When I was done playing college hockey I was asked to take a Body Mass Index (BMI) Test, which is a test that looks at the ratio of your height to your weight. I was in near peak performance since it was the end of the season rather than the beginning but none the less I was still in arguable great shape. When they took the numbers of my height 5’10” and my weight 185lbs it came out on the scoring sheet as overweight. After I got done laughing and being a little pissed off I took the numbers with a grain of salt because at the time I was also about 8-10% body fat. I wondered how it could be. How could I be so great with one number and poor with another? How could I test through the roof with my strength and conditioning yet score poorly on this? A little type A in me.
As I pursued the field of strength and conditioning further and understood all the various methods that are used to measure progress or success I realized how flawed and poor that test is. So I wanted to find a way to prioritize my results so I knew what was most important. Below is a list of ways to measure success, you pick the one that best resonates with you.
Body fat- this is a tough one because it is a great way to see progress abut very few have the right tools to perform it. There is a lot of room for error with this test which makes it the most accurate and very flawed at the same time. Most accurate because if done properly by the right person or tool it will give you extremely accurate results. If done with poor tools and untrained people it will give you a inaccurate result.
Circumference measurements- very hard to mess this one up but the down side is you only know what you have lost or gained from a inch perspective. There is not much to compare to or know what is good or bad in some spots. There are other spots of measurement that are obvious to know what is good and what is bad, like your belly for example.
How do your clothes fit?- this is one of the simplest and easy answer responses I can get. Either they fit the same or better. There are no scientific formulas or numbers but there is certainly a clear answer.
Pictures- I know this may be frightening for some of you to think about, but this is one of the best ways to actually realize progress. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people drop weight on the scale yet never feel like they have been successful, until I show them updated pictures of themselves.
Scale- the obvious but universal measurement. The one thing I would tell people is make sure when you weight in that it is the same scale, the same day of the week and relatively the same time. So if you know you workout in the morning on Mondays then every Monday before you workout weight yourself with relatively the same clothing on.
Again, these are just tools to measure results and progress. How do you measure your results?