DIGITAL WELLNESS: IS IT WELL FOR US?

We live in a world surrounded by screens while we spend our mornings hashtagging our breakfasts on social media and taking selfies of our gains at the gym. We’re adapting to behaviors that have become social norms, where receiving more “likes” on platforms like Facebook and Instagram are now personal achievements that we feel instant gratification from.

Some might argue that our online lives could be destructive to real life, introducing possible negative effects on body image and self-esteem, however, digital wellness is opening doors for both owners and members, bringing people together with common goals through a simple hashtag, offering members more fitness knowledge and generating opportunities for more club revenue.

HEALTHY FOR MEMBERS, HEALTHY FOR BUSINESS

Fitness is just as mental as it is physical and taking advantage of digital wellness is a quick and effective way to keep members motivated and maintain healthy retention. While members stay busy running on treadmills and posting their yoga photos to Instagram, owners can keep a library of digital blogs and articles that focus on different workouts, healthy recipes and wellness tips for members to reference. Owners can offer yoga classes and other events that are geared toward stress relief and wellness, providing members with more value and generating more revenue at the same time.

MORE THAN JUST APPEARANCE

We have the preconceived notion to exercise strictly for weight loss, so we look thinner, but then we forget about the positive impact fitness has on overall health and wellness. Even though weight loss is a common goal among millions of people and physical appearance is directly linked to confidence, it’s important for owners to assure their members that it’s not the only reason to purchase a gym membership. Wellness is about much more than what we see on the outside.

Specific body types and looks are constantly being broadcasted online, on television and social media, convincing both men and women that they have to look a certain way to achieve happiness. Technology isn’t the culprit here–we are. Health club owners and fitness professionals are direct influencers of this epidemic, which is why it’s imperative for them to use technology as a tool to spread positivity by encompassing every aspect of fitness and wellness, not just appearance.

Anything posted online has potential to spread like wildfire. It’s up to the professionals in the industry to make sure what’s being showcased isn’t toxic to their consumers.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR OWNERS

Luckily, social media has given owners opportunities to boost member confidence and increase revenue in the process. Through simple posts and accurate hashtagging, owners are able to share progress and transformation photos on their social media platforms, celebrating member accomplishments and more importantly, praising their none-scale victories.

Club owners can instantly motivate their members through positive sayings, quotes of encouragement and get members excited about exercise and how healthy it makes them feel. Personal trainers and class instructors can go beyond teaching by empathizing with members, offering compassion and listening to them during moments of frustration or discouragement.

They can give encouraging advice in person and online, comment on their social media posts and share them to applaud their triumphs. Building and maintaining these business-to-consumer relationships on and offline will only continue to help gyms and health clubs flourish.  

BOTTOM LINE

In this digital age, how members feel and perceive themselves is a direct result of what they consume online. Keeping up with digital and wellness trends as an owner can only help members in the long run. To answer the question, “is digital wellness well for us?” Yes. It’s an open door to fade out negativity surrounding “ideal” body images and shift focus to all areas of fitness and what being healthy truly means, putting more revenue in an owner’s pocket.

HOW TO GENERATE MORE CLUB REVENUE

There is always room for improvement and financial growth within your club, whether it’s brand new or it’s been around for a while. Here are some ways to increase your revenue.

USE ASF SOFTWARE

When you have the right health club management software to increase your gym’s efficiency and engage your members, revenue naturally increases. Display club promotions in My Member Account Mobile App like discounts on point of sale items and club merchandise so members can make easy purchases.

Through the integration between Scheduler and My Member Account Mobile App, members can purchase and sign up for additional personal training sessions, group classes or training events directly in the interface, making it a convenient process for members and quick transactions for your club. Learn more about scheduling here.

ADVERTISE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

This is a given, considering majority of your prospects, if not all of them are on social media. Not only can you do unpaid organic posts showcasing club offers, but also consider paid advertising on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to generate more memberships. This can be done by directly linking My Enrollment to an ad so prospects can easily sign up with your club. It’s a simple process for them and an easy money-making process for you. Learn more about how social media can help your gym here.

ENGAGE CURRENT MEMBERS

It’s easy to let current members fall through the cracks once they’re already on board with you, but to maintain strong retention, you have to keep them satisfied, and seeking current members out is a prime opportunity to up your cash flow.

Fully engaged customers deliver a 23 percent premium over the average customer in share of wallet, profitability and revenue, so to reiterate, take advantage of both social media and ASF software like Scheduler and My Member Account Mobile App by promoting special discounts on point of sale items and club merchandise. Easily display feature events in My Member Account Mobile App and post discount opportunities for members to purchase sessions on a trial basis, if sessions are not already included in their memberships.

Another strategy is to use My Enrollment to offer 14-day trials for existing members that refer their friends. This way members bring prospects in and you’re funneling in future income.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OFF-PEAK HOURS

You’re most likely aware of patterns in your club, especially if you’re using My Reports to track member behavior. Many members actively avoid their gyms during peak hours simply because they’re too crowded. Although this is a common issue, 67 percent of customer churn is preventable if the issue was resolved at the first engagement, so instead of treating this situation as a burden on your club, look at it as an opportunity to fill in the gaps and bring in extra profit.

Offer extra classes and personal training during slower times and promote them on your website, social media and through ASF software. This way, you’re dissolving member frustration and boosting your business at the same time. Remember that members can purchase and sign up directly in My Member Account Mobile App.

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13 COMMON WEIGHT LOSS MISTAKES

Solutions for Weight Loss: 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.

Solutions for Weight Loss: Common Mistakes You’re Making

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

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 out of your membership because you’ll have more time to focus on your fitness goals.

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.

Here’s the 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.

10 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR GYM SAFE

It’s easy for your members to get caught up in their workouts and for you to get caught up in your retention, but it’s important to remember that gyms can be serious danger zones if proper precautions aren’t taken. As a gym or club owner, it’s your job to ensure your members’ safety. Here are 10 ways to keep your club and your members safe.

1. HAVE SECURITY CAMERAS THROUGHOUT YOUR FACILITY

This is not only important for dangerous situations like theft and unwelcomed people in your club, but it’s especially important to have security cameras for unstaffed hours and in the pool area if your club has one. Security cameras also assure your members are respecting their surroundings like other members, your equipment and your club rules.

2. SHOW MEMBERS HOW TO USE EQUIPMENT AT SIGN UP 

Not only does ignorance hurt your member retention, but it can also literally hurt your members if they don’t know what they’re doing and are using machines incorrectly. To avoid injury, either show members how to use your machines during tours or offer free classes at sign up that show them how to perform basic functions with correct form.

3. HAVE A COMPANY SECURELY PROCESS YOUR PAYMENTS

First and foremost, your business cannot successfully run without cash flow and secure transactions. Second, you and your members need to feel at peace knowing their personal information like credit cards on file are safe. ASF securely processes membership dues through PCI compliance, assuring owners that member information is safe and putting members at ease. Learn more here.

4. HAVE A SAFETY PROTOCOL 

Whether it’s someone who fainted, or someone drowning in your club’s pool, you and your staff need to be prepared for any situation. Form a company protocol that all staff and trainers must follow. Go through drills every month to confirm everyone is updated on the safety measures. If your club is larger, make sure to have an intercom so that your staff can quickly and easily communicate with each other. Have a lifeguard in the pool area at all times who is CPR certified.

5. INSPECT YOUR EQUIPMENT REGULARLY

Although it’s easy to trust your machines, all equipment wears and tears at some point, so it’s best to inspect it on a daily basis for the sake of member safety, according to Zogics. Check for loose or frayed cables and any other signs of malfunctions. Also make sure treadmills and weight machines are placed strategically, away from walls and have enough space apart from each other.

6. HAVE MULTIPLE AREAS WITH FIRST AID KITS

Injuries can happen anywhere and at any time in your club, so it’s important to have multiple areas with first aid kits. It’s not only convenient for your staff, but it keeps employees focused on your members rather than scrambling for a first aid kit.

7. LEARN CPR

According to the National Personal Training Association (NPTA) there is no official standard that states personal trainers must be certified in CPR, but it’s always a smart idea. This is especially pertinent for elderly members who are more at risk. You may not need to perform CPR on a regular basis, but it sure comes in handy when you do, and gyms are very common places for CPR to take place. Save yourself the stress and someone’s life by learning CPR.

8. RESTRICT YOUR POOL HOURS

If your club operates for 24 hours and has a pool, restrict your pool hours to a specific time block. This is important especially for when your club is unstaffed. Although you might have members who would like to use your pool during late hours, it’s not worth risking someone slipping or drowning.

9. ENSURE CHILD SAFETY WITH KIDCHECK SOFTWARE

Not only is member safety your number one priority but keeping their children safe is as well. KidCheck software reduces liability for you because it ensures only authorized caretakers can check kids in and out. When a child gets checked in, the software displays any allergy or medical information that your staff needs to know regarding your member’s child and it gives guardians the ability to quickly detect where parents are located in the event of an emergency.

10. CLEAN UP AND KEEP PATHWAYS CLEAR

Whether it’s water in the pool area
or locker room or free weights in the wrong places, this pertains to anything
that could pose a hazard in your gym. Check your club every hour. Clean up
water to prevent members from slipping, make sure equipment is where it’s
supposed to be and keep pathways clear for fire safety.

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.