Stop Measuring and Take Action

When I first started working as a personal training over 15 years ago, my then employer encouraged me to measure a client’s weight and body composition to show results through progression.  What I have learned is that measuring is a poor way to encourage an individual to get into shape and be healthy, because it doesn’t actually get to the root of the problem: how that person became out-of-shape and unhealthy in the first place.  There are many factors that have an effect on a person’s measurements, and every person progresses at a different rate.  We all have a different genetic make up, athletic ability, amount of time we can commit to exercise and present level of fitness.  Taking all of this into consideration, every workout is an accomplishment and every step you take, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. Not all steps will be reflected in physical measurements.  Rather than focus on measurements like weight and body composition, let’s focus on what matters: taking action and making changes in our habits, to direct ourselves onto a path of self improvement.

I help my clients make action goals.  Action goals are directed at changing a poor habit into a good habit.  For instance, if you skip eating breakfast, an action goal would be to start eating something when you wake up every morning.  We know that skipping breakfast makes our bodies go into starvation mode, and the first place our body will get energy from is muscle (healthy tissue, the last thing we want to lose).  An action to fix that bad habit is simply, eat breakfast.

Once the good habit is established, it’s time to make a new action goal.  Some clients can’t handle more than one action goal at a time, while others have no problem being motivated to take on a number of goals at once.  You can move at your own rate, tuning into yourself, so that you don’t ask too much of yourself at once.  Remember, in most cases it took many years to develop bad habits; changing all of them overnight is unrealistic and can be overwhelming.  You can also change the pace and rate you take on action goals at any time.  If you are very motivated and have a lot of time on your hands, it may be a good time to step things up; on the flip side an important family event may require you to back things off.  The point is, life happens. Looking for excuses isn’t okay, but adjusting workouts in consideration of other life commitments is.

I can say that the process of self improvement does not ever end.  Making action goals for physical and psychological improvements is an activity that can benefit every one, each day.  Doing the right thing for your health and letting your body follow will continue to pay back with rewards of functionality and health that are beyond measurement.  You will never regret a safe, effective workout or an action that betters your health.  Get off the scale, take action and let the body follow to an optimal you.