There are many ways to measure progress when you’re involved in a health and fitness program.
The scale is often one of the worst.
Weight is a one-dimensional data point. It’s simply a measurement of your body’s gravitational pull.
How boring… and what an unfulfilling way for people to measure their progress.
Okay, the scale is one of the worst choices but what are some better options, you might ask yourself…
Here are a few better ones
Weighing 80kg at 20% body fat is clearly healthier than weighing 70kg at 30% body fat, right?
It’s never just about how much you weigh … but rather, how healthy your weight is.
Your body composition determines what percentage of your total body weight comes from fat, muscle, and bone. Knowing your body composition provides more detailed information about your health.
Less fat and more muscle tend to point toward a better level of health.
The price of doing such a test is round about the price of a meal... It's not expensive but the value behind it is enormous. You can search on google for some body composition tests around you, there are fitness or wellness centres that even offer such services for free.
Increasing your relative strength is one of the single most beneficial things you can do for your health and longevity. Prioritize strength training.
How to test your strength? Let me give you a simple challenge:
1. Do push-ups for 3 minutes to test your upper body strength.
2. See how many crunches you can do in 1 minute to test your core.
3. Determine how long you can hold a half-squat or so-called wall sit to measure lower body strength.
Write down the measurements of all those 3 exercises and simply set a date that you are going to do it every month, let's say that every month on the 10th day of the month you will do that quick test.
Nothing can beat real numbers and this can be very motivating for you to see how your strength is growing throughout the process.
But please, be sure that you warm up good before executing that challenge, the goal here is to see how strong you are not to injure yourself, right?
Becoming more flexible and better able to execute foundational movements with improved range of motion and no pain is going to be incredibly helpful -- both in your workouts and in your ability to age in a pain-free way.
If you see an opportunity to improve your flexibility, jump on it.
The best way to become more flexible are:
1. Consider foam rolling
2. Perform dynamic rather than static stretching prior to the activity.
3. Perform static stretching after activity.
4. Target your stretches to the areas that need it.
5. Stretch frequently.
6. Make sure you are stretching the muscle safely.
7. Last but not least - TRY YOGA!
There are 2 kinds of people, the ones who are doing long, useless hours of cardio every day and just expecting to have beautiful bodies because they are “burning” a lot of fat.
And the others who are like: "Cardio, is that Spanish?"
No, just kidding, there is also a third type of very rare human beings who actually understand the true function and importance of properly executed cardio sessions, I hope that you are none of the previous 2 examples :D
Actually, "Cardio" has gotten a bad name in the fitness industry. It's often presented or even sold as the best way to "burn fat" by trainers and gyms that don't know their stuff.
The best way to burn fat and develop a stronger, leaner, more functional body is to focus on resistance training for example lifting weights, with proper doses of "cardio" sprinkled in throughout the week.
Don't avoid cardiovascular training, as it has many health and performance benefits. Just don't overdo it.
So, my friends, that’s all for today, hopefully, this gives you a few things to think about when assessing your progress with health and fitness.
The number on the scale is only one way … and far from the best way.