[FITNESS] 5 ways to measure fitness gains OTHER THAN the scale

The scale is a four letter word to many people. They hate weighing themselves and seeing little to no progress, or get frustrated with the constant fluctuations. Others ONLY use the scale to determine if you are getting in better shape, healthier etc. When scientists test theories and experiment, they don’t use just one type of analysis. They analyze many different factors, test many scenarios, and record their successes and failures in order to get a comprehensive view of what they are testing. We should act no different when studying our bodies to determine our fitness gains and losses. I have a few ways to determine my fitness results that helped over the years and I’ll share them with you:

If you ever took a look at past pictures from a year ago, high school, or college, you more than likely see changes in your body. Sometimes, you see changes so dramatic you wonder when it happened. Time flies, and age waits for no one. When you see the before and after pictures with any fitness program, they can immediately “wow” you. Nothing will shock you better than measuring your own changes from pictures. I take monthly pictures to document changes in my body and review from the previous month. You can do weekly or bi monthly too, and I wouldn’t suggest daily because that makes no sense. Pictures, seeing your body frozen in time to analyze, can be a great indicator of successes and any room for improvement that you have to make.

How clothes fit you

Ladies always tell stories about “those skinny jeans” they used to fit in before they put on weight. Sometimes the goals are to be able to fit into those jeans, or other clothes again comfortably. This is a great motivation technique and better indicator of gains you make. I had a pair of dress pants that I all of a sudden could not wear, because I gained weight. After a couple of months of hard work, I was back comfortably in them. I notice that some clothes fit loosely now with the more weight I lose and more trim my body gets, and I LOVE IT!

Body Fat Testing
This is probably one of the best methods for measuring fat loss. Body fat is a more precise indicator for people who want the “six-pack” or want to trim. People always concentrate on losing weight, but what you really want to do is lose fat. I’ve seen transformation pictures from people who didn’t lose weight, but gained muscle and lost fat weight and looked ripped! You can do this using the US Navy method of measuring body fat, or get a body fat caliper and measure that way (Google those, I’m being lazy with the links). I measure my body fat weekly, as I have a current goal to be 9% body fat (which is the percentage I believe I can see my abs 100% and be at a nice size. I’m between 13-15% now).

I own a measuring tape (like the tailors have). I measure my neck, stomach,  and waist weekly to see the change there as well. Seeing movement on those measurements prove that what you do is either working or failing, and gives you a tangible look at your successes.
Ask your friends
I remember visiting one of my best friends in Dallas after he moved. He hadn’t seen me in like a year. He saw me and immediately asked if I was juicing (taking steroids) because he hadn’t seen me since I started working out. Now I was far from a body builder, but I did put on a lot of muscle since the last time he saw me and he noticed. When people who see you everyday, or even monthly, see you in a more fit body, they will comment and they will notice quicker that you will notice yourself. We all have a self perception that’s hard to shake. This is why some of the most fit people you know still think they’re fat “in their mind”. I once saw a dude with a 6 pack complaining that he wasn’t where he wanted to be yet! I told him shyt, I’d like to be you if this is your worst, that was crazy to me! I understand though, that everyone has goals and they’re trying to reach them, so I just support and congratulate.
These tips help me to plot my successes weekly, and I hope they can help you too. Do you have any other ways to measure your fitness success? Let me know!
P.S – A quick word on the scale: The best way to take your weight is to do it weekly, at the same time, same place, same circumstances. If you weigh yourself naked at 7am on Monday, do that EVERY WEEK to get the most accurate measurement possible. We have too many fluctuations with water weight, what we eat, weighted clothes, etc to measure our weight sporadically. Keep it consistent, and you won’t be as frustrated with the scale.


  1. Ummm…scale has 5 letters,not four Streetz,lol

    Good tips…I'll have to start w/ the picture taking

  2. @Max

    At least I @ you…lmao


  3. co-sign all of that. I have a TMI story, but I'm going to tel it anyway.

    last night after I returned from the gym, I took off all my sweaty clothes and was just walking around naked. I entered my bathroom, and I noticed my profile as I'm walking. I didn't recognize that woman walking. lol. Flatter stomach, nicer thighs, better ass, all of that. I loved it. I pranced around my apartment for about 20 minutes, checking the mirrors at different angles. Definitely one of my vain moments. Still, I loved how I looked. Granted, I had just come back from the gym, but still, I looked great. lol. That was a major mental boost for me.

    And this is my last week of Insanity. Let's Go!!

    • NIA,

      Did you perhaps film this? Share with the class please!


      Congrats on the last week. DIG DEEPER, and do the Insane Abs and Max Sports workout substitutions this week.

  4. I have these pair of skinny ripped jeans in the closet with the tags still on.. It's my motivation to get in THOSE!
    I have some ways to go.. By my not working, my nutrition intake has suffered greatly.. When it comes down to a $4.00 lasagna or a pack of spinach.. guess which one I pick because i know it'll last longer..
    I used the tactics that you use to figure out whether or not I've lost weight.. I had a pair of cargo shorts that hung off me last year.. now it's a little (read: A LOT) tight..
    With the addition of the sexy cable, I can pick my workouts and do them On Demand.. so I'm kicking it into gear this coming week..

    i commend you Nia.. i couldn't get through week one of insanity.. it didn't have much to do with his exercises.. but the repetitions just KILLED ME!

    • YES!!!! $ makes a difference in what I purchase. 2 weeks in a row I wasted a damn near $5 container of salad b/c I couldn't finish it before it spoiled. Now while $5 is not a lot of money…I feel bad for wasting a big container of salad. I think next time I'm just going to get some frozen veggies.

      On Demand work outs are good! Jillian Michaels is a beast!

      • Frozen veggies are the move. I have frozen Broccoli and mixed veggies. When I buy fruit, I freeze it to preserve it. I use the fruit for smoothies and steam the veggies. Make that $$$ stretch!

        • I buy frozen now…I'm just gonna start buying more. A bag of veggies usually does me justice for like 3 meals (depending on the veggies) And I'll have to try that trick w/ the fruit.

          This week I'm gonna holla at some cucumbers for snacking and maybe some grapes (fresh fruit makes my throat itch sometimes (ll)

    • Thanks Nick!

      I like the repetition because I can easily gage if I'm getting stronger by doing those exercises. And it makes me feel good when I can last the entire 45 seconds, where in the first week, I had to take a break at around 20 seconds. lol.

      I have yet to find a pair of skinny jeans that fit properly. Even when I was smaller, they just would not fit. Either the waist was too big, or everything else was too tight. I don't think I was made for skinny jeans. lol.

      • Nia, try Levi's…they have nice skinny jeans or NY & Co. I was totally against NY&Co. but I tried them and the fit really well.

        My issues is usually jeans are too big in the waist. I have a small waist and hips and booty(the "problem" when it comes to skinny jeans). But those Levi's skinny's are my ish…gotta get another pair!

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