moderation is key to realistic and healthy weight loss.

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR GYM MEMBERSHIP

A gym membership is one of the best purchases you can make because investing in your health is one of the best things you can do for yourself, but you also might not always be aware of everything your club offers. Here’s how you can get the most out of your gym membership.

UNDERSTAND DIFFERENT MEMBERSHIPS

Different memberships
offer different things. That’s why it’s important to understand what your
membership entails. Basic packages typically offer access to general gym
equipment but exclude perks like free group classes. It’s important to keep in
mind that you may not be one for group classes and a basic workout might all
you need to reach your fitness goals.

This same concept
applies to clubs with multiple locations for example. Even though gyms will
charge more for access to multiple locations, you might need access to all
locations. Matching your needs with the type of membership you’re paying for
will help you get the most out of it, whether that means more perks or not.

ASK HOW TO USE EQUIPMENT

Let’s face it, most
gym equipment looks strange and difficult to use, and since you’re paying for
it, you better get your money’s worth and know how to use the machines. If you
don’t know, ask a staff member or a trainer. They are there to be your guide.

RESEARCH DIFFERENT EXERCISES

For one, it’s
important to mix up your workout regimen with various exercises, and for two,
this applies especially when your club is packed with other members and you have
to take turns using equipment. You aren’t getting the most out of your
membership if you just stand around while you wait. If your favorite machine is
taken, grab a mat, some free weights and sneak in some space to do something
else until the machine is free. You already made it to the gym, so there’s no
excuse to not fulfill a workout, even if it’s a quick one.

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET

This might not seem like it applies to your gym membership, but actually the two go hand and hand. Majority of the time a poor diet is exactly why members aren’t seeing the results they want. The bottom line with this is that you can’t out train a bad diet. Many members exercise constantly and don’t eat right, then don’t see results, which often leads to discouragement and membership cancellations. Do yourself and your membership justice by eating right and letting all of those sweat sessions pay off.

PARTICIPATE IN GROUP CLASSES

Some memberships include
group classes as part of the package, and if this is the case for you, take
advantage of as many classes as you can because sometimes nothing is more
motivating than surrounding yourself in a room full of people breaking a sweat
and if you’re paying extra, then it would be silly not to.

FIND A PERSONAL TRAINER

Depending on your fitness needs and goals, personal training might be beneficial to you and some premium memberships include it. Even if it’s not included in your membership, personal training is still an add on that can be purchased directly in My Member Account Mobile App. By doing this, you’re getting more out of your club.

STAY DIGITALLY CONNECTED

This includes staying
connected on both your club’s social media platforms as well as My Member
Account Mobile App. Follow your gym’s social media pages for inspiration, to
stay updated about what’s happening in your gym and most importantly, to
include yourself in the community.

By downloading My Member Account Mobile App, you will find featured classes and club promotions along with being able to view your own class and session schedules. The more you know and the more efficient you are, the more you’ll get of your membership because you’ll have more time to focus on your fitness goals.

5 WAYS TO CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN IN YOUR GYM

Fall is upon us, which means your members are in the Halloween spirit but also might be losing their spirit to go to the gym. Thankfully there are many different Halloween tactics your club can use to keep members motivated all while you’re enhancing retention and attracting prospects. Here are some ways your club can celebrate the spooky holiday.

1. DECORATE YOUR FACILITY 

This is probably the easiest thing you can do to celebrate Halloween. Members and prospects are already in the Halloween spirit, so a gym full of Halloween will make them want to stay in your facility longer.

2. HOST COSTUME CONTESTS FOR GROUP CLASSES 

By hosting group classes that have costume contests with prizes, members and prospects are likely to participate because there’s incentives involved. Your chances of gaining new members also increase as well and you’re building community at the same time. Use our Pass A Friend program to funnel people in.

All you need to do is offer current members passes prior to Halloween, think of small prizes to whoever referred their friends to your club and grand prizes for the winners of the contests. Encourage attendees to download My Member Account Mobile App to check-in and see the featured Halloween classes. Track member attendance and the success of these featured classes using our Attendance Detail Report.

3. DO HALLOWEEN THEMED WORKOUTS

Members could perform a variety of Halloween-themed workouts: pumpkin smashing, deadlifts, skull crushers, spider squats–the list goes on. Incorporate these exercises into your featured group classes.

4. HAND OUT FREE “TREATS”

This could go hand and hand with our Pass A Friend program. Encourage your members to bring in their friends and instead of candy, hand out things like protein shakes, protein bars, water bottles, t-shirts with your club’s logo and slogan, and larger prizes for the winners of your club’s costume contests.

5. PLAY HALLOWEEN MOVIES NEAR CARDIO EQUIPMENT

Set up your facility so that some screens are playing different Halloween movies while people are exercising on treadmills and ellipticals. One, this will get gym-goers to stay on your equipment for longer and two, if your members are aware of all the fun Halloween-themed events your gym is offering, they will look forward to their next sweat session so much more, which boosts your long-term retention.

THE DOS AND DON’TS OF GYM ETIQUETTE

The gym is a place of community, which means all members should feel welcomed and comfortable. Most gyms and fitness clubs typically have specific rules, however there are unspoken guidelines members should be aware of. Here are some dos and don’ts of gym etiquette.

DO: PUT WEIGHTS BACK

Once you’re finished using free weights, always remember to put them back for safety and courtesy purposes. It’s not only dangerous to have heavy weights lying around but leaving them out implies that they are still in use. Be courteous and put weights back so other members can use the equipment. This applies especially during busy hours when members might have to take turns and wait for equipment.

DON’T: BLOCK SOMEONE’S VIEW OF THE MIRROR

Mirrors are definitely a hot spot in most gyms and can quickly become overcrowded, so although it might be difficult not to accidently block someone’s view during peak hours, try to avoid doing this at all. If this section of your gym is too crowded, exercise somewhere else and then come back to the mirror when space frees up.

DO: WIPE DOWN EQUIPMENT

How many of us enjoy working out in someone else’s sweat? No one, and gyms are not shy of germs. Although it’s not technically required and not a member’s responsibility to keep their gym clean, most gyms and fitness clubs have stations with cleaner and paper towels because it’s common courtesy to clean equipment. Remember to wipe down anything you touch. This includes treadmills, ellipticals, machine weights, free weights, even mats and foam rollers. Once you learn more about gyms and germs, you won’t think twice about wiping stuff down.

DON’T: SPEND HOURS ON ONE MACHINE

Unless you hit the gym when its dead, don’t spend hours on one machine. This is especially pertinent during peak hours when people might have to wait for machines. A good rule of thumb for cardio equipment is to spend no more than 30 minutes on these machines. When it comes to machine weights, don’t just sit and hang out on them. Do your reps, take small rests and then move onto the next thing.

This same concept applies to free weights as well. As we’ve reiterated before, use the weights you need and then put them back so someone else can use them. Spending hours on one machine also means that you aren’t exercising multiple muscle groups, which isn’t an effective workout anyway.

DON’T: MAKE WEIRD NOISES

There’s always one person at the gym who grunts during every rep. Don’t be that guy. It’s unnecessary and disrupts other people’s workouts. If you feel the need to scream, the weight is probably too heavy, and you might need to take it down a notch.

DO: HAVE GOOD HYGIENE

The gym is a place where most of us break a sweat and even though it doesn’t have to be the best-smelling place, nothing disrupts a workout like dreaded body odor. Do yourself and everyone else a favor by keeping up with good hygiene.

DON’T: SHOW OFF

Although you might be proud of your six pack and that you can bench press mass amounts of weight, other gym-goers don’t need or care to know. Every person at the gym is there to better themselves, no matter their size or how fast they can run. There’s a big difference between celebrating victories and showing off. Be proud of your own accomplishments, remember to do your own thing and also build up those around you.

DO: RESPECT OTHERS’ SPACE

This applies to really anywhere in your gym, but especially in hot spots like where there are mirrors, free weights, mats and stretching zones. It seems like common sense to mind your own space, but it can be difficult when the gym is crowded, so do as best as you can.

DON’T: DROP DUMBBELLS

Not only is this dangerous and can seriously hurt you or someone else, but it’s also disrespectful to your club’s equipment and is disruptive to other members. Just like with grunting and screaming at the gym, if you find yourself needing to drop dumbbells, the weight is too heavy. Drop the weight, not the dumbbells.  

DON’T: LEAVE A GROUP CLASS EARLY

Unless you have a pressing emergency or legitimate reason to leave a group class early, it’s typically advised not to. Leaving a class early not only throws off other members in the class, but it’s inconsiderate to the instructor. Plus, if you paid for the class, it’d be a waste to not get your money’s worth.

DON’T: USE THE GYM AS YOUR PERSONAL PHOTO STUDIO

We are all familiar with the classic gym selfie, and although there’s nothing wrong with posting your workouts and fitness victories, the gym is not your personal photo studio. There’s nothing worse than someone hogging the mirror to snap selfies as other members are actually trying to use it during their workout. Take one, be done and move along with your workout.

SIGNS YOU’RE OVERDOING IT AT THE GYM

The gym may be a place for self-improvement, however, it is possible for it to negatively impact your fitness journey if you don’t find the right balance. Whether you’re a gym junkie or just signed up with a gym, anyone can work their body too much and hurt themselves if they aren’t careful. Here are some general warning signs to watch out for.

LINGERING SORENESS AND JOINT PAIN

Exercise and muscle soreness go hand and hand, and if you’re new to working out, it’s normal to be sore for longer, however, if the soreness prolongs for three days or more, your body is telling you to take a chill pill, because it’s likely experiencing more than DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and could be a joint-related injury, according to Shape Magazine. Take at least one or two rest days to let your body recover, especially if you’re just starting out in the gym. New gym-goers are more prone to joint injuries because they typically don’t have proper form. Remember not to rush during a workout, as this can cause permanent muscle or joint damage and focus on quality, not quantity while weightlifting. Learn more about muscle soreness here.

YOU’RE GETTING SICK

This includes both getting the common cold and feeling nauseous during a workout. If you’re someone who exercises regularly and you’re experiencing common cold symptoms like a sore throat and runny nose, it’s time to pump the breaks at the gym. If during a workout you begin to feel light headed, dizzy and nauseous, this is typically an indicator that you’re running on an empty stomach, you ate too much right before a workout, you’re dehydrated or you’re simply pushing yourself too hard. Drink plenty of water during your workout and make sure to focus on your breathing. When it comes to food, it’s best to eat a small amount 30 minutes to an hour before a workout to ensure you have substance to fuel your body, but not too much that it makes you sick to your stomach.

POOR PERFORMANCE

Whether you’re in pain because you pulled a muscle, you’re low on energy or you feel weak lifting weights, you should consider parting ways with the gym for a little bit. Many people have the misconception that they need to put in maximum effort to see results, but it’s not always the smartest choice to push your limits because sometimes it’s not physically possible. Not only will your workouts suffer, but your results will too, according to Shape.

BOREDOM AND LACK OF MOTIVATION

This may not seem like an outcome of overdoing it at the gym, but if you’re constantly doing the same workout, you might want to either take a break or consider mixing up your routine because results will begin to plateau or move backwards. Although it’s normal for anyone not to be in the mood to hit the gym, you should never dread going, especially if you’re a regular. According to Shape, you might begin your workout unmotivated, but endorphins should kick in as you start to sweat. If after a little while this is not the case, that’s actually a hint to take a break.

CHANGE IN SLEEPING PATTERNS

Although exercise is supposed to help you sleep better, overdoing it at the gym can actually counteract your sleeping patterns. Men’s Journal says that pushing your body too much can cause insomnia or oversleeping. If you’re abnormally tired at the beginning of a workout, this is also an indicator that you should rest.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND HIGH RESTING HEART RATE

You may not even know your resting heart rate or take your blood pressure, but both can be helpful in determining whether you need to chill out at the gym. According to 12 Minute Athlete, if you’re an avid exerciser and have high blood pressure but have no other risk factors for it, it’s most likely because you’re working out too much. People who are in shape have resting heart rates of 50 or 60 bpm and the average person’s resting heart rate is 72 bpm. If your heart rate is significantly higher than that and you’re in good shape, it’s time to rest.

HOW TO TELL IF YOU’RE IN SHAPE OR NOT

It may not be rocket science, but it’s not always easy to detect whether you’re in shape or not. This is because there is not one definition of being “in shape,” according to Business Insider. It can be everything from having low body fat to having muscular strength. You could strength train often, but your cardiovascular health might not be up to par. This same concept applies in a situation when someone might appear skinny, but they have a higher amount of body fat and very little muscle. Although they appear thin, they aren’t necessarily “in shape.” If you exercise regularly, it’s a safe bet that you’re in shape, but here are specific ways to tell and see which areas you could improve in.

LOW HEART RATE

According to Insider, people who are in good physical shape have lower heart rates at 60-100 beats per minute. Their hearts pump harder with stronger beats. A number higher than that given range might indicate heart disease or high blood pressure.

QUICK RECOVERY TIME

If you can bounce back quickly after a tough workout, that usually is good indicator that you’re in shape. Take your pulse right after you’ve finished exercising, testing every minute after that to detect how fast it goes down. If it drops back to normal within about five minutes after your workout, then you are in good shape.

YOU CAN EASILY WALK UP A FLIGHT OF STAIRS

This is a simple cardio test. If you’re able to walk up a flight of stairs without feeling winded, you’re in good shape. Keep in mind that factors like higher elevation and asthma can be deceiving. If you’re somewhere with high elevation that you’re not acclimated to, you might be gasping for air more frequently, but it doesn’t mean you’re out of shape.

YOU CAN EASILY RUN TWO MILES OR A 10-MINUTE MILE

Running a mile in 10 minutes or less and being able to run two miles without your heart pumping out of your chest are effective ways to test your cardiovascular health. If you’re slacking in this area, try jogging at a slow and consistent pace, gradually increasing your speed, or fast walk on a treadmill for 1-minute increments, followed by 30-second sprints to keep your heart rate up.

YOU CAN RISE FROM THE GROUND WITHOUT ASSISTANCE

This might be one of the most ignored fitness tests but is extremely helpful in determining whether or not you’re physically fit. According to Health and Fitness Cheat Sheet, sitting down then getting up without using your arms, knees or other body parts for assistance tests your muscular strength, flexibility and balance. If this is difficult for you, practice balancing exercises like single-leg deadlifts, walking lunges and planking while lifting one leg or arm. The more you practice this, the better your overall coordination will be.

YOU CAN DO 10 OR MORE FULL PUSH-UPS

There’s a reason many people dread push-ups–they’re not easy and certainly take practice to master, however, they’re an effective way to test your fitness levels because they use full body weight. If you can do 10 or more full push-ups, you’re on the right track.

YOU CAN EASILY HOLD A 60-SECOND PLANK

Just like with push-ups, planks use your full bodyweight, which is why they are great indicators of being physically fit. If you are able to hold a plank for 60 seconds or more without giving up, this is a sign that you have a strong core and lower back.

YOU CAN DO A FULL PULL-UP

Pull-ups are arguably one of the hardest exercises to perform, and majority of people cannot do a full one, so if you’re in that small pool of people who are able to, your upper body strength is not only top notch, but your overall fitness levels are too.

YOU CAN EASILY SWITCH THINGS UP

There’s something to be said about being able to do a variety of workouts. The next time you hit the gym, pay attention to how many different types of exercises you can do. Do you lift weights, do push-ups then sprint on a treadmill? Can you do a HIIT workout one day and get through a spin class another day? If your answer is yes, you’re in excellent shape. This is because being able to do many different types of exercises tests all areas of your fitness levels, not just one.

BOTTOM LINE

When it comes to being “in shape,” it’s important to focus on your goals and health rather than looking and being the skinniest. Goals matter because even if you can easily run two miles doesn’t mean you need to be in shape to run an entire marathon. If you focus on how you feel and what works best for you in your daily life, your version of being “in shape” will come with the package deal.

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SCALE

We’ve all been there and done that–looked down at that pesky number and felt ashamed about what we saw, then immediately started thinking about how we were going to lower the number, eventually spiraling into vicious cycles of crash diets, different weight loss plans and frustration to see the number either stay the same or increase. As difficult as it might be to steer away from it, the scale is not a true reflection of your weight loss journey or fitness level. Here’s why.

IT CAN HINDER YOUR PROGRESS

Let’s face it–the scale does a lot more harm than good for many of us. This is because we don’t truly understand how weight loss works and we rely on a number to tell us that we are doing better or worse. The scale unfortunately goes hand and hand with yo-yo dieting, short-term weight loss and the people who have the misconception that results come quick. These same people often will turn to the scale, see a lower number, but will feel defeated shortly after when that number goes back up, causing their progress to suffer and the whole process to take way longer than it should.

IT CAN BE MISLEADING 

Weight fluctuates too much

Although it’s usually safe to say that the number you see on the scale is fairly accurate, it’s not your true weight. So many factors fluctuate your actual weight like water intake, bloating, hormones and sodium levels, according to Fight to Fitness. People who aren’t losing weight “correctly” will often find the number on the scale decrease from loss of water weight, but their clothes fit the same and they haven’t lost inches.

Fat loss is different than weight loss

This is possibly the biggest weight loss misconception. When people say they want to lose weight, they typically mean they want to slim down and trim fat but make the mistake of relying on the scale to track their progress. Someone may lose inches and slim down but the number on the scale either increases or stays the same. This is because fat loss and muscle gain are taking place at the same time. Muscle mass is also denser and leaner than fat. This explains why someone might see an increase on the scale, but their pants are looser. According to Very Well Fit, the scale can’t tell the difference between fat and muscle, which is why stepping on one can be confusing and deceiving.

Weight looks different on everyone

A tall person will carry weight a lot differently than someone who is short. Take for instance someone who appears thin. This person may be satisfied when they look at the scale but could be out of shape and have unhealthy levels of body fat, while another person with better endurance weighs exactly the same is made up mostly of muscle.

THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS

Although the scale can be helpful, especially for people who are looking to lose a lot of weight, the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Here are other ways to measure fitness progress:

How your clothes fit:

The way your clothes fit will tell you a lot more than a scale will. Whether that means pants feel looser or you can finally button old jeans again, how your clothes fit is a direct result of losing inches and fat, and once again, this is because muscle is leaner than fat. Plus, this method focuses on how you feel rather than placing a number on your progress. Although some might see both a drop in the scale and looser jeans, many people would surprisingly see no difference in their weight, but they can fit into smaller sizes.

Better endurance and fitness levels:

According to Health Magazine, the scale will not tell you how fit you are. How much weight you can lift and how fast you can run matters. If you can run a mile faster now than you could four months ago or you can lift 10 pounds heavier than you could a few weeks ago, you’re in better shape. Endurance and strength training are key to a healthy fitness journey that the scale doesn’t measure.

If you want to lose weight, focus more on non-scale victories like improving your endurance. Instead of making it a goal to lose 20 pounds, make it a goal to be able to do a full push-up or pull-up. The weight loss part will naturally come in time as your endurance improves and you won’t beat yourself up in the process.

How you feel:

Do you have more energy? Do you feel more confident? Has your perspective on living a healthy lifestyle changed in a positive way? All of these components are key to healthy weight loss and cannot be measured on a scale. The issue with weight loss is that we focus so much on the way we look rather than how we actually feel inside. Not only is that an unhealthy approach that typically leads to confidence issues, crash diets and a bad relationship with the scale, but effective and long-term weight loss actually works in reverse of the status-quo. Since the way we see ourselves is very mental, healthy weight loss begins in the mind. Practice altering your mindset by taking baby steps, making subtle changes to unhealthy habits and focusing less on numbers. The better you feel, the more results you will see, and the healthier you will be overall.

BOTTOM LINE

The scale should be used as a tool to know basic numbers about yourself, but it’s not always correct. If you’re someone who feels more at ease when you know your weight, avoid obsessing over it and letting it dictate the way you see yourself. If you’re someone who prefers not to know, that’s perfectly okay too. Besides, at the end of the day, it is just a number.