The Best Ways to Measure Fitness Gains Beyond Looking at the Scale

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If you’re looking to get stronger and build muscle, it’s not always about the scale. In fact, muscle weighs more than fat, so you’re not necessarily dropping pounds if you’re looking to beef up.

And either way, the scale can be hard to go by since weight can fluctuate day by day depending on how much sodium you eat, your workouts, your hormones, and more. Plus, it can make you crazy! You might care about the number more than how you feel during workouts or in your clothes. Here are some better ways to monitor fitness gains without needing a scale.

See How Your Clothes Fit

Are you slimmer in a pair of jeans that used to feel tight? Or, do you see more defined abs peeking through a crop top? Go by how your body feels and how well your clothing fits to see if you feel better in your skin. And, look in the mirror before getting dressed! Do you see more muscle on your arms? These are a few ways to see if your hard work is paying off. We’ve all got old clothing that’s either too small or outsized for us, experiment around, and maybe use that one pair of jeans to springboard into our next tip.


Set New Goals

A great way to see if you’re getting stronger and building more endurance is to set goals and work towards achieving them. If you do succeed, then you know you’re progressing in your fitness routine. Try and tack on more distance for a run or go up in weights. Push yourself to do a higher number of burpees in a row. If you can achieve small, attainable goals on a weekly basis, you’re setting yourself up to go beyond your limits, which will, in turn yield more visible results.

Everyday Tasks are Easier

If taking the stairs or carrying bags home from the grocery store used to make you weak in the knees, but now it’s not as difficult, then you’re getting more fit in general for everyday tasks and movement. Which means you’re in better health overall too—and it can keep your heart healthy, increase circulation and boost longevity. These smaller things are easy to take for granted, but if you put in the work to make your daily tasks even easier, then you’re doing something right.


Compliments From Others

While it’s more important about how you feel rather than what other people think of your appearance, if people are saying you look strong and muscular, then take their word for it! External validation isn’t the goal—it’s all about internal—but those comments mean you are progressing and you can use them to keep your motivation high towards increasing your performance. Oftentimes it’s very difficult for someone to notice changes in themselves because we see ourselves in the mirror every day. So if a friend or family member compliments you on what they see, take that as a good sign!