Bin the scales

Posted: 2016-04-05

You know the moment; you've worked hard for a few days, clean food & solid training, more steps on your Fit Bit and you resisted that pudding during the midweek social. You head to the bathroom and stagger over to your trusted companion – the scales. You place one foot on after another and then in slow motion you look down. The scale stares right back at you showing an increase of 2lbs - and just like that your high is gone.

Suddenly you lose all form of motivation and begin questioning everything you’ve been doing – and your trainer. After all the scales don’t lie so? Wrong! The scales cannot decipher what time of the month it is (water retention) if you ate a cheat meal the night before or if you’ve just drank a pint of water. These factors all have an influence on what you weigh and cause fluctuations. Scales point out these gains very quickly.

Standard bodyweight scales do not differentiate between muscle and fat. If you’ve been weight training you may see a weight increase or less of a weight decrease than expected because of extra tissue you’ve added to your frame. So, before you let the scales convince you you’re gaining fat and drag you into a day of depression, get a tape measure instead and start measuring! We recommend the following body sites to measure:

• Arm relaxed - circumference is taken at the level of the mid-point between the acromion (bony point of shoulder) and the olecranon (bony point of elbow) processes

• Chest - his measure is taken at the level of the middle of the sternum (breast-bone), with the tape passing under the arms. After the tape is in position, the arms should be relaxed by the side,

• Waist – We recommend going around the belly button for consistency

• Hips - taken over minimal clothing, at the level of the greatest protrusion of the gluteal (buttock) muscles.

• Thigh - he circumference measure is taken 1 cm below the gluteal line or fold (buttock crease)

• Calf - Taken at the level of the largest circumference of the calf.

Can you explain how and when you allowed the scales to become the benchmark of your happiness?! Why would you let the scales tell you what you’ve been doing in the gym isn’t good enough? Your sense of achievement should be focused on:

• Can you lift heavier weights now?
• Do you have more energy?
• Can you see a little muscle popping that wasn’t there before?
• How are your clothes fitting?
• Have any of your friends or family noticed a change in you?

You shouldn't base your happiness on a number alone, especially one that doesn't tell you anything of real value. So what if your weight hasn't changed since last week, you can now do a pull up or can squat heavier than ever before

Sadly we live in a world where we constantly compare ourselves to others. The scales do this too – they encourage you to compare you weight with that of your friends. Using the number on the scale to define your health, happiness and fitness goals in relation to other people is dangerous and just silly. Someone who is 5ft tall and petite is going to have a completely different healthy body weight compared to someone taller. Is it really your goal to just lose weight and have the strength of a kitten, just so you weigh the same as your favourite celebrity? No, because that would be ridiculous.

Scales destroy motivation, shatter your hopes and ruin your confidence. They won’t show you how good you look in your new dress or suit, nor will they congratulate you on your new PB in the gym. No, they’ll just drain your willpower and leave you confused, frustrated and ready to give up. Every time you train, eat clean or focus on living healthily you make progress, so why let a metal object with no feelings tell you otherwise? Ultimately if you do that you’re never going to get the results you want.

If you focus solely on what you weigh you are letting the scales dictate your life. Chances are if you see they’re not going down fast enough you’ll ditch the nutrition plan your coach wrote and start eating less and exercising more which could open up a whole host of new problems.

So in summary, ditch the scales and focus on results in the gym and how you feel in yourself AND in your clothes. You won’t regret it.

If you would like to know more about how we work here at Bottom Line Fitness you are welcome to book in for a FREE consultation with one of our trainers who will be happy to answer your questions

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