Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your work out is actually working or not, especially if you aren’t really losing any weight and your only looking at the number that appears when you step on the scale. The scale isn’t always the best indicator of how effective a workout is though, especially because muscle weighs more than fat, so those numbers can be deceptively discouraging if that’s all you’re relying on to tell if you’re losing weight or not. If you’re starting to wonder if your work out is actually working out for you or not, try one – or all! – of these things:
1. Get body fat tested
While your body weight may not be a solid indicator of how effective your workouts actually are, your body fat percentage is. Get body fat tested every couple months to see if you’re losing a fat percentage… if you are then it’s a good indication that you’re on the right track.
2. Perform benchmark tests
A great way to gauge if your fitness levels are improving is by performing regular benchmark tests. Take a day to see how many reps you can perform of different exercises in a set amount of time, such as how many crunches you can do in one minute, how many push-ups you can do in one minute, etc. At the end of every month perform the same test again to see if your numbers are improving or not. As your strength progresses your numbers should progress as well.
3. Have you been able to increase weights, resistance, or longevity of your workouts?
Over time as you work out you should be able to consistently up your weights, increase the resistance on the cardio machines, and maintain a harder pace over a longer timeframe in both cardio and weights. If you aren’t able to do any of these things then it could be an indicator that your work out was too hard to begin with, that you’re improperly executing work out moves, or that you aren’t pushing yourself enough.
4. Your clothes don’t fit the same
Another surefire sign that you’re on the right track is if your pants fit you better or are too loose or if your shirts are starting to get too tight in the arms and across the chest – and not from added fat but from added muscle! Once your clothes begin to fit you better or are too big (or too small, depending on the body part!) you should have a good idea that things are working the right way.
5. Your mood shifts
If you notice that you’re more chipper throughout the day and have a better self-image then you can credit that to your work out working effectively. Regular exercise boosts your mood thanks to endorphins, and when you’re doing something good for yourself you start to feel better all around.
Figuring out if your work out is effective isn’t exclusively tied to the number that appears on the scale. There are many other indicators that point that you’re moving in the right direction, so don’t focus all your attention on your body weight – focus it on the indicators that reflect true improvement.