Measure your progress the right way

Resistance training is the key

When measuring progress of any fitness plan it’s always tempting to jump on the scales and hope to see those pounds (or kg’s!) dropping, but any good routine should include a decent amount of resistance training – training that builds muscle and will offset weight reduction from fat burning activity. While it’s still possible to reduce your overall body weight with a combined program, the point is that it can harm motivation if you feel like you aren’t making progress despite putting the effort it – when often you really are achieving good results.

In our experience what’s more important is progress in changing your body shape, not your body mass, and the way to gauge this properly is with a tape measure. Before starting a new routine you should take a full set of measurements as a benchmark. For women this typically means measuring across your bust, waistline and hips, though you can also measure your thighs and upper arms too for a more complete picture. Men are pretty similar, though there is no separate waist/hip measurement, it’s just waistline. Write down the measurements in a journal along with the date and day of week, and your body weight.

When measuring progress – whether on the scales or with a tape – there is a temptation to measure too often and expect to see results. In general your weight varies from day-to-day depending on hydration level, time of day etc. and particularly for women it can be affected by hormones too. We recommend taking measurements no more than once a week, and preferably at the same time on the same day of the week as this is likely to provide the most consistent reading.

Even a moderate program of activity two or three times a week, coupled with our great nutrition guide – Cut calories the easy way – should see an improvement in your body shape in as little as 2 – 3 weeks, though remember that training is a long term goal and sustainable results come from consistent small improvements and not drastic crash diet/exercise regimes.