Why measuring yourself on a bathroom scale is limiting
One of the most motivating factors to continue doing exercise and becoming fit is seeing the results, and ideally, in numbers. For most people, that means the number on the bathroom scale, which we've been highly dependent on ever since the scale was invented. It comes as no surprise then, that when this number fails us despite our best efforts at the gym, and shows no improvement, we are less likely to be motivated and keep up the good habit we have formed. It would be a mistake to rely solely on the scale, however. Because your bathroom scale isn't giving you the full picture. Here's why measuring yourself on a bathroom scale is limiting.
1. Your body composition changes
Your weight is basically made up of fat mass, muscle mass, bone mass, organ mass and water weight. When you start a fitness plan, ideally what happens is you loose fat mass and gain muscle mass. An exchange happens between your body composition items. So if you get up on a scale after you've been working out for a while, and you don't notice any difference in your weight, but feel it on your body and clothes, your scale is essentially right. You have replaced your body fat with muscle. You will feel the difference on your body and your clothes, but the scale will most likely show the same number, or not as big as a change as you would expect.
2. The bathroom scale fluctuates
Something that most people don't know is that the bathroom scale number will always fluctuate based on your water weight, hormonal changes, day of the week, how long time it's been since your last meal, etc. So if you weight yourself on a Monday after breakfast, it might look like you gained significant weight - even though when you weighed yourself last Thursday after your workout, it looked like you had in fact lost a couple of kg/pounds. It's all in the details, and these little details can influence your body weight to up to 1,5 kg, making it difficult to know exactly where the true number lies.
3. Try measuring your girth and body composition
As mentioned above, your body doesn't just loose weight when you start working out and watching your diet. Ideally you will gain some muscle mass as well, and when that happens, you want to be looking at the crucial points on your body where significant change has happened - something that the bathroom scale wouldn't be able to point out. Measuring your girth is a good indication of how much your body has changed, and it is precise. Another good idea - if you have the opportunity - is taking body composition measurements at the gym in order to see the ratio of fat and muscle mass in your body. Just remember to ask assistance from the gym staff so you measure yourself in the most optimal circumstances.
4. Don't rely on the scale if you're building muscle
If your main goal is to build muscle mass and become stronger, the scale will be of little use to you. The number will only keep increasing, but it will not tell you specifically where you have increased muscle mass and how much. Your clothes are always a good indication, but if you're looking for a more precise solution, BodyBarista is a good alternative.