Whether your goal is to easily slide into a new swimsuit next summer, have more stamina while playing with the kids, or just general health and wellness, it’s important to understand the difference between weight loss and fitness. Often, we put almost all of our focus on losing a certain number of pounds, but because a pound of muscle is just as heavy as a pound of fat, your body could be undergoing significant positive, or negative, changes which won’t be highlighted if all you’re looking at is the number on a bathroom scale. Yes, measuring and noting your weight can be helpful as a baseline if you’re looking to get into shape, but it’s not the only thing to keep track of.

The Scale Doesn’t Rule All: Four Other Things to Track for Optimal Fitness

What should you track then?

It’s not an exhaustive list, but some helpful things you can track in a journal or an app are:

  • Energy Levels - Since this is based on a feeling and is therefore a little harder to quantify than something like a blood sugar test or your heart rate, it may be helpful to use a numbered scoring system, such as 1-10. It’s also best to record your numbers in the morning, mid-day, and evening, at the same times if possible, since energy levels fluctuate throughout the day.

  • Stamina - This could be how long you can jog, swim laps, hold your breath, hold a pair of 1-pound weights out to your side, etc. Remember not to push your body past its limits of safety and comfort.

  • Measurements - Using a regular soft tape measure, take measurements of your arms, chest, waist, legs, hips, and anywhere else you want to track. While you can do this every day, once a week is probably sufficient to give you the information you need.

  • Photos - If possible, take front and back photos while in workout gear at regular intervals once a week. It’s also important that they be taken standing in the same position, location, and lighting, as changes in those factors can make a huge difference as to how your body looks and can be deceiving when trying to measure your progress.

You probably won’t see significant changes in a few days, but if you’re consistent about eating a healthy and balanced diet, reducing stress, sleeping well, and exercising regularly, as the weeks progress you should start to notice positive differences in your numbers and photos. Whether those differences are big or small, remember that every little bit helps and that time spent on your health is always a good investment. Keep it up, track your results, and continue working toward a fit and healthy future!

If you would like more information on how Family Health Nurse Practitioner of Rochester can help you reach your fitness goals, please get in touch with us by sending an email through our secure contact page, or by calling us at 585-643-7393. We are located at 656 Ridge Road in Webster, NY and serve the Greater Rochester area.