Scales have been around since ancient times. They’re a good tool for measuring mass. But, in this day and age, it’s time to rid yourself of old conceptions and accept what a bathroom scale won’t tell you; healthy people come in all shapes and sizes. Stop allowing your scale to tilt your ‘tude. Because, the truth is, it isn’t telling you much about your fitness and health anyway.
In some respects, the number on a scale is meaningless without knowing whether or not you’ve altered your body composition. A scale cannot tell you if weight loss, weight gain or stable weight means that you have changed the amount of fat and muscle in your body. It doesn’t differentiate between fat mass and bone mass. In fact, it’s not uncommon for individuals to get stronger and leaner without losing weight.
People get very excited about rapid weight loss. But, even if the bathroom scale tips in your favor when it comes to lost pounds, it might just be water weight. Since your body needs water to operate and regenerate, trying to sustain that loss could be detrimental. Lost muscle or bone weight is nothing to brag about either!
The good news is there are better, accessible ways to gauge your health and fitness other than counting pounds.
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Consider These 4 Ways to Measure Your Fitness:
1) Body Composition
This test can help you understand how much fat tissue and lean muscle mass you have and whether or not the amount suits the lifestyle you want to live. The test can be done with a simple pair of skinfold calipers or you can seek out fancier tests that use scanning technologies or bioelectrical impedance. You can use the information to craft a plan to attack your fitness goals.
2) Fitness Tests
Many gyms provide fitness testing. A good fitness test will reveal your baseline in regard to flexibility, strength, balance and endurance. Some facilities also offer body composition testing as part of the package. A well-rounded fitness test will record your initial baseline and give you insight on what aspects of fitness you might want to improve. Schedule follow-up testing to get a realistic picture of what is happening inside your body after you’ve been working out for a while to see if you’re making progress.
3) Body Age
Understanding your biological age can help you understand how your habits in and out of the gym affect your longevity. Most body age assessments include a body composition test and fitness testing in addition to assessing nutrition and health-related behaviors. Return to the same tester for reevaluation down the road to see if you’ve gotten any “younger!”
4) Comprehensive Physical
You used to get annual physicals as a kid, didn’t you? Why not carry on that tradition as an adult? A physical can indicate if you’re making health gains that matter, instead of just losing pounds.