Sunday 23 November 2014

Road to Workout - 4: When to Weigh

   It was when Seeg first bought me a Wii and Wii Fit that I started dedicating myself to exercise, mostly because I couldn't let him spend that much money and never use it. The program wanted me to weigh in every single day, so I did, for a couple of months. I never, ever saw any differences because my weight would go up and down constantly and it was so hard to ever see any change unless I viewed the entire month as a whole and saw it all go down.

   So I stopped weighing every day and did it every Monday and Friday, and discovered something. I would weigh in on a Monday after a 2-day rest, and I'd weigh, for example, 10 stone. I would workout every day from then on and weigh in on Friday before that day's workout. Imagine my heartbreak where, after a week of good work, I had gained 2 lbs! That right there could have been the breaker, but I didn't let it defeat me. Instead I went ahead and worked out that day with a stubborn determination, took the next 2 days off to rest and weighed in again on Monday. I could barely dare to look. How could I have lost any weight after 2 days of doing nothing? Well, it said 9st 12. I had lost 4lbs since I'd last weighed myself, and 2lbs since the past Monday. What the hell? I continued working out that week with greater enthusiasm and found on Friday I'd gained 2lbs again. I didn't take it too deeply to heart that time, however, and after another 2-day rest I weighed in on Monday and saw another 4lb drop from Friday. This happened very consistantly (barring that 'time of the month') over the next month and a half, and it was much easier to see the difference.

   I'll get to my point, however: now I weigh in only once a month, following a 2-day rest, on the very day I'm about to start a new workout. This allows me to see, obviously, how well I did over the last month and whether the workout was anything special or just as effective as usual, and also gives me a solid start point for the next workout I'm trying.
   I also measure my waist at those points, too, and record it with my weight.
   I always keep the circumstances the same, as well, though perhaps obsessively so. Monday morning, after a 2 day rest, wake up around 7-7:30, go to the toilet, weigh and then measure around the narrowest point of my waist, fighting the urge not to suck in.
   Now, peeing first doesn't actually make you weigh less, but it does make you bloat a little - or it feels it, at least - but I always try to keep the circumstances the same if it's in my power. Plus, first thing in the morning you kind of need to go anyway. I admit that I don't know if it truly makes a difference, though.

   Weighing and measuring once a month guarantees you to see a decrease, but you have to fight the urge to measure again the next day. I saw a massive drop in my waistline after doing the 30 Day Shred, so I measured every day for 4 days because I couldn't believe it! I was so excited! But then, one day, I suddenly gained an inch and my mood plummeted. Since then I've been sure never to keep doing it because I didn't want another shock like that.
   Your weight fluctuates big time all day, every day, and it's important to realise that because it's totally naturally and totally unavoidable. You also swell after working out because of the increase in body heat - basic science - especially if you've been doing sit-ups or crunches, so you should never stand in front of a mirror right after a workout looking for a difference because 1) there won't be one that quickly, and 2) you'll actually appear bigger than before you started. So fight the urge and look for differences at the end of the month, but definitely keep a record of your measurements and weight.

   And on a final note, something I've mentioned before: muscle weighs a lot more than fat. 1lb of fat is about three times the size of 1lb of muscle. Now, you won't gain enough muscle for this to really affect the scales unless you throw your all into it and do it for a very long time, but it's still an important point: weight doesn't really matter, it's the measurements of your waist. And, as a result, if you workout and use weights - which you really should, but that's a post for another time - your BMI will eventually become redundant.

Next Up: Plateaus - What They Are and How To Avoid Them

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