Keeping track of your weight on a daily basis can help you keep tabs on your overall fitness and help you identify weight changes more easily. It’s normal for your weight to fluctuate slightly throughout the day based on factors like:
- recent meals
- recent exercise
- menstrual cycle
Measuring first thing in the morning can help you get a more accurate picture of your weight over time. If that isn’t realistic, just be consistent.
If you’re overweight, losing just five percent of your body weight can yield huge health benefits including lowered blood pressure, lowered triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and improved sleep—not to mention mental health benefits like increased self-esteem.
If you’re looking to get better at activities like running or cycling, losing weight can boost your performance. Carrying too much extra weight can slow your speed, increase your risk for injury and make it more difficult for your body to regulate its internal temperature.
Weight loss is about burning more calories than you consume. Period. But lasting weight loss is notoriously difficult to achieve. The majority of people fail to lose weight and keep it off. The minority of people who are successful have been found to stick to these three principles:
- Eat smaller portions. Weight loss starts with what’s on your plate. Avoid going back for seconds.
- Do cardiovascular exercise. Workouts promote fat breakdown and help you maintain a calorie deficit.
- Create habits. Make small lifestyle changes and commit to them for three weeks so they become an automatic part of your daily routine.
The key is setting modest goals and taking a balanced, sustainable approach. Aggressive goals are typically unattainable and set you up for failure. Setting a goal to lose 5 to 15 percent of your current weight will help you stay on track and generate momentum.
Weight gain, like weight loss, is also best done through a realistic approach. Weight gain can boost performance in activities that focus on strength output.
Strength output can be divided into two categories: gross strength and strength-to-weight ratio. Gross strength refers to your overall mass and is important in activities like rugby or football. Strength-to-weight ratio refers to the amount of strength your have in relation to your overall mass. For example, a petite gymnast may not have as much gross strength as a 250-pound linebacker, but the gymnast might beat the linebacker in a pull-up competition if she has a higher strength-to-weight ratio.
Aim for adding one pound of lean muscle per week by adding 700 to 1,000 additional calories (think lean proteins, healthy fats and good carbs) each day and emphasizing strength training in your workouts.