How to measure your progress

Our bodies are continually changing in response to changes in our activity levels, hormones, what we’ve eaten, how well we’ve slept, and so many other factors. Tracking any one measurement may lead to an incomplete picture of your real progress, which could leave you feeling defeated. 

That’s why Linda, along with other health and fitness experts, recommend that you use multiple methods to track your fitness and weight loss progress, and that you do so over several months. You’ll have a better sense of how your body and mood have changed in response to engaging in regular exercise and healthy eating habits. That way you’ll be motivated to keep at it, and to, where necessary, make minor tweaks to continue towards the progress you aimed for when you started.

Methods to track your progress

When to track your fitness and weight-loss progress:

  • Before you start your new regime
  • Consistently as you go – e.g., on the 1st day of each month
  • By your deadline – if you have one

Remember to keep your records in a physical or digital journal, that is easy to use and easy to find so that you can easily compare your latest results with past recordings.

How to track your progress:

  1. A scale
  2. A tape measure
  3. A body fat percentage calculator
  4. Your clothes
  5. Progress photos
  6. A fitness device, or your smartphone

1) Scale weight

Weigh yourself once a week on the same day, first thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything. Always use the same scale, and wear the same type of clothes.

Note: It’s possible for your scale weight to remain the same, even as you slim down, especially if you’re losing fat and gaining muscle. That’s why the other measurement methods are so important.

2) Body measurements

Start by wearing tight-fitting clothing (or no clothing) and make a note of what you’re wearing so you know to wear the same clothes the next time you take your measurements.

  • Bust: Measure around the chest right at the nipple line, but don’t pull the tape too tight.
  • Chest: Measure just under your bust.
  • Upper arm: Measure around the largest part of each arm above the elbow.
  • Forearm: Measure around the largest part of the arm below the elbow.
  • Waist: Measure a half-inch above your belly button or at the smallest part of your waist.
  • Hips: Place the tape measure around the biggest part of your hips.
  • Thighs: Measure around the biggest part of each thigh.
  • Calves: Measure around the largest part of each calf.

How to take measurements

Use this sheet to take measurements every second Monday. Measurements must be taken first thing in the morning before coffee or breakfast. Measure and weigh yourself every two weeks and keep track by completing the sheet below—you will soon start seeing great improvements.

3) Body fat percentage

Knowing your body fat percentage can give you a better idea of how much fat you really need to lose and, whether you’re making progress. Chat with your doctor or nutritionist to find out where you can have it tested.

4) How your clothes fit

The fit and feel of your clothing can be a guide to the changes that you might not spot by looking in the mirror. 

This test has to be reliable, so pick a pair of jeans that you love and use the fit to measure your progress every month or three. Make a note of where they feel loose, where they feel tight, and how you feel wearing them.

5) Progress photos

The best way to determine if you look slimmer, fitter and more toned is by taking progress photos. Taking a photo before you start and comparing it to a new photo, week to week or month to month, will show you changes in your body over time and boost your confidence! Read more: HOW TO TAKE GREAT BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS

Consistency is key to taking great progress photos. So, make sure you replicate the same conditions every time – the only difference should be you.

6) Fitness assessments

Assess your fitness in four areas:

  1. Aerobic fitness
    • Record your heart rate before, and right after, doing the same set of exercises.
    • E.g., 2 mins of jogging on the spot, 30 sec plank, 20 squats, 5 push-ups, and 15 sit-ups.
    • Also, take note of how out of breath you are after these exercises, or when you go for a walk.
    • Record how long you take to walk or run 5km, your local ParkRun is a great way to do this.
  2. Muscular strength and endurance
    • Record how many repetitions (e.g., squats, sit-ups or bicep curls) you’re capable of doing within a one-minute time frame.
    • Hold a plank in the proper position for as long as you can, and record the number of minutes or seconds you reach.
  3. Flexibility
    • Sit on the floor and extend your legs in front of you. Record how far you can reach, aiming to reach your toes with your fingers.
  4. Body composition
    • Your Body Mass Index (BMI) shows where you fall exactly weight-wise for your height and age. Use a BMI calculator on the internet – input your weight and height, and you’ll be provided with the calculation and what it means.
Happy measuring!

Whichever methods you choose to track your progress, be patient with yourself. Please don’t be disheartened if you don’t see results right away!

It can take anything from four to eight weeks to see noticeable changes in appearance – sometimes more, sometimes less. Even then, you’ll probably notice fluctuations.

Just keep making healthy choices and taking regular photos and you will see a difference eventually. You’ve got this, and remember, LK Fitness is here to help!

  • Download the LK Fitness App
    • Find out more and download the LK Fitness App here.
    • Daily Linda Kriel workouts for all levels of fitness.
    • Daily meal plans and recipes for Keto/banting, Low GI and Mediterranean diets.