Setting Fitness Goals? Start by Ditching Your Scale
A scale can tell you one thing: how much you weigh. That’s it. And it’s not even a very accurate measure of that. Eat a salty meal and the scale goes up. Forget to hydrate and it goes down (temporarily). Plus, changing your muscle-to-fat ratio can sometimes make it seem like you’re gaining weight when you’re working out harder than ever! Bottom line, set workout goals — not weight loss goals.
Regardless of what your scale says, there are so many awesome benefits to working out. So, when you’re setting fitness goals, consider these six.
1. Your stress levels are dropping toward Zen territory.
That huge, snarled traffic jam? Your kids scheduling three conflicting events on the same night? You got this like a Zen master. Because exercise boosts your serotonin, the hormone that makes you feel groovy, you may find yourself handling stress better.
2. You’re getting real, deep sleep.
Whether you usually struggle with falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up groggy, you might find that those issues just aren’t much of a factor anymore. With lowered stress levels, you’re more relaxed. Some studies have found that exercise may have a positive effect on circadian rhythms, the “body clock” that shifts you into sleep.
3. That mid-day energy slump is history.
Oh, the 3 p.m. slog when the vending machine and the coffee pot become your new BFFs. But if you work out regularly, you may not hang out with them much anymore. That’s because exercise makes your energy levels steady throughout the day, eliminating those spikes and dips that can keep you in wired-but-tired mode.
4. You’ll take the stairs. And not just because the elevator’s broken.
Maybe when you first began working out, walking up the stairs was a pain — sometimes literally. It was tough to catch your breath. Now you run them. That’s a common mark of progress for many gym goers since exercise improves cardiovascular efficiency. Your heart muscle actually increases in size (you’ll be literally big-hearted!), making it possible to pump blood better. Plus, you recover quicker.
5. It’s easier to lift heavy things.
No matter what type of workout you do, you’ll likely see changes in your muscle tone - and strength! For some people, increasing their muscle mass and toning up leads to weight gain because muscle is more dense and compact than fat. That makes watching the scale even more of a useless exercise.
6. Finally, you know where you left your keys.
Working out not only helps you concentrate better but one study also found that it boosts the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory. Work out now, remember the name of that guy you met in the grocery store later.
Using scales the right way
Yes, scales can be useful — and even motivating — but paying too much attention to that number can have the opposite effect. That’s why you won’t find scales at Planet Fitness. We just think there are better ways to measure success. Because … don’t make us say it again … you are more than a number! Carry on.