Why the Numbers on the Scale Are Not That Important

One of the most common reasons people start an exercise routine is to shed off unwanted pounds, reduce the number on the scale. As I discussed in my last post, exercise is not an efficient way to burn calories or fat, particularly in the short term. In combination with proper dieting practices, exercise can help the path to achieving optimal levels of physical fitness and health.

One important part to maintaining a successful exercise program is in evaluating your current progress. Unfortunately, many exercisers track their progress by looking at the weight they see on the scale, the number of calories burned on the treadmill, or by how much weight is moved in a single exercise. While these may seem like sound factors to measure your progress by, there are many variables that get left unaccounted for when people try to track how they are doing by merely looking at numbers. Often, exercisers can get discouraged because the numbers aren’t showing the progress they expected, be it decreasing the number on the scale, or increasing the number of reps on the pull-up bar. While it is important to be able to track the progress you are making in your exercise regime, here are a few things to consider.

If tracking your weight loss, remember that your body is comprised of four major components: water, bone and muscle are lean mass and there is fat mass. While you may be focused on losing those extra 10 lbs keep in mind that decreasing fat mass is more important than losing total body weight. Also, understand that if you are strength training, you are potentially increasing muscle, this is more dense than fat tissue. Replace a pound of fat with a pound of muscle and you will weigh the same but your body will be smaller. This this is a good thing, because by increasing muscle, you are adding productive, healthy, and lean tissue to your body.

Instead of focusing so highly on the number of pounds coming off, focus more on how you are feeling, do you feel healthier? Do you feel stronger or have more energy? If that’s the case, then don’t worry much about the numbers.

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