Forget the Scale

Great blog entry from Athleta on WHY you need to forget the scale and focus on inches and the way your clothes fit….

 

Original Blog Entry: Forget the Scale

May 10, 2013 By 

My latest life’s lesson came to me during my recent doctor’s visit when I had to step on the scale. I was actually reminded of a lesson learned long ago, and the reason I don’t own a scale.

Sandy Sanders forgets the scaleBack in the day, I USED to be a slave to the scale. Had it still been back in the day, I would have been MORTIFIED at what I saw during my weigh in. I thought my weight was around 115/120 lbs – the ideal weight I’d set for myself YEARS ago. Like many I know, this was some ‘magic’ number I pulled out of my arse. There was no medical reasoning behind it; and no nutritionist or doctor prescribed it. It was just a weight that I “felt good at.” Well, these days I feel great so I figured I was hovering at my “great weight.” Imagine my surprise when the scale registered almost 130 lbs. At first I thought, “Surely the scale must be broken,” as I stood there and stared at the numbers. Then I realized it was a doctor’s office and I was pretty sure their equipment was working properly.

Other than momentarily surprising me, seeing my actual weight didn’t do anything to me. Ask me if back in the day a vision like that wouldn’t have sent my 5’2” frame RUNNING to the treadmill and pool! But the only thing it did was cause me to make a mental note, so that I could share one of my life’s lessons (or unsolicited advice ;-) ) with any members of my Athleta family who might be slaves to their scales.

I wasn’t at all bothered by 130. Heck, I don’t even mind putting my weight out there like that. There’s a reason I don’t own a scale – those numbers no longer mean a thing to me. The TRUE test is how my clothes fit, whether or not I can maintain the paces I’m used to while racing, or whether my race times are improving. THOSE are my only indications of my fitness level.

I have this friend who started working out. Excitedly, she watched the numbers on her scale drop, then became frustrated as she later saw the numbers climb. I asked her how her clothes fit and she said that they had become loose. I asked her if she really heard what she was telling me. The woman was LOSING inches, yet was frustrated by what the scale showed.

So my life lesson is actually a bit of unsolicited advice for my awesome friends out there, either starting on or feeling stagnant in their health and fitness journey: Please do not be a slave to the scale. Sure, scales may be great initially (because as you watch the numbers drop, you see your progress quantified), but as you continue to exercise, your muscle density will increase, and your fat will decrease, and the scale will start to tip heavier. That’s when you need to put “your friend” away… far away. Heck, even give it away. At that point, your motivating friend becomes your demotivating albatross. Don’t let that albatross weigh you down so much that you get frustrated to where working out is no longer fun and exciting, but frustrating and treadmill-ish – where you seem to be running in place and getting nowhere, and losing no weight.

So f(orget) the scale, and pay attention to things such as your endurance level as you’re working out, and the way your clothes fit. If you’re able to workout longer without getting winded, or you’ve run that 5K just a little bit faster, then that should tell you something right there. And just as your clothes told you that you were getting a bit heavier as they hugged you a bit tighter, they’ll also tell you that there’s less of you to hug as you’re toning up and getting fitter.

Thinking of Doing a DU?

2012-10-07JustDuItpic (1)If you are like most people you may find the idea of a triathlon intimidating because of the swim portion.  There is something very scary about an open water swim if you do not consider yourself  the equivalent of Michael Phelps.  For most of the population an open water swim with hundreds of other people is terrifying.

 

ENTER: the duathlon.  All the fun and none of the fright

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2012 Northern Grrrl Finishers at Iron Girl- Bloomington!

Do not confuse a duathlon with a biathlon (the Olympic term for skiing and shooting at the same time).  A duathlon is a run-bike-run combination and they vary in length from short to ultra distances.  Duathlons are growing in popularity and popular events series like the Iron Girl have added them to their line-ups.  The Iron Girl- Bloomington duathlon is one of my favorite annual “must do” events!

How do you train for a duathlon?

Good news… if you can run and bike you can complete a duathlon.  I have found at many of the duathlons there is not any rule to the kind of bike and gear you need.  You need a bike- be it a cruiser, mountain bike, or road bike, running shoes, and a helmet.  Some  basic bike maintenance knowledge is helpful in case you get a flat, but there are always support vans on the course too just in case!

As with any event you do need to train.  The kind of training will depend on the length of the duathlon course.  A 12-week training program such as this one will get you started, but as with any new training program be sure to get the A-OK from your physician.  To train properly you should plan to spend 9-12 hours per week to training.  This is only a recommended amount of training time- depending on where you fall in the fitness spectrum you may need more or less. Strength training, over the winter months will also be beneficial to your overall fitness.

This is also an excellent link for a  beginner training plan.  You will begin to get the idea as you look through these.  Don’t get caught up in the message boards about  expensive gear and what you will need unless you plan to try to place in your age group or will be aggressively racing.  Just have fun with it.  The ladies I have trained for the duathlon have loved every minute of the race and it really is for anyone.  I think I love the Athleta Iron Girl Series so much because it is overflowing with positive inspiring women of all ages and abilities.

SO GO DU IT!