Saturday, March 24, 2012

Progress and Strength

There are several ways to measure progress: by physical measurements, by photo/how you look in the mirror, and by strength measurement. I do all three.

I weigh myself every day. I don't beat myself up if I'm up a pound, I just wonder what could have caused it, ask myself if my eating was out of control in the last few days, and change my plans accordingly. For the last few weeks, I've been stuck in a plateau. I've only got about 10 pounds to lose before I hit the top end of my goal weight (and can only reasonably lose up to AT MOST another 10 pounds after that).

In addition to weighing, I use a fabric measuring tape to gauge fat loss once a week. Sometimes you won't see any movement on the scale but will see a smaller number on the tape. That happened to me for three weeks - I lost a total of 1.5 inches off my waist in that time, but the scale stayed the same. Obviously, I was building muscle at the same time as losing fat. Bonus.

Another way to gauge progress and strength is how you look in the mirror. I take progress photos once every 4 weeks or so, starting with a "before" photo. Last night I took a photo of my back to see if there's any definition showing yet. There isn't much, but there's definitely a lot of muscle under there. I just need to continue with the cut and I'll be totally ripped. I see small lats, big shoulders, and some decent upper back muscles under there. I'm excited to keep going now that I know that's there! (photo quality sucks, sorry)

The final way to measure strength gains is, obviously, how you're doing in the gym. I was finally able to complete an unassisted chinup the other night, after 3-4 months of progression training. And that was after 2 weeks of no training at all! My body needed the rest, now I suspect that I'll continue to make personal records in the strength department. Not bad - how many women can lift 150 pounds like that? Very few, aside from serious weight trainers like the women in my FB groups like LeanYou (co-ed) and Fierce Fit Fearless (women only). I can't wait until I get my gym membership set up so I can go and start lifting REALLY heavy things.

By the way, I added a 24-hr fast into my routine on Thursday to see if it would bump me past this plateau I've been at for 2 weeks, and I'm already down 2 pounds. Will keep on doing one 24-hr fast per week and see what happens.

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