my own measures of health and fitness

First of all, sorry I didn’t get this out yesterday like I promised. I got caught up at work and then had something I had to take care of by a deadline. But I’m here now!

I just want to put out a little disclaimer before I continue with this post. While I do have a degree in Exercise Science, I am not any sort of trained professional or know all source for running/exercise/fitness/etc. The following are (for the most part) my own opinion.

Like many girls I do not have a super awesome body image. While I am definitely working on it, I’m still far from thinking I have a great body. There are plenty of things I would change in an instant if I could. I have discovered that I need to be very  careful about having a scale around because I quite literally become obsessive. I weigh myself every chance I get, judging my body for the fluctuations that the logical (usually dominant) side of me know are normal throughout the day for anyone. In an effort to develop a healthier view of my body, I have found other ways to judge my body’s fitness level. However, first I want to address a common misunderstanding: the BMI.

BMI: Body Mass Index. This is NOT a good reference for health (in my opinion). This is a ration of ones weight over ones height. The number produced is supposed to give you an idea if you are underweight, healthy, overweight or obese. However, this method has some severe flaws. This method does not take into account % body fat or % lean muscle, simply overall mass. This is why sometimes super skinny individuals who don’t exercise and eat fast food every day are listed as “healthy” and body builders who work out all of the time and eat well are listed as “obese” (such as the image from howstuffworks.com). While this can give you a general idea of your health for your size, my recommendation is that you don’t use this to judge your overall health.

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Alright here are some things I use to judge my health and fitness level:

  • I have to remember that muscle weighs more than fat. When we begin a fitness program or just start increasing our activity level, we’re going to gain muscle and lose fat. However, sometimes this balance does not result in a lower number on the scale. This doesn’t mean that’s how it will always be or that you aren’t getting healthier. 
  • I have been keeping measurements of different areas of my body such as my waist, hips, thighs, chest and arms. These help me to see inches being lost (although areas like my thighs might actually be getting a little bigger. it’s those muscles again). For me this works better than the scale because I feel like I can see better results over time than I’ve been able to see on based just on my weight.
  • I notice how my clothes fit. Are my jeans getting tighter? Looser? Do I have to wear tops that are more flowy to hide what I don’t want others to notice or can I wear a more fitted top? Do I find myself needing a belt? These for me a great indicators of how I’m doing with my fitness.
  • How are my workouts going? Am I able to run longer or faster than I could before? Are there exercises that used to be more difficult than they are now? Am I less sore and need to bump up my intensity?
  • Race results! While we all have bad races, this always gives me an idea of what I’m currently capable of. I’ve usually been pretty proud of it!
  • What am I craving throughout the day? I have discovered that when I am eating healthier and working out consistently, while I still definitely enjoy treats, my body wants water, it wants veggies and fruit, it wants lean protein, it does not want anything greasy and it really, really wants a good, sweaty workout. I love falling into this cycle because it just perpetuates itself.
  • Realize my fitness journey is not the same as anyone else’s. Someone might be running a marathon everyone couple of months. Someone else might be just doing their first 5k. I’m somewhere in the middle. And that’s okay!!! I am where I am and it’s not based on anybody else! Just me! Comparison only hurts, not helps, me stay motivated to keep on keepin’ on.

So remember:

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What do you do to measure your level of health/fitness?

Do you have any crutches that hold you back? (like the scale for me)

*******P.S. First giveaway coming up soon! Stay tuned! I’m really excited about it :)*******

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12 thoughts on “my own measures of health and fitness

  1. Rats! If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of my body! You go girl. I have nothing but love and admiration for you! JoGranny

  2. For me, I go by (1) how my clothes fit, (2) how I feel 1 hour into a tough workout, (3) how well I sleep at night, and (4) of course the scale. Though it’s not where I want it to be (helloooo, Thunder Thighs), I still want it to head down, and it never ever tells me it’s ok to eat Haagen Daz when I should eat an apple.

  3. What do you do to measure your level of health/fitness? Run marathons 🙂

    I NEVER step on the scale unless I’m at the doctors office and even then I tell them not to tell me and I look away.

    • That’s awesome. I can totally relate to the irritating knee(s)! I remember realizing how much stronger I’d become when I was able to run my Half without my knee band (because I’d lost it haha)

  4. Great post!! I needed this 110% today. I am so easily addicted to the scale. I have been working only weighing myself once a week, but it is so challenging to avoid it sometimes. I try to go buy how my clothes fit because I really do think this is a good indication of changes and such in your body. I also completely agree with your cravings… you crave what you eat!!

    • Thanks, Elizabeth! I’m glad you can relate. I agree sometimes it’s so hard to avoid the scale! I just have to never, ever buy one. And don’t get on the ones at the gym. It doesn’t ever do me any good.

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